|LOST HOSPITALS OF LONDON|
Princess Louise Hospital
St Quintin Avenue, Kensington, W10 6DL
|1928 - 2006
The origins of this Hospital lay in the Kensington Dispensary, which opened in 1815 at 13 Holland Street. By 1845 the premises were becoming too small for the increasing number of patients and, in 1849, the Dispensary moved to 49 Church Street, where it remained for the next 75 years
The proportion of children attending the Dispensary had steadily increased and the Medical Board decided what was really needed was a Children's Hospital. In 1924 Queen Victoria's daughter, Princess Louise, who was President of the Kensington Dispensary, held a conference about this in her home in Kensington Palace. During this meeting it was decided that the Dispensary should move to North Kensington as the Church Street site was at least two miles away from its neediest patients.
A site on the War Memorial playing field was purchased in 1925 for £4237 6s. 6d. and the foundation stone laid a year later by the Princess. The new road of Pangbourne Avenue was created.
The Princess Louise Hospital for Children was opened by King George V and Queen Mary in 1928. It had 42 beds, an Out-Patients Department and Dispensary for Sick Women.
Throughout the 1920s and 1930s the Hospital played an important role within the community.
During WW2 the Out-Patients Department remained open, even though the Hospital was damaged by bombs on three occasions. The Hospital also served as an air-raid First Aid Post.
In 1946 Princess Louise Hospital merged with St Mary's Hospital in Paddington, hoping that it would be able to keep its separate identity when the NHS would be introduced in 1948.
In 1952 it became part of the St Mary's teaching rotation for paediatric nursing. Two houses were bought in St Quintin Avenue for nurses' accommodation (previously nurses had slept in the wards).
By 1959 the Hospital had 135 beds, an X-ray department and operating theatres but, with improved children's health, beds at the Hospital were routinely empty. It was planned to convert two wards for maternity use, though there was great local opposition to this. However, by 1960, it was accepted that this change had to take place.
In 1970 the Hospital was converted to geriatric use, the final children's party being held that year. The building was altered to accommodate 61 beds. Day rooms were added, as well as rehabilitation and long-stay wards, and a day hospital. In 1971 the first elderly patients moved in.
At the beginning of the 21st century, attitudes to hospitalising old people were changing; surveys revealed that most elderly patients preferred to receive care in their own homes rather than in an institution.
By 2006 only 12 rehabilitation beds and the day hospital remained, along with 19 temporary mental health beds which would be vacated once refurbishment of other sites was completed. It was felt that the Hospital was no longer fit for purpose - its Nightingale wards afforded little privacy - and its buildings were in a poor state of repair.
It was decided to dispose of the site and the Hospital closed in 2006. Care of the elderly reverted to the community and other services moved to St Charles Hospital.
Present status (January 2008)
In 2007 the 0.96 acre site was bought for housing redevelopment by the Clarendon Group for £10.16m. It may be that the facades in Pangbourne Avenue will be retained.
Update: November 2013
The Hospital buildings were completely demolished at the end of 2012.
The entrance to the Hospital in Pangbourne Avenue
The Hospital in Pangbourne Avenue as seen across from the park from the east
Various buildings of the Hospital along Pangbourne Avenue
The newly built Princess Louise of Kensington Nursing Home on the corner of St Quintin Avenue and Pangbourne Avenue
3rd November 2013)
Brown K 1993 Princess Louise and her Kensington Hospital for Children. St Mary's Gazette 99, 27-28.
Godin J 2006 Princess Louise Hospital - Pangbourne Avenue, North Kensington. Published online 2012.
Harmer M 1955 Princess Louise Children's Hospital (Letter). British Medical Journal 1 (5th March), 603.
Kensington and Chelsea Community History Group 2013 Princess Louise Hospital - a community history project. Published online 2013.
Lambert M 2012 From Princess Louise Hospital to Argyll Place - demolition and the building site. Published online 2013.
Smithells RW 1955 Princess Louise Children's Hospital (Letter). British Medical Journal 1 (19th February), 479.
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