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The North Eastern Fever Hospital, Tottenham

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Tottenham was the location for one of the new phase of hospitals erected by the Metropolitan Asylums Board in the 1890s. The MAB had been set up in 1867 to administer care for certain categories of the sick poor in metropolitan London. In 1891, its responsibilities were expanded to include the provision of fever and infectious diseases hospitals for all the capital's inhabitants.

The MAB had proposed buying the 28-acre site Tottenham in 1890, in anticipation of its expansion programme, but the purchase had been vetoed by the Local Government Board. In 1892, there was a violent outbreak of scarlet fever leading to an enormous increase in demand for beds at the MAB's hospitals. The Board quickly erected temporary huts to accommodate a thousand extra cases, and organised eight hundred further beds elsewhere. However, for the first time in their history, the MAB hospitals had to refuse any further admissions. As a result, the Local Government Board, capitulated and allowed the purchase of the Tottenham site at a cost of £12,000. Within seven weeks, a collection of temporary buildings, originally only intended to last a year, had been designed, erected and staffed. The new hospital, which — following the MAB's practice at the time — was named the North Eastern, opened on 8th October, 1892. The Building News magazine reported on the event.

STAMFORD HILL.—The new North-Eastern Fever Hospital in St. Ann's-road will be ready for the reception of patients to-morrow, Saturday, seven weeks from the commencement of work upon it. Seven weeks ago the site of 15 acres was a cricket-field, but is now covered with no lees than 50 buildings, chiefly of temporary materials, but provided with the most approved system of heating, ventilating, and draining, 24 are patients' wards, 13 are devotee to the nursing staff, and the remainder consist of stores, kitchens, laundry, and administrative department. Most of the ward buildings are 120ft. long by 24ft. wide, and all stand on brick piers upon a foundation platform of concrete extending under the entire building. They are constructed of wood, the floor and walls double-boarded with a layer of felt between, and a double roof with corrugated iron covering. Each ward has under the same roof a sanitary-room, bath-room, scullery, pantry, and linen closet. The heating is by steam. All the detached buildings in the grounds are connected by a covered way, beneath which is a brick duct through which are carried all the steam, water, gas, and other pipes for supplying the entire establishment. The new hospital will accommodate 548 patients, and the working staff will consist of 207 persons. Nearly, or quite, 900 workmen have employed at onetime. The architects were Messrs. A. and C. Harston, of Leadenhall-street, E.C.

Almost twenty years later, with the 'temporary' structures were still in use, the hospital finally gained some permanent buildings on adjoining land at the west of the original site.

NEW BUILDINGS, NORTH EASTERN HOSPITAL.—
The original North-Eastern Hospital consists of a group of temporary buildings hastily erected in 1882, in face of en epidemic of scarlet fever, and intended only to last for one year. The area of the site was then 19 acres, but additional land has since been purchased, and the total is now about 33 acres, including a recreation ground, not shown on the accompanying plan, situated on the south side of the railway. The new buildings, which form the first section of the proposed permanent hospital, are shown black on the plan. They consist of an administrative block, laundry, staff quarters, medical superintendent's end steward's houses, porter's lodge, receiving and discharge rooms, mortuary, dispensary, four diphtheria and enteric blocks, two isolation blocks, and tank tower. The normal number of beds in the reconstructed hospital will be 548. The new buildings provide for diphtheria and enteric patients and eight isolation beds. They also include accommodation for the entire staff of the future hospital. The buildings have been erected by Messrs. McCormick & Sons, whose contracts include all engineering work except kitchen end laundry fittings. The contract amounts; were as follows :— Main contract, 113,6421. ; laundry, 8,8651. The kitchen fittings were provided by Messrs. C. Kite & Co., whose contract amounted to 1,050l., and the contract for laundry fittings has recently been let to Messrs. Bradford & Co. et 4,5801. The medical superintendent's residence was built by Messrs. Wm. Johnson & Co. of Wandsworlh-common, at a cost of 1,968l. Messrs. A. & C. Harston, Leadenhall-street, were the architects, and Mr. W. Lawrence clerk of the works.

North Western Hospital site, 1901.


North Eastern Hospital entrance lodge from the north-east, 2004
© Peter Higginbotham

North Eastern Hospital discharge room from the north-west, 2004
© Peter Higginbotham

North Eastern Hospital Assistant Medical Officer's House from the north-east, 2004
© Peter Higginbotham

North Eastern Hospital matron's house and staff block from the north-east, 2004
© Peter Higginbotham

North Eastern Hospital administration block from the north-west, 2004
© Peter Higginbotham

North Eastern Hospital administration block from the south-east, 2004
© Peter Higginbotham

North Eastern Hospital dispensary from the north-east, 2004
© Peter Higginbotham

North Eastern Hospital laundry from the south, 2004
© Peter Higginbotham

North Eastern Hospital receiving room from the north-east, 2004
© Peter Higginbotham

North Eastern Hospital isolation block from the west, 2004
© Peter Higginbotham

North Eastern Hospital covered way from the west, 2004
© Peter Higginbotham

North Eastern Hospital diphtheria/enteric ward from the west, 2004
© Peter Higginbotham

North Eastern Hospital diphtheria/enteric wards from the south, 2004
© Peter Higginbotham

North Eastern Hospital water tower from the south, 2004
© Peter Higginbotham

North Eastern Hospital mortuary from the west, 2004
© Peter Higginbotham

North Eastern Hospital medical superintendent's house from the west, 2004
© Peter Higginbotham

During the First World War, the hospital was placed at the disposal of the United States military authorities, who retained the MAB medical superintendents as representatives of the American Red Cross.

In 1930, administration of the hospital passed to the London County Council. All the original temporary blocks were replaced in the 1930s. After 1948, it became a general hospital as part of the National Health Service and was renamed St Ann's Hospital.

A variety of medical services are now located on the site. Most of the 1901 buildings survive.

Records

Bibliography

  • Ayers, Gwendoline, M. (1971) England's First State Hospitals and the Metropolitan Asylums Board (Wellcome Institute of the History of Medicine, London).
  • Powell, Sir Allan (1930) The Metropolitan Asylums Board and its Work, 1867-1930. (MAB, London)
  • Building News, Oct 7, 1892.
  • The Builder, May 25, 1901.
  • None.

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