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Report - Block 8 (Nurses' home), OldChurch Hospital, Romford, Essex - November 2014

Discussion in 'Asylums and Hospitals' started by slayaaaa, Dec 8, 2014.

  1. slayaaaa

    slayaaaa 28DL Regular User
    Regular User

    Jul 10, 2014
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    I had seen this on 28DL in the past, back then, however, it looked like there wasn't much left of the site and the one block that remained seemed destined to be demolished before 2013 was over and so I looked over it. Then in early November whilst passing on the trains towards Stratford I noticed it was still standing, then on the way to Basildon we jumped off quick and a look. The place surprised me and hope the picture reflect that well.

    I've uploaded in large today, if it's a bit overkill, I'm more than happy to downsize them. :Thumb

    As some of you may know, I took a few film shots but the negatives were scratched in development, so the ones with blue streaks are film.


    Oldchurch Hospital originated from the Romford Union workhouse, which had been built during 1838 and 1839 to the southwest of Romford.


    The 5-acre site on Oldchurch Road was purchased by the Union from a Mr Philpot at £160 an acre. The 2-storey workhouse building was of a cruciform build, a popular design with the dormitory blocks laid out in a cross-shape. It could house 450 inmates.

    Romford (or "Rumford", as it was known back then) was the subject of a report in An Account of Several Workhouses..., dated October 24th, 1724.

    The administration block was at the south of the site, whilst the main accommodation blocks radiated from a central hub or core. Observation windows in the hub enabled the workhouse master to observe and watch the inmates in each of the four exercise yards/playgrounds. The dormitories and Day Rooms for the female inmates were on the eastern side in the northeast and southeast arms of the cross, while the males occupied the western side in the northwest and southwest arms. The kitchens and dining rooms were located at the north of the building.

    In 1893 the workhouse was renamed the Romford Poor Law Institution. Later an infirmary block was added at the north of the site.

    During WW1 the infirmary of the Institution became the Romford Military Hospital, an auxiliary hospital for the Colchester Military Hospital, with 82 beds for wounded and sick servicemen.

    In 1924 further additions were built at the north and east of the site.


    In 1929, following the abolition of the Poor Law Guardians, the workhouse and its infirmary came under the administration of Essex County Council, who converted the buildings into the Oldchurch County Hospital.

    The Hospital, which incorporated the old workhouse buildings, was much expanded during the 1930s to have over 800 beds.

    During WW2 it joined the Emergency Medical Service (EMS) with 868 beds, of which 96 were EMS beds for air-raid casualties.

    In 1948 the Hospital joined the NHS under the control of the Romford Group Hospital Management Committee, part of the North East Metropolitan Regional Hospital Board.

    It remained an acute hospital and, by 1962, it had 651 beds for acute and maternity patients.

    In 1974, following a major reorganisation of the NHS, the Hospital came under the control of the Havering District Health Authority, part of the Barking and Havering Area Health Authority of the North East Thames Regional Health Authority. Its maternity services had closed and it had 629 beds for acute cases.

    In 1980 it had 600 beds. In 1982, after another NHS reorganisation, it came under the control of the Barking, Havering and Brentwood District Health Authority. By 1986 it had 530 beds.

    In 1993, following another NHS reform, the Hospital was under the control of the Havering Hospitals NHS Trust.

    In 2000 it had 473 beds. Despite local opposition, the old cruciform workhouse building was demolished so that a temporary single-storey building could be erected in its place.

    In 2003 the Hospital was administered by the Barking, Havering and Redbridge NHS Trust. By 2005 there were 565 beds.

    The Hospital closed in 2006, with the last patient being seen on 15th December. Services were transferred to the nearby newly built Queen's Hospital and to the King George Hospital in Chadwell Heath.

    Present status (February 2008)

    The site has been sold and is being redeveloped by E.ON and Taylor Wimpey East London. The front parts of the Hospital have been demolished and keyworker housing - Reflections - is being erected in the northeast corner. The southeast corner is bare, awaiting house-building.

    Now only Block 8 stands.


    Out of all the hospital buildings, only Block 8 remains.

    The building at present sits in the middle of a building site surrounded by rising apartment blocks, it seems surreal to have this one block in the middle of such a modern development. The building it's self quite structurally sound, it's just the exterior fittings have decayed and fallen apart, the internal décor has been stripped and a lot of the windows have just been ripped out. The slates on the roof clearly aren't in the best of conditions and I assume the place leaks like a colander when it does rain. Green growth seems to be flourishing and a lot of the wood is practically rotting into soil.
    Windows remain smashed and paint has begun to peel and flake. The floor, doors and obviously some windows have been stripped out and dumped in the courtyard in a big heap. This sounds bad, but inside the places looks a lot better than it did with the floor! Little remains equipment wise, a vending machine, table and a chair remain in the hall. but despite this, a lot of the original furnishings remain in situ, i.e. the stair case, main window frames and a lot of the décor in the hall, A few signs remain in place and if I'm honest, this place is very photogenic, looks great inside but very dilapidated. The exterior shows a lot of stunning architecture, except it has been ripped apart by contractors. All in all, this building COULD have a future, and personally believe it deserves to have one.


