The Warren Auxiliary Hospital
The Warren, Croydon Road, Hayes, Kent BR2 7AL
Medical dates:

Medical character:
1914 - 1916

Convalescent (military)
At the outbreak of war in 1914 the wealthy businessman and politician Sir Robert Laidlaw (1856-1915) offered Warren House (known locally as The Warren) to the British Red Cross Society for use as a war hospital.  It was one of three private houses in the area offered for this purpose (the other two were Coney Hill and Hayes Grove.  Wood Lodge, in Wickham Court Road, was offered by its owner, Mr James Baker, for use as an auxiliary hospital and, although it was prepared for use, the offer was never taken up).

The Kent/82 Voluntary Aid Detachment (V.A.D.) had been mobilised on 13th October, and the premises were quickly prepared.

The Warren Auxiliary Hospital opened the following day, on 14th October 1914, with 55 beds for enlisted servicemen.  The Hospital, which stood in 22 acres of grounds, had an operating theatre,  donated by Mr Gurney Preston who had also given two tables for wound dressing.  Sir Robert contributed £25 a week towards the running costs, as well as the use of five servants.  The Hospital was also allowed to use produce from the kitchen gardens.

The first patients to arrive on the opening day were a party of sick and wounded Belgian soldiers.  A few days later, on 17th October, more Belgian soldiers arrived, suffering mainly from rheumatism and bullet wounds to the legs; one had shrapnel wounds.  Fifty were billeted at The Warren and the remainder at Coney Hill.

The nursing staff consisted of a Matron and 2 Sisters, with members of the Kent/82 V.A.D. undertaking nursing and general duties.  Local residents also helped.

Sir Robert died in November 1915 and the property was sold to Mr Edwin Mumford Preston of Monks Orchard, West Wickham, for £19,500.

The Hospital closed on 28th May 1916.  During its operational lifetime, over 630 servicemen had received treatment.

Present status (December 2010)

The premises now belong to the Metropolitan Police Sports Club

The entrance to the Metropolitan Police Sports Club on Croydon Road.

The Warren, glimpsed through the trees.  It is well fenced off and only just visible from the adjoining Common.
Creswick P, Pond GS and 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 Local History 4, 17-23.

Walker JE (undated) An account of the British Red Cross Society in West Wickham, Kent 1870-1970.  Unpublished document filed at the Archives Department, British Red Cross Society, Moorgate.


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