Princess Christian's Auxiliary Hospital
Whitehall, South Norwood Hill, South Norwood, SE25 6BD
Medical dates:

Medical character:
1915 - 1919

Convalescent (military)
Princess Christian's Auxiliary Hospital opened on 24th March 1915 in Whitehall (previously known as The Firs), a large house on South Norwood Hill.

The Hospital had 52 beds and was affiliated to the Fourth London General Hospital.  It had a well-equipped operating theatre, an X-ray apparatus, and massage and electrical treatment rooms.  There was also a small chapel.

It was run by the London/82 Voluntary Aid Detachment (V.A.D.), initially assisted by the London/118 V.A.D., both of the Order of St John, who had equipped it with the help of the local residents.  Princess Christian had accorded it her patronage and the Hospital was named after her.

The nursing staff consisted of a Matron and 3 trained Sisters.  As well as nursing care, members of the V.A.D.s undertook kitchen, domestic and gardening duties.

Early in 1916 the London/118 V.A.D. ceased to assist at the Hospital and the London/82 V.A.D. continued on its own, with occasional help from members of the Croydon V.A.D.

The local residents provided entertainments for the patients, who were invited out to tea, or taken for drives in the country.  Concerts and picnics were organised, and theatre tickets provided.  The Hospital had a large selection of books in its Library.  In good weather, outdoor games were played in the garden, which also had an open-air shelter where patients could sit and enjoy the fresh air.  In the summer a garden fete was held.

Each year a Sale of Work (some of which had been created by the patients) was held in the grounds to raise funds for the Hospital.  In 1916 this raised £129, in 1917 £150 and, in 1918, £195.

In 1917 the number of beds was increased to 60.

The Hospital closed on 24th March 1919, four years to the day it had opened.  Some 1,823 patients had been treated during its operational lifetime, none of whom had died.

Present status (December 2010)

 In 1901 the private house had been converted into the Court Royal Convalescent Home until 1907 to 1915, when it became the Whitehall Nursing Institution.

After the war the house remained empty until 1922, when it was converted into ten apartments.

The property gradually deteriorated and was demolished in 1980, replaced by a new private gated development of 17 houses and apartments, which was named Tummons Gardens after a family of local farmers.
   Tummons Gardens  Tummons Gardens
Tummons Gardens from the south (left) and from the west (right).
References (Accessed 25th September 2016)

(Author unstated) 1917 List of the various hospitals treating military cases in the United Kingdom.  London, H.M.S.O.

(Author unstated) (undated - ? 1954)  Surrey Branch British Red Cross Society.  Historical Surrey April 1907 - 31st December 1953.  Aldershot, John Drew.

Keatley Moore H. Berwick Sayres WC (eds) 1920  Croydon and the Great War; the Official History of the War Work of the Borough and its Citizens from 1914 to 1919, together with the Croydon Roll of Honour.  Croydon, Corporation of Croydon.  Reprinted in facsimile (2003) by Naval Military Press.

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