St Mary Cray Auxiliary Hospital
The Institute, High Street, St Mary Cray, Kent BR5 4AX
Medical dates:

Medical character:

At the beginning of WW1, on 14th October 1914,  a temporary auxiliary hospital for wounded Belgian soldiers was set up in Crofton Grange, a private girls' school in St Mary Cray.  The premises had been lent to the Kent/108 Voluntary Aid Department by the headmistress, Miss Mary Alice Lyster, and her sister, Elizabeth Hester Lyster.  The Hospital had 25 beds.

The schoolhouse hospital was open for only a week, until a more permanent convalescent hospital could be established in the local Institute, some two miles away.

On 21st October 1914 the patients and staff were transferred to the Institute hospital, which also had 25 beds and had been equipped by Mr E.H. Joynson, a local paper mill owner.

The patients remained at the Hospital until they could be discharged.  They were not replaced by new cases, which were treated at Orpington.

The Hospital closed in December 1914.

Present status (January 2012)

The Institute was located to the north of the Sunday School of the Temple Congregational Church (now the Temple Clinic).    The building seems to have survived, if much mutilated, and is now part of the Village Hall complex (which was built in 1931).

In 2005 the buildings, which had lain derelict for six years, were refurbished and refitted by the St Mary Cray Village Hall Trust, a group of local volunteers. The Trust was awarded a Group Environment Award by Bromley Council in 2007.

St Mary Cray
The bricked in doorway and windows of the Institute (or Library and Reading Rooms), which opened in 1847 and was used by working class men and boys - the only place of its kind in the area.  At the beginning of 1914 it was already threatened with closure.

St Mary Cray
The buildings behind the facade, now occupied by Mrs Bond's Village Nursery.

St Mary Cray
The Village Hall was built much later.

St Mary Cray
The Institute building from the south, with later additions.

References (Accessed 5th August 2015)

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

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

Return to alphabetical list
Return to home page