St Charles Hospital

Hospital in/near North Kensington, existing between 1881 and now

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Hospital · North Kensington · W10 ·

The St Marylebone workhouse infirmary was opened in 1881 on Rackham Street, North Kensington and received a congratulatory letter from Florence Nightingale.

In 1876 potential sites for an infirmary for the sick poor of the parish of St Marylebone were being considered in the West End, Hampstead and Ladbroke Grove in North Kensington. The last site was finally chosen - a 3.5 acre site in Rackham Street costing almost £8100 - and the foundation stone was laid in 1879.

In 1881 the St Marylebone Union Infirmary was officially opened by the Prince and Princess of Wales. The building was three storeys high, with a central block and four pavilions. It had accommodation for 744 patients (372 males in the two pavilions to the west of the central block and 372 females to the east) and 86 resident staff (the Infirmary also had 82 non-resident staff).

The staff included a resident Medical Officer, whose annual salary should have been £500, but the Guardians managed to beat this down to £450, an Assistant Medical Officer, who earned £150 a year, a dispenser (£120 a year) and a Matron, who earned between £100-150. The Assistant Matron received £50-70 a year, while a pavilion nurse earned £28-32. A day or night nurse received £20-25 a year, while the Head Night Nurse received £32-38. Accommodation, rations, uniforms and laundry were included.

In 1884 more land was bought and a Nurses' Home built, which was opened by Princess Christian, daughter of Queen Victoria. Florence Nightingale established a Training School for Nurses at the Infirmary, one of the first in a poor law establishment.

In 1902 an X-ray apparatus was installed and an operating theatre opened.

In 1923 the Infirmary was renamed the St Marylebone Hospital. By this time it had 732 beds; the patients were mainly chronically infirm adults and children. The following year an extension adjacent to the west end of the original Nurses' Home was opened by the then Minister of Health, Neville Chamberlain (the extension became known as the Chamberlain Home). In 1926 some wards had bedside wireless sets installed. In 1928 an internal phone system was installed.

In 1930 the LCC took over administrative charge and renamed it St Charles Hospital. New buldings were erected in the open spaces between the pavilions during the 1930s and, in 1936, another new Nurses' Home opened. In 1937 new accommodation was built for the night nurses at the northwest corner of the site, which had previously been occupied by the doctors' garden (the Chamberlain Home had proved to be inadequate and noisy). In 1938 an epidemic of infective enteritis in babies caused several to be admitted. Some died and this affected the reputation of the Hospital for a while.

In 1939 the Hospital became a District General Hospital, but facilities were inadequate and few operations were performed. For the duration of WW2 all the top floor wards were closed. A bomb demolished the southern boundary wall and several windows were blown out. A few incendiary bombs fell in the open spaces, but the Hospital survived relatively unscathed.

In 1948 St Charles Hospital joined the NHS under the control of the Paddington Group Hospital Management Committee. The number of beds decreased as wards were taken over for other uses. By 1949 there were 400 beds, 260 of which were medical, including 60 for TB patients, 12 for venereal disease and 45 for children.

During the 1950s the Hospital acquired several Portakabins and an Out-Patients Department opened. In 1952 an 8-bedded plastic surgery unit was opened by Sir Harold Gillies (1882-1960).

In 1960 a bleeper system was installed for the medical staff. New pathology laboratories opened in 1964 and, in 1966, the wards were modernized. The Peter Pan Ward, with 36 beds, was opened as a facility for mothers to stay with their children. In 1967 a modern, fully air-conditioned twin operating theatre with anaesthetic and recovery rooms was built. The following year a new plastic surgery ward was opened by Lady Gillies.

The Out-Patients Department was extended in 1972 and, in 1973, a Paediatric Department was opened by Sir Keith Joseph (1918-1994), Secretary of State for Health and Social Services.

By 1981 the Hospital had 350 beds with 600 staff (one-third of which were resident), reversing the earlier situation when there had been more beds than staff. 104 beds were for general medical cases, 81 surgical, 36 orthopaedic, 36 paediatric and 63 for the elderly. The wards were upgraded and the following year plans were made for a new psychiatric and psychogeriatric unit to be established between the main Hospital and St Marks Road, giving an extra 116 beds and 120 places in a Day Hospital.

In-patient services gradually reduced though and, by 1998, the Hospital had 120 beds. The site became underused and its future uncertain. In 2007 NHS Direct closed its call centre based at the Hospital.

