St Matthew's Hospital
79 Shepherdess Walk, N1 7LH
Medical dates:

Medical character:
1870 - 1995

In 1782 St Luke's parish workhouse was built at the junction of City Road and Shepherdess Walk in Islington.  In 1870 it was adapted for use as a hospital.  New female wards were added on the north of the 2 acre site in 1871, by which time it could accommodate 930 patients.  In 1876 a south block was added.

Between 1877 and 1879 more wards and administration offices were erected along Shepherdess Walk, to the east of the workhouse.

In 1916 it became known as the Holborn and Finsbury Institution.

In 1930 its administration was taken over by the LCC and it was renamed the City Road Institution.  In 1936 it was renamed St Matthew's Hospital and cared for geriatric cases.  By 1939 it cared for 660 chronically sick patients.

During WW2 a quarter of the ward accommodation was destroyed by a high explosive bomb in 1940.  Fifty male patients, 33 female patients and 3 nurses were killed.  It was one of the worst incidents of bomb damage involving a hospital during the war.  The Hospital was evacuated and remained vacant for the next two years.  The wards reopened in 1942, but closed again shortly afterwards.  By 1945 it had returned to normal, but with only 320 patients in eight wards.

In 1973 the wards were modernised.  Medical and nursing care for old people continued but with an increasing emphasis on rehabilitation.  The Hospital had 188 beds.

It closed in 1995.

Present status (April 2008)

The hospital gates bearing the initials SM on the southern entrance to the site still survive.  This area is now a car park.  The northern part of one of the 1871 ward blocks has been converted into apartments.

old ward block  old ward block
The old ward block from Wellesley Terrace,
now converted into apartments
new block
The west side of the old block from the courtyard.

new block
Looking from the north at the new block on Shepherdess Walk.

new block
old wall
The old wall at the end of Shepherdess Walk.

Railings and pillars at the end of Shepherdess Walk.

The new block on Shepherdess Walk from across the car park in City Road.  The old Hospital ward block with its pointed roof can be seen in the distance.
  Hospital gates  Hospital gates
The old Hospital gates, now the entrance to the carpark in City Road.

Hospital gates  wrought iron
The gates still bear the initials of the Hospital - SM.
Black N 2006  Walking London's Medical History.  London, Royal Society of Medicine Press


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