|LOST HOSPITALS OF LONDON|
St Dunstan's Hostel (annexe)
Regent's Park College, Regent's Park, NW1
|1917 - 1922
In 1917 Dr Revd Gould, the Principal of the Regent's Park (Baptist) College, together with his staff, agreed to vacate the premises for the duration of the war, so that they could be used as an annexe for St Dunstan's Hostel, some 400 yards away.
The 3-storey building, built in 1832 as Holford House (reputed to be the most palatial villa in the park), provided accommodation for about 200 blinded servicemen and 50 members of staff. The College's grounds - some 9 acres - were used for tuition in poultry farming.
In March 1920, when the annexe had 150 occupants, a fire broke out during the night in one of the storerooms in the west wing, causing extensive damage. The 80 men and 50 nurses sleeping in the wing escaped, but three members of the Voluntary Aid Detachment were injured. The displaced occupants were taken to the lounge while the fire brigade dealt with the fire, and then beds were found for them in other wards.
The annexe closed in 1922 due to economic reasons.
In November 1950, some 33 years after they had been admitted to St Dunstan's, a reunion lunch and tea was held by the former inmates and staff of the College.
Present status (June 2014)
As its lease was due to expire in 1930, Regent's Park College, which had occupied Holford House since 1856, moved to Oxford in 1927.
During WW2 the house was severely damaged by a bomb in 1944 and was finally demolished in 1948.
During the 1950s the site was laid out for sports use - including golf and tennis schools and an archery ground. Part of it became the Leaf Yard, a maintenance yard for the Royal Parks Maintenance Department, while the adjoining wooded gardens were fenced off for a bird sanctuary (Leafyard Wood).
In 2011 the golf and tennis schools were demolished. The hard standing from the tennis courts was crushed and retained on site to encourage a variety of plants and associated wildlife.
Looking towards the site of the College from the Outer Circle, with the entryways now fenced off.
The site is now reinstated as parkland, incorporating a range of grassland, wetland and scrubland (above and below).
10th July 2014)
(Author unstated) 1916 Blinded soldiers. Cambrian Daily Leader, 18th November, 4.
(Author unstated) 1950 College Reunion. St Dunstan's Review 34 (378). 4.
Lloyd FCB, Scott WT, Miller D 1950 After Thirty-three Years. St Dunstan's Review 34 (375), 4.
Pearson CA 1916 (Untitled). The Spectator, 18th November, 626.
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