The Hospital is currently managed by Kensington and Chelsea Primary Case Trust (PCT), although historically most in-patients had been from Westminster. The PCT runs a Minor Injuries Unit, a palliative care centre and a pharmacy; there are 61 beds for patients requiring rehabilitation. About one-third of the site is occupied by a Mental Health Centre operated by the Central and North West London Mental Health Trust (CNWL).


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Ian Gammons
Ian Gammons   
Added: 3 Apr 2018 08:08 GMT   
Post by Ian Gammons: Pamber Street, W10

Born in Pamber Street but moved to Harlow, Essex in 1958 when I was three years old. The air wasn?t clean in London and we had to move to cleaner air in Harlow - a new town with very clean air!

Vallie Webster
Vallie Webster   
Added: 16 Mar 2018 03:39 GMT   
Post by Vallie Webster: Tunis Road, W12

I visited my grandmother who lived on Tunis Road from Canada in approximately 1967-68. I remember the Rag and Bone man who came down the road with a horse and milk delivered to the door with cream on the top. I also remember having to use an outhouse in the back of the row house. No indoor plumbing. We had to have a bath in a big metal tub (like a horse trough) in the middle of the kitchen filled with boiled water on the stove. Very different from Canada. My moms madin name was Hardcastle. Interesting to see the maps. Google maps also brings the world closer.

Norman Norrington
Norman Norrington   
Added: 19 Jan 2018 14:49 GMT   
Post by Norman Norrington: Blechynden Street, W10

In the photo of Blechynden St on the right hand side the young man in the doorway could be me. That is the doorway of 40 Blechynden St.

I lived there with My Mum Eileen and Dad Bert and Brothers Ron & Peter. I was Born in Du Cane Rd Hosp. Now Hammersmith Hosp.

Left there with my Wife Margaret and Daughter Helen and moved to Stevenage. Mum and Dad are sadly gone.

I now live on my own in Bedfordshire, Ron in Willesden and Pete in Hayling Island.

Have many happy memories of the area and go back 3/4 times a year now 75 but it pulls back me still.

Paul Shepherd
Paul Shepherd   
Added: 16 Jan 2018 15:21 GMT   
Post by Paul Shepherd: Chamberlayne Road, NW10

i lived in Rainham Rd in the 1960?s. my best friends were John McCollough and Rosalind Beevor. it was a good time to be there but local schools were not good and i got out before it went to a real slum. i gather it?s ok now.

Mary Harris
Mary Harris   
Added: 19 Dec 2017 17:12 GMT   
Post by Mary Harris: 31 Princedale Road, W11

John and I were married in 1960 and we bought, or rather acquired a mortgage on 31 Princedale Road in 1961 for £5,760 plus another two thousand for updating plumbing and wiring, and installing central heating, a condition of our mortgage. It was the top of what we could afford.

We chose the neighbourhood by putting a compass point on John’s office in the City and drawing a reasonable travelling circle round it because we didn’t want him to commute. I had recently returned from university in Nigeria, where I was the only white undergraduate and where I had read a lot of African history in addition to the subject I was studying, and John was still recovering from being a prisoner-of-war of the Japanese in the Far East in WW2. This is why we rejected advice from all sorts of people not to move into an area where there had so recently bee

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Maria Russ
Maria Russ   
Added: 7 Dec 2017 09:46 GMT   
Post by Maria Russ: Middle Row Bus Garage

My mum worked as a Clippie out from Middle Row Bus Garage and was conductress to George Marsh Driver. They travel the City and out to Ruislip and Acton duiring the 1950’s and 1960’s. We moved to Langley and she joined Windsor Bus Garage and was on the Greenline buses after that. It was a real family of workers from Middle Row and it formed a part of my early years in London. I now live in New Zealand, but have happy memories of the early years of London Transport and Middle Row Garage.
Still have mum’s bus badge.

Happy times they were.

Julia elsdon
Julia elsdon   
Added: 22 Nov 2017 18:19 GMT   
Post by Julia elsdon: Shirland Mews, W9

I didn’t come from Shirland Mews, but stayed there when my father was visiting friends, sometime in the mid to late forties. As I was only a very young child I don’t remember too much. I seem to think there were the old stables or garages with the living accommodation above. My Mother came from Malvern Road which I think was near Shirland Mews. I remember a little old shop which had a "milk cow outside". So I was told, it was attached to the front of the shop and you put some money in and the milk would be dispensed into your container. Not too sure if it was still in use then. Just wonder if anyone else remembers it.yz5

David Jones-Parry
David Jones-Parry   
Added: 3 Oct 2017 13:29 GMT   
Post by David Jones-Parry: Tavistock Crescent, W11

I was born n bred at 25 Mc Gregor Rd in 1938 and lived there until I joined the Royal Navy in 1957. It was a very interesting time what with air raid shelters,bombed houses,water tanks all sorts of areas for little boys to collect scrap and sell them questions asked.A very happy boyhood ,from there we could visit most areas of London by bus and tube and we did.

