Victoria Hospital
Pettit's Lane, Romford, Essex RM1 4HP
Medical dates:

Medical character:
1888 - 1989

Acute.  Later, general, then OPD only

The Victoria Cottage Hospital opened in Pettit's Lane in 1888 on a site donated by William Mashiter (1812-1890), the son of Octavius Mashiter, the head of a prominent Romford family.  The Hospital was built at the cost of £1000 in commemoration of Queen Victoria's Jubilee, and served the towns of Romford, Hornchurch, Havering, Upminster and Dagenham, as well as their adjoining districts.

The Hospital was enlarged in 1893, again through the generosity of the late William Mashiter.  The male ward was extended and an upper room added, giving a total of 13 beds.

In 1901 a new wing was added, which contained a surgical ward, a convalescent ward and an intensive care ward for severely injured patients, making it one of the most up-to-date cottage hospitals in the country.

The Hospital was further extended in 1912 to commemorate the death of King Edward VII.  It then had 17 beds and cots.

By 1917  it had 18 beds, with the average length of stay 20 days.  The cost of an in-patient was £1 16s 7d (£1.83), slightly less that the previous year of £1 16s 11d (£1.85).  The Hospital dealt mainly with non-infectious cases of curable disease and accidental injuries - appendicitis, removal of tonsils and adenoids, mastoid disease, sepsis and abscesses, enlarged neck glands (tuberculosis of the lymph nodes), gastrointestinal conditions , gynaecological problems, circumcision for phimosis, gall stones, hernia, pyorrhea and other dental disease and fractures.

In 1924 further additions were made to the buildings and a children's ward was opened in 1925.  The Hospital then had 33 beds, with an average stay of 14 days.  By 1928 the weekly cost of an in-patient had risen to £3 11s (£3.55), compared to £3 8s 5d (£3.42) in the previous year.

In 1939 the foundation stone was laid by Lady Dorina Neave for a 3-storey building on the north part of the site.

In 1948 the Hospital joined the NHS, under the control of the Romford Group, part of the North East Metropolitan Regional Hospital Board.  It had 101 beds.

In 1974, following a major reorganisation of the NHS, the Hospital transferred to the Brentwood and Havering District Health Authority, part of the North East Thames Regional Health Board.  

In 1978 the children's ward closed.  The Hospital became run-down and neglected and, in 1997, despite local opposition, the local Health Authority proposed to close it and  convert it to other uses, such as a psychogeriatric day unit and offices for community health staff.

By 1982 it had only 32 beds.  The wards closed in 1985, but the Out-Patients Department remained open until 1989.

Present status (September 2008)

Although it was reported in Parliament that the Hospital buildings had been sold for £1.1m in 1985, they remain in the NHS as part of the North East London NHS Foundation Trust.

The site has become the Victoria Centre, housing various health care services, such as breast care, community mental health support, chiropody and Havering Crossroads, a charitable organisation providing respite care for long-term carers.

original hospital
The rather pretty original Hospital building is still in use as part of the Victoria Centre, but appears somewhat run-down.

original hospital  Hospital from the south
   The Hospital has been variously extended over the years.

Hospital from the south extension
The 3-storey 1939 extension looms over the diminuitive original  building (left).  A newish extension has been built on the south side of the site (right).

1939 extension  1939 extension
The Victoria Breast Care Centre in the 1939 extension is operated by Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust.
http://hospitalshistory.multiply.com (1)
http://hospitalshistory.multiply.com (2)
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