St Luke's Hospital
for the Clergy
14 Fitzroy Square, W1T 6AH
Medical dates:

Medical character:
1892 - 2009

The Hostel of St Luke, a nursing home for the clergy, opened in 1892 in a house in Beaumont Street.  It had 7 beds and provided respite care for Anglican ministers.

This unique institution had been the idea of Canon William Henry Cooper (c.1930-1909), who had established it with his second wife.  At the end of the 19th century many Anglican clergymen were very poor, becoming destitute when they fell ill. (In 1890 the Canon had visited three workhouses and found 27 priests living in them.  By the following year he had raised enough money to establish the hostel.)

In 1894 the Hostel moved to larger premises at No. 16 Nottingham Place.  The Hostel was now in a position to provide medical and surgical treatment, as well as nursing home facilities, for those Anglican clergymen, their wives, widows and children, who could otherwise not have afford such care.  In October 1895 Princess Christian, the Patroness of the Hostel, visited.

At the end of 1895 the Canon and his wife resigned and instead devoted themselves to establishing a home in Lingfield for destitute, incurable and convalescent clergymen.  Two houses were rented for this purpose. (The Home later become the College of St Barnabas).

In 1904 it was decided to increase the work of the charity to provid better hospital facilities.  In 1905 two freehold terraced houses in Fitzroy Square - Nos. 13 and 14 - were purchased and an appeal was launched to raise £10,000 to erect a purpose-built hospital rather than adapt the buildings.

One of the houses - No. 14 - was demolished and rebuilt.  The new Hostel was officially opened by Queen Alexandra on 18th October 1907.

In the spring of 1909 Canon Cooper, who had retired to Worthing, fell seriously ill.  At his own request, he was admitted to the Hostel, where he died on 13th April.  His funeral was held in St Mary Magdelene, Munster Square, and he was cremated at Golders Green.

In the summer of 1909 the Hostel was closed for a few weeks for thorough cleaning and some necessary alterations.  It re-opened on 30th August.

On 7th July 1922 the foundation stone for an extension to the Hostel (to replace the second house) was laid by Princess Christian.  Queen Mary opened the extension in 1923.  The Hostel then had 30 beds.  The Chapel and the roof garden had also been enlarged.

In 1938 some 373 patients were admitted, slightly fewer than in 1937.  Of these, 269 had been treated free of charge.  Some 818 out-patients had been seen.  The Management Committee recognised that increased accommodation was needed for nursing staff.

In 1957, for its 50th anniversary in Fitzroy Square, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother visited the Hostel.

In 1958 the Hostel was renamed St Luke's Nursing Home for the Clergy.  It had 30 beds.

By 1969 it had 24 beds.

Princess Alexandra visited in 1977, when the Nursing Home was celebrating its 70th anniversary in Fitzroy Square.

In 1978 the Nursing Home was renamed St Luke's Hospital for the Clergy.

In 1994 the Hospital underwent a major refurbishment and redevelopment.  This was completed early in 1995, when it then had 16 beds.  The Archbishop of Canterbury rededicated the Hospital in January 1995, and Queen Elizabeth II, accompanied by Prince Philip, officially re-opened it in March 1995.  As well as Anglican clergy and their families, free treatment was provided for members of religious orders, overseas missionaries, theological students and their families.  The medical staff - honorary physicians and surgeons of all faiths - gave their services free of charge.

In May 2006 the Hospital closed again for further modernisation, including refurbishment of the operating theatre.  It re-opened in May 2007, in time for its 100th anniversary.  The cost of the redevelopment was £2.7m, of which the Hospital had raised £1.6m.  A new Physiotherapy Unit and a Day Care Centre had been added, as well as more consulting rooms.  

Nonetheless, the Hospital was limited as to the type of surgery it could offer and lacked intensive care facilities.  It also had no imaging or pathology departments.  Although a charitable, rather than a private hospital, it took private non-clerical patients to supplement its income, which came mainly from Anglican parishes and individuals, especially from southeast England.  However, 10-20% of patients were Anglican clergy and their dependents from overseas.  Medical and surgical treatment was still provided voluntarily by hospital consultants in the London area but, despite this, the daily costs of running the Hospital amounted to £4,000-£5,000.

Spiralling costs forced the closure of the Hospital in 2009.

Present status (November 2009)

It was originally planned to sell the building to the London Clinic, but the deal fell through.

In April 2009 the building was acquired by BMI Healthcare.  It is now the Fitzroy Square Hospital, a private hospital with 17 beds.

The charity, however, still exists and is now known as St Luke's Healthcare for the Clergy.

Princess Grace Hospital  Princess Grace Hospital
The second site of the Hostel at No. 16 Nottingham Place is now occupied by the Princess Grace Hospital.  (Nottingham Place was extended and renumbered during the 1930s.)

N.B. Photographs obtained in December 2008

St Luke's Hospital
The former St Luke's Hospital for the Clergy is the only building on the northern side of Fitzroy Square not to be listed Grade II*.  The greater height of the building breaks the line and symmetry of the original terrace.

St Luke's Hospital
The main entrance.

N.B. Photographs obtained in November 2009

Fitzroy Square Hospital  Signage
New signage by the front entrance.

(Author unstated) 1895 Reflections from a Board Room Mirror. Nursing Record and Hospital World, 26th October, 295.

(Author unstated) 1905 Reflections from a Board Room Mirror.  British Journal of Nursing, 15th July, 59.

(Author unstated) 1905 Reflections from a Board Room Mirror.  British Journal of Nursing, 30th December, 545.

(Author unstated) 1908 The Hostel of St Luke.  British Medical Journal 2 (), 15th August, 447.

(Author unstated) 1909 Reflections from a Board Room Mirror.  British Journal of Nursing, 25th September, 261.

(Author unstated) 1922 The Hospital World.  British Journal of Nursing, 15th July, 40.

(Author unstated) 1923 Hospital World.  British Journal of Nursing, 31st March, 204.

(Author unstated) 1939 The Hospital World.  British Journal of Nursing (April), 106.

www.stlukeshospital.org.uk (1)
www.stlukeshospital.org.uk (2)

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