Santa Claus Home
for Sick Children

55 Cholmeley Park, Highgate, N6 5EH

Medical dates:

Medical character:

1891 - 1954


In 1885 the Santa Claus Society, a children's charity, began selling toys at Christmas for children in hospital (later suitable gifts for adults were also provided).  It was difficult to find long-term convalescent beds for children with hip and spinal diseases, so the Society decided to open up its own home in a private house in South Grove (later renamed Highgate West Hill).  Treatments, such as were available, were aimed at preventing the children from becoming hopeless cripples.

The little children  preferred the cots nearest the chimney, this being where Santa Claus would enter.  The children apparently "nearly all loved to imagine and talk of the mysteries of the life to come" - they pictured themselves dying first and waiting for their mothers in Heaven.

In 1890 the Home moved to Cholmeley Park, where 20 beds were available.  

In 1948, when it joined the NHS, it had 26 beds. It came under the control of the Archway Group Hospital Management Committee, part of the North West Metropolitan Regional Hospital Board.

It closed in 1954.

Present status (May 2008)

The site has been redeveloped.  It is now Cromwell Lodge, a block of flats for people with mental health support needs.

Cromwell Lodge

The entrance to the centre through an old archway, with signage on the door about opening times .

Cromwell Lodge

Looking to the northeast, showing the stepped construction of the flats.

Cholmeley Park

The Cholmeley Park frontage with the external staircases to the flats.

References (Accessed 5th November 2016)

Burdett-Coutts AG (ed) 2001 Women's Mission.  A Series of Congress Papers on the Philanthropic Work of Women.  New York, Elibron Classics.

Hamilton Hogben G 1952 Report of the Medical Officer of Health. London, Borough of Hornsey, 52.



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