|LOST HOSPITALS OF LONDON|
Wendover Road, Amersham, Bucks HP7 0RL
|1939 - 1948
At the outbreak of WW2 in 1939 Shardeloes, a large country mansion set in 50 acres of grounds and gardens, was requisitioned by the Ministry of Health for use as a maternity home.
The Shardeloes Emergency Maternity Home opened on 3rd September 1939 with 55 beds. It had 20 members of staff. The patients were expectant mothers who had been evacuated from London because of the continuous danger of air-raids.
The Home closed on 10th February 1948. During its operational lifetime over 5,200 babies had been born there. On average, 3 babies were born every 5 days - almost one a day!
Present status (June 2009)
After the Home had closed the property remained vacant and neglected until 1953, when it was bought by a property company who intended to demolish the house and revelop the site. There was an immediate local outcry and the Amersham Society was formed to oppose the plan. After a long battle, a preservation order was granted, preventing demolition of the building, which was Grade I listed in 1958.
Between 1959 and 1965 the mansion and its outbuildings were restored and converted into apartments and dwellings, which were at first rented and then sold during the 1970s.
The summer house, coach house and the buildings and walls of the kitchen garden are Grade II listed.
Update: January 2015
Amersham Museum is seeking information about the babies born at Shardeloes during its operational life as a maternity hospital.
If you can provide any information, please visit:
Shardeloes, as seen from the foot path to the north. The large 2-storey rectangular mansion was built in the mid 18th century on the site of an earlier house.
The outbuildings beside the house are Grade II listed. The clock on the coach house (at the far right of the image) has recently been restored.
The Grade II listed entrance gates to Shardeloes and to the public footpaths which run along the periphery of the grounds. The Grade II* gardens are not open to the public.
The East Lodge to Shardeloes on the south side of the entrance drive (left) and the West Lodge to the north (right). The Amersham Cricket Club is behind the northern lodge building. The Lodges were Grade II listed in May 1984.
The house, as seen from Shardeloes Lake.
The grounds were designed in 1793 by Humphrey Repton (1752-1818), the renowned landscape gardener. The River Misbourne, which flows through the park, was artificially widened into a lake (above and below).
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