Southwood V.A.D. Hospital
Southwood, Oldfield Road, Bickley, Kent BR1 2LU
Medical dates:

Medical character:
1914 - 1919

Convalescent (military)
At the beginning of WW1, Southwood, a large residence with a lodge, located to the southeast of Bickley village, was offered by Mr and Mrs Ernest J Wythes to the British Red Cross Society for use as an auxiliary hospital.  Mr Wythes of Copped Hall, Epping, Essex, was a leading local landlord with the living of the parish church in his gift.

The Southwood V.A.D. Hospital was rapidly prepared by the Kent/78 Voluntary Aid Detachment (V.A.D.).  It opened on 14th October 1914 with the admission of 40 wounded Belgian soldiers.

The Hospital eventually became one of the auxiliary hospitals affiliated to the Queen's Hospital in Sidcup, which specialised in facial and jaw injuries (the others were Parkwood in Swanley, Oakley in Bromley Common and Abbey Lodge and The Gorse in Chislehurst).  An additional 19 beds were added at a later date.

The Hospital closed on 31st January 1919.  Over its operational lifetime of 51 months, a total of 1,418 patients had received treatment.

Present status (January 2012)

The house survived until at least the 1960s but, like many large properties in the area, it was demolished and high-density housing built on its site.  The only reminder of the house and its grounds is the name of the housing development - Southwood Close.

A sheltered housing project for the elderly - Robert Whyte House - occupies part of the grounds.

Meadow Cottage
Southwood Lodge at the head of the drive, the lodge to the Southwood estate, survives and has been renamed Meadow Cottage.

    Southwood Close  Southwood Close
The roadway of Southwood Close follows the line of the original drive (left).  Robert Whyte House, built in 1971,  occupies part of the original grounds (right).

Southwood Close  
The western end of Southwood Close.
(Author unstated) 1921 The Hospital World.  British Journal of Nursing, 19th November, 320.

Creswick P, Pond GS, Ashton PG 1915 Kent's Care for the Wounded.  London, Hodder & Stoughton.

Walker J 1979 The British Red Cross in the Bromley area 1910-1919.  Bromley Local History 4, 17-23.


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