Hammersmith Hospital, formerly the Military Orthopaedic Hospital, and later the Special Surgical Hospital, is a major teaching hospital in west London.
East Acton is an area in west London.
Its origins begin in 1902, when the Hammersmith Poor Law Guardians decided to erect a new workhouse and infirmary on a 14-acre site at the north side of Du Cane Road
somewhat to the north of Shepherd’s Bush. The land, adjacent to Wormwood Scrubs
Prison, was purchased for £14,500 from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. A temporary corrugated iron building was erected on the site in 1902 to provide care for victims of a smallpox epidemic that had taken place in the winter of 1901-2. The buildings were designed by the firm of Giles, Gough and Trollope. The infirmary occupied the front part of the site with a central administrative building flanked by pavilion ward blocks linked by a single storey corridor running east-west. A laundry, boiler-house and workshops lay at the centre of the site.
In 1916, the patients and inmates were moved to other establishments and the site was taken over by the War Office for use as the Military Orthopaedic Hospital, to care for wounded soldiers, largely thanks to the efforts of the noted surgeon Robert Jones. In 1916 the Joint War Committee awarded the hospital the sum of £1,000 to begin its work, soon followed in 1918 by a further grant of £10,000. The hospital was also supported by donations from the public. Part of the rehabilitation process involved putting the recovering patients to work in local shops, a policy which does not appear to have been entirely popular among the soldiers themselves.
Later it was renamed the Special Surgical Hospital, and in 1919 became the Ministry of Pensions Hospital. In 1926, after the end of the Great War, demands by the Hammersmith Guardians for return of their property finally succeeded and the site became Hammersmith Hospital. By 1930, the infirmary could accommodate 300 patients. Roger Daltrey was born there in 1944.
Until 1997 it was the home of the Royal Postgraduate Medical School
, which then became part of Imperial College. The hospital continues to be a major centre of postgraduate medical study as part of the UK’s first academic health science centre. The Medical Research Council (MRC) also has a major presence at Hammersmith Hospital providing a strong foundation for clinical and scientific research, with extensive research and development of imaging techniques.
Hammersmith Hospital is internationally renowned for clinical research. Its clinical reputation was built on the treatment of medical conditions notably of the heart and kidney, and now includes an angioplasty suite, a cancer centre, a leukaemia wing (The Catherine Lewis Centre)
Anciently, East Acton and Acton developed as separate settlements and the nearby districts of North Acton, West Acton and South Acton were developed in the late nineteenth century.
East Acton, largely separated from London by Wormwood Scrubs developed later and was mainly agricultural until after the arrival of the underground railway.
East Acton station opened in 1920 on the Ealing Broadway extension of the Central London Railway (CLR), which was renamed the Central line in 1937.
The new line was built with connections to the West London Line near Shepherd’s Bush, the former GWR main line to Birmingham at North Acton, and the main line to Bristol at Ealing Broadway.
Since the CLR was exclusively a passenger service, two extra dedicated tracks for the GWR’s freight trains were opened in 1938, but were closed in 1964. The trackbed of these rails is now overgrown, with vegetation visible immediately to the north of the station.
East Acton was mentioned frequently in the classic 1950s radio comedy series the Goon Show, as the Goons used to rehearse in a room over a greengrocers in East Acton.