Watford District Hospital
45-47 Vicarage Road, Watford, Herts WD18 0DE
Medical dates:

Medical character:
1886 - 1925


Financed by public subscription, the Watford District Cottage Hospital, built in 1885, was officially opened in 1886 by Lady Clarendon.  The single-storey building had 9 beds - two wards of 4 beds each and a 1-bedded isolation ward.  The WC was in an annexe disconnected from the wards, while thethe operating theatre, isolation ward, bathroom and nurses' and domestics' bedrooms were on the opposite side of the corridor from wards.  The kitchen was in a separate block at the rear,connected to the main building by a passageway.  It had cost £1,800 to build - a quite large outlay, making the 'cost' of each bed £200.  However, once the cost of the site (£550), of the furniture (£221) and of the instruments (£31) had been factored in, this raised the total cost to about £2,600, that is, nearly £300 per bed.

The Hospital was enlarged in 1897 on the occasion of the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria, and again in 1902 to celebrate the Coronation of King Edward VII.  The new wing was opened by the Duchess of Bedford in October 1903.

It dropped the 'Cottage' from its title and became known simply as the Watford District Hospital.

Following WW1 it was proposed to replace the Hospital with a more modern one to commemorate those who had died during the War and, at the same time, to establish a permanent memorial to peace.  A fund-raising Appeal was launched and the Hospital closed when the Peace Memorial Hospital opened in 1925.

Present status (November 2010)

The single storey building was bought by the Watford Board of Guardians.

Considered to be an 'excellent example of a Victorian cottage hospital' the building has been used for a number of medical purposes, for example, a geriatric hospital and a day centre.

Today it has been converted into offices and is known as Victoria House.

Victoria House
Victoria House, as seen  from the east.

Victoria House
Victoria House, from the west.

Victoria House
The central section of the building.

Victoria House  Victoria HouseThe new name of the building is writ above the front door (left).  The cornerstone on the front of the building was laid in 1885 by the Countess of Clarendon (right).

Victoria House  Victoria House
The top part of the decorative masonry on the western extension  of the building bears an image of Queen Victoria (left) and the east wing, built in 1902, an image of the crowned King Edward (right).

(Author unstated) 1903 Reflections.  British Journal of Nursing, 3rd October, 274.

Burdett HC 1896  Cottage Hospitals, 3rd edn. London, Scientific Press, 264-265.

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