St Mark's Hospital for Diseases of the Rectum and Colon

City Road, Finsbury, EC1V 2PS

Medical dates:

Medical character:

1835 - 1995


One of the oldest and most renowned centres of colorectal surgery, the Hospital began life in 1835 in a small room with seven beds at 11 Aldersgate Street as the Infirmary for the Relief of the Poor Afflicted with Fistula and Other Diseases of the Rectum.  Founded by the surgeon Frederick Salmon, it came to be known as the Fistula Infirmary.

It was financially supported by the City of London.  Charles Dickens was a patient here.

In 1838 the Hospital moved to larger premises at 38 Charterhouse Square.  By this time it had 14 beds.

Thirteen years later, in 1854, a new site was purchased in City Road.  The 25-bedded hospital opened on St Mark's Day (25th April) and took the name of St Mark's Hospital for Fistula and Other Diseases of the Rectum.

Expansion  became increasingly necessary and, in 1896, a new building was opened.

In 1909 the name changed again to St Mark's Hospital for Cancer, Fistula and Other Diseases of the Rectum, reflecting the interests  in cancer surgery.

During WW1 ten beds were given over to servicemen.

Cuthbert Dukes worked at the Hospital from 1922 as its first pathologist.  He was a pioneer of staging the spread of colorectal cancer.  'Dukes staging' is still used today.

Work began in 1926 on a large extension to provide two new wards, a new Out-Patients Department, X-ray facilities, and pathology and research departments.  By this time the Hospital had 93 beds.

A Nurses' Home was built in 1936.

In 1948 the Hospital joined the NHS, administered jointly with Hammersmith Hospital until 1972, when it became attached to St Bartholomew's Hospital.  

In 1974, following a major reorganisation of the NHS, it came under the control of the City and Hackney District Health Authority.

It survived the many administrative changes taking place within the Health Service until 1994, when it became part of the Northwick Park and St Mark's NHS Trust based in Harrow.

In 1995 the Hospital moved to newly built premises on the Northwick Park Hospital site.

Present status (January 2008)

The Grade II listed building is now St Mark's Apartments - a short-term stay executive hotel.

St Mark's Hospital

The Hospital building in City Road (above and below).

St Mark's Hospital

St Mark's Hospital

St Mark's lion above the entrance to the Nurses' Home off Richards Road.

St Mark's Hospital

The view from Monton Street.

St Mark's Hospital

Sign advertising flats to let in St Mark's Apartments. 

Readers' comments 

St Mark's Hospital

  Photograph taken about 1929 showing staff at St Mark's putting together the fund-raising board outside their ward asking for an additional £15,000 for the extension.

(Photograph courtesy of Melanie Leggatt)

References (Accessed 23rd July 2017)

(Author unstated) 1949 St Mark's Hospital, City Road, London E.C.1. British Journal of Nursing (April), 34-35.

Black N 2006  Walking London's Medical History.  London, Royal Society of Medicine Press.

Dukes CE 1959 Frederick Salmon: founder of St Mark's Hospital, London. Medical History 3, 314-316.

Morson BC 1985 St Mark's Hospital - 1835-1995.  Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England 67, 202.








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