St Mary's V.A.D. Hospital
St Mary's Church Hall, 61 College Road, Plaistow,
Bromley, Kent BR1 3QF

Medical dates:

Medical character:
1914 -1918

At the outbreak of WW1 in 1914 the Revd W. Gowans and the Church Hall Committee of St Mary's Church agreed to lend its hall to the Red Cross Society for use as an auxiliary hospital.

On 14th October 1914 the Kent/54 Voluntary Aid Detachment was mobilized.  A bath was installed in the hall by Alderman G. Weeks, while geysers were loaned by the South Suburban Gas Co.  The firms of Soans & Son and Humerston & Co lent their vans to collect all the equipment promised by friends.  By noon that day, the premises had been cleaned and prepared as a hospital with 45 beds.  At 2 o'clock a message was received to expect the wounded.  Within two days the bed complement had to be expanded to 65.  

An operating theatre with a table and a high pressure sterilizer, and an X-ray apparatus were later installed as a gift from Mr A.N. March.  A long verandah was donated and erected.  Motor car owners offered the free use of their cars, and even conveyed patients to London for special treatment provided by Dr Gustave Hamel, once the Royal Physician to King Edward VII.

All the food for the patients was cooked on the premises by volunteers.

The Hospital closed on 21st December 1918.  Some 1,343 patients had received treatment during its period of operation.

Present status (December 2010)

St Mary's Church Hall remains in community use.

St Mary's Church Hall, Plaistow, Bromley

The Church Hall at No. 61 College Road (above and below).

St Mary's Church Hall, Plaistow, Bromley
References (Accessed 11th August 2018)

Creswick P, Pond GS, Ashton PH 1915 Kent's Care for the Wounded.  London, Hodder & Stoughton. 151-153.

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

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