Debbie hobbs
Debbie hobbs    
Added: 19 Sep 2017 09:08 GMT   
Post by Debbie hobbs : Raymede Street, W10


Susan Wright
Susan Wright   
Added: 16 Sep 2017 22:42 GMT   
Post by Susan Wright: Bramley Mews, W10

My Great Grandmother Ada Crowe was born in 9 Bramley Mews in 1876.

David Jones-Parry
David Jones-Parry   
Added: 7 Sep 2017 12:13 GMT   
Post by David Jones-Parry: Mcgregor Road, W11

I lived at 25 Mc Gregor Rd from 1938 my birth until I joined the Royal Navy in 1957.Our house sided onto Ridgeways Laundry All Saints Rd. I had a happy boyhood living there

Brenda Jackson
Brenda Jackson   
Added: 13 Aug 2017 21:39 GMT   
Post by Brenda Jackson: Granville Road, NW6

My Gt Gt grandparents lived at 83 Pembroke Road before it became Granville Road, They were married in 1874, John Tarrant and Maryann Tarrant nee Williamson.
Her brother George Samuel Williamson lived at 95 Pembroke Road with his fwife Emily and children in the 1881 Census

Apparently the extended family also lived for many years in Alpha Place, Canterbury Road, Peel Road,

Added: 16 Oct 2019 15:27 GMT   
Post by LDNnews: Aldwych
Rillington Place is a small street with an infamous history.
Rillington Place is a small street with an infamous history.

Added: 14 Oct 2019 15:27 GMT   
Post by LDNnews: Aldwych
St. Mark’s Road is a street in the Ladbroke conservation area.
St. Mark’s Road is a street in the Ladbroke conservation area.

Added: 11 Oct 2019 15:27 GMT   
Post by LDNnews: Aldwych
Chepstow Villas is a road in W11 with a chequered history.
Chepstow Villas is a road in W11 with a chequered history.

Added: 9 Oct 2019 15:27 GMT   
Post by LDNnews: Aldwych
North Kensington Library opened in 1891 and was described as one of London’s finest public libraries.
North Kensington Library opened in 1891 and was described as one of London’s finest public libraries.

The 1750 Rocque map is bounded by Sudbury (NW), Snaresbrook (NE), Eltham (SE) and Hampton Court (SW).
Outside these bounds, the 1750 map does not display.

The 1800 mapping is bounded by Stanmore (NW), Woodford (NE), Bromley (SE) and Hampton Court (SW).
Outside these bounds, the 1800 map does not display.

The 1830 mapping is bounded by West Hampstead (NW), Hackney (NE), Greenwich (SE) and Chelsea (SW).
Outside these bounds, the 1830 map does not display.

The 1860 mapping is bounded by Brent Cross (NW), Stratford (NE), Greenwich (SE) and Hammermith (SW).
Outside these bounds, the 1860 map does not display.

The 1900 mapping covers all of the London area.


North Kensington

North Kensington lies either side of Ladbroke Grove, W10.

North Kensington was rural until the 19th century, when it was developed as a suburb with quite large homes. By the 1880s, too many houses had been built for the upper-middle class towards whom the area was aimed. Large houses were divided into low cost flats which often degenerated into slums, as documented in the photographs of Roger Mayne.

During the 1980s, the area started to be gentrified although areas in the north west of the district at Ladbroke Grove and Westbourne Park remain deprived and run down to this day.

Waves of immigrants have arrived for at least a century including, but certainly not limited to, the Spanish, the Irish, the Jews, the West Indians, the Portuguese, the Moroccans and many from the Horn of Africa and Eastern Europe. This constant renewal of the population makes the area one of the most cosmopolitan in London.

The Notting Hill carnival was first staged in 1964 as a way for the local Afro-Caribbean communities to celebrate their own cultures and traditions. After some rough times in the 1970s and 1980s when it became associated with social protest, violence and huge controversy over policing tactics, this is now Europe’s largest carnival/festival event and a major event in the London calendar. It is staged every August over the Bank holiday weekend.
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