Queen Elizabeth Hospital
for Children
Glamis Road,  Shadwell, E1W 3EG
Medical dates:

Medical character:
1868 - 1963

Acute paediatrics
The East London Hospital for Children and Dispensary for Women was founded in 1868 by Dr. Nathaniel Heckford (1842-1871) and his wife, who had recognised the need for a children's hospital in the East End following their experiences dealing with the 1866 cholera epidemic in the area.

The first hospital in London to admit children under two years of age, it was originally located in the loft of a sail maker's warehouse in Ratcliff Highway.  It had ten beds, which were later increased to 50.  The Heckfords worked tirelessly at running their Hospital, but Dr. Heckford died of tuberculosis three years later, aet 29.

As was usual at the time, the Hospital relied greatly on private donations, but soon received much financial support following the articles published by Charles Dickens, who had visited it twice in 1869.

In 1877 the Hospital moved to a new, much larger, purpose-built building in nearby Glamis Road, Shadwell.  It had 180 beds.  The opening ceremony was performed by the Duchess of Teck, the granddaughter of George III.  

A further floor was added to the building in 1881.  In 1887 a new wing - the Memorial Wing - was erected in commemoration of Queen Victoria's Jubilee.

In 1902 an X-ray department was installed, seven years after Roentgen's discovery.

In 1932 the East London Hospital was renamed the Princess Elizabeth of York Hospital for Children.  By 1938 the number of beds had been reduced to 135.

During the 1930s it had been intended to rebuild the Hospital, but not in London.  A site in Banstead, Surrey, was chosen but WW2 intervened and the Shadwell site was retained.

In 1942 it was decided to amalgamate the Hospital with the Queen's Hospital in Hackney Road to form one organisation - the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for Children.  The Banstead Wood Country Hospital finally opened in 1946 as the third branch of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for Children.

In 1948 the Hospital joined the NHS and the Queen Elizabeth Group Management Committee was formed to administer the three sites, as well as a convalescent home in Bexhill.

By the early 1960s, with improvements in medical treatments, the Glamis Road building had less than 50 beds.  It closed in 1963.

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital Group was dissolved in 1975.

Present status (December 2007)

The buildings were demolished in 1967 and there is no trace of the Hospital.  The site now contains a relatively modern family centre building.  The wasteland beside it has been put to further social use and turned into an adventure playground.
community centre
The Eva Armsby Community Centre from the north.

main entrance

community centre
The Centre from the south.

The main entrance of the Centre.

The Glamis Adventure Playground, built on wasteland on the south part of the site, is overshadowed by the tenement blocks of Elf Row.
(Author unstated) 1914 The East London Hospital for Children, Shadwell, E.  British Journal of Nursing, 10th January, 31-32.

Dickens C 1860 Chapter 32 A Small Star in the East.   The Uncommercial Traveller.  London, Weidenfeld & Nicolson


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