Wallacefield Auxiliary Hospital
Coombe Road, South Croydon, CR2 7EZ
Medical dates:

Medical character:
1914 - 1918

Convalescent (military)
At the outbreak of WW1, on the suggestion of his daughter May, George Goodsir, J.P. offered his home Wallacefield to the Order of St John for use as an auxiliary hospital.

Wallacefield Auxiliary Hospital opened in September 1914, affiliated to the Fourth London General Hospital.

Wallacefield was a large modern house set in two acres of grounds.  The Hospital had 20 beds in eight wards, including one on the ground floor, and a small operating theatre.  The large lounge hall was used as a Recreation Room, while the dining room had a billiard table.  There was also a large kitchen pantry and a workshop.

The first patients to arrive - on 23rd October 1914 - were two British soldiers, followed shortly after by 15 Belgian soldiers from Antwerp via Aberdeen.

The Hospital was originally managed by Miss Ethel Link (who later became the Commandant of St Dorothy's Convalescent Home for Soldiers).  Later, Mr Goodsir's wife took over as Lady Superintendent, while May Goodsir acted as Honorary Secretary and Quartermaster (the rest of the family lived elsewhere).  A trained Sister was in charge of the nursing care, while nursing, kitchen and domestic chores were undertaken by members of the local Voluntary Aid Detachment.

The Hospital received no capitation grant from the War Office, and Mr Goodsir paid the costs of the equipment and maintenance of the Hospital himself.  The Croydon Borough Electricity Committee agreed to provide electricity free of charge.

The local residents arranged concerts and amusements for the patients.  In the summer, patients could also enjoy the large garden or play tennis, croquet and bowls.

In 1916 the accommodation was increased to 29 beds.

By the end of 1917 some 245 patients had been treated.

Apart from three short periods when it closed for spring-cleaning, the Hospital remained occupied throughout the war.

It closed in December 1918.  

The Hospital had existed for 1,560 days, the same number as the duration of the war.  During its operational lifetime, 1,152 patients had received treatment.

Present status (December 2010)

 In 1924 the house was sold and renamed Highfield by its new owner.

During the 1950s it was bought by the LCC and became the Highfield Home for the Aged.

The Home was demolished in the 1990s and its site now contains new housing and a new road - Blossom Close.

   Wallacefield  Wallacefield
During the early 20th century Wallacefield was one of only three houses on the stretch of Coombe Road between Melville Avenue (left) and Castlemane Avenue (right).

 Wallacefield  Wallacefield
The Coombe Road frontage.

Wallacefield  Wallacefield
Blossom Close.
(Author unstated) 1917 List of the various hospitals treating military cases in the United Kingdom.  London, H.M.S.O.

(Author unstated) 1917 Red Cross work in Surrey during 1917 (5th Annual Report).  British Red Cross Society, Surrey Branch.

Moore HK (ed) 1920 Croydon and the Great War; the Official History of the War Work of the Borough and its Citizens from 1914 to 1919, together with the Croydon Roll of Honour. Corporation of Croydon.


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