    Planning permission has been submitted to demolish Block 8, unfortunately, it seems likely they will grant it. Block 8 now sticks out like a sore thumb and has literally been bullied into submission by close by rising developments that shadow it's future.

    Strategic planning application stage 1 referral (new powers)

    Town & Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended); Greater London Authority Acts 1999 and 2007; Town & Country Planning (Mayor of London) Order 2008.

    The proposal

    Demolition of block 8 (former nurses’ home) and redevelopment to provide 77 new homes, and associated parking and landscaping.

    The applicant

    The applicant is Taylor Wimpey East London, and the architect is CJCT.

    Strategic issues

    The loss of the non-designated heritage asset raises an objection in principle. Notwithstanding this, other issues with respect to housing, urban design, inclusive access, sustainable development and transport are also identified.


    That Havering Council be advised that the application does not comply with the London Plan for the reasons set out in paragraph 52 of this report.

    Swan new homes will likely be granted permission and demolish it, rebuilding a 77 apartment residential block in it's place. (http://www.swannewhomes.co.uk/oldchurch-park/), having said that, they're new developments work well with Romford as a town, it's just a big shame they had to eradicate the Oldchurch site to build it.

    Visit and pictures


    15746988597_483417a6b0.jpg 15310505374_0058cd88fa.jpg

    Well, I had a lot of fun visiting this site, must of spent an hour in here. hiding from the builders was a lot of fun



    The fence guarding the place was a little off putting at first but it soon came apparent we had no choice but to jump it



    Then after UrbanAlex cautiously clambered over it we were in and quickly made our way round the front to see what was what



    Aware of the builders that could easily have seen us from up on the scaffolding of the new developments, we found our way inside block 8 and begun our visit



    A lot of people seemingly complain of 'derps' like this, but a lot of us love them, I.E. this one, it looks great from the outside and the inside, the decay was stunning and the place had a great feel to it



    We wandered the corridors and rooms and realised how quiet it was, and we expected to hear the contractors outside, but silence. It seemed like an odd contrast of the old buildings and decay to the new developments and contractors



    Staying quite ourselves was quite a task, a lot of it was crumbling under our feet, but the looming cranes outside reminded us we didn't need to be as stealthy as expected, Block 8 was forgotten



    We continued to mooch and snap away, oblivious to the public wandering passed outside



    As we ventured East on the site, we noticed more windows were missing, as we wandered the 3rd floor corridor, we looked Left and realised we were looking straight into the front room of a new apartment next door



    Time to go, and as we crept across the courtyard to the gate, we were spotted by builders up on the roof of a development



    One began to shout followed by another, and another until a harsh sounding choir of contractors were howling at us as we ran across



    I jumped that 9ft fence like Mario, wish I could've said the same about Alex, we got stuck up top and hurt his leg



    With a bit of encouragement he was free and we made a run for it knowing full well the builders, security or perhaps worse were coming for us



    We hoped down into the subway and made a B-line to a shop to get some cheap chocolate, then we were off to Basildon


    Maybe there's hope for this place, maybe a resident will appeal or the contractors will maybe miraculously add it into their development


    Whatever happens, this place is great, full of character and it'll be a real shame if it's flattened, I hope you enjoyed the report and enjoyed reading, apologies for the blue streaks in the film set and the pic heavy report.

    Cheers for looking!

    girtrood likes this.

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  2. Boomstick84

    Boomstick84 28DL Regular User
    Regular User

    Mar 21, 2014
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    Nice report mate, enjoyed that :thumb

    Looks quite a photogenic place. Some beautiful shots all round but particularly like that one near the end of the plant growing on the window ledge, something quite nice about that one :)

    Nice work!
  3. WildBoyz

    WildBoyz Is this the future?
    Regular User

    Mar 16, 2014
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    Some cracking shots in there mate. The symmetrical corridor and close up of the staircase are my favourites.
  4. knighthawk

    knighthawk 28DL Full Member
    28DL Full Member

    Oct 18, 2014
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    Just love this report brilliant job :thumb
  5. huey

    huey 28DL Regular User
    Regular User

    Aug 4, 2014
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    Some really lovely there mate,nice report,nice one!
  6. slayaaaa

    slayaaaa 28DL Regular User
    Regular User

    Jul 10, 2014
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    Cheers guys, it's very much appreciated :)
  7. Session9

    Session9 A life backwards
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    Feb 4, 2010
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    Fantastic, cracking report and snaps !!
  8. The Amateur Wanderer

    The Amateur Wanderer 28DL Regular User
    Regular User

    Jul 22, 2012
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    Some awesome shots there!

    Nice report :thumb
  9. slayaaaa

    slayaaaa 28DL Regular User
    Regular User

    Jul 10, 2014
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    Cheers guys, very much appreciated! Characterful little block is that. :thumb
  10. massive mart 81

    massive mart 81 28DL Member
    28DL Member

    Aug 6, 2016
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    Just to let you know that the nurse home at oldchurch hospital us now fully demolished. Very sad to see. I was part of that building for around 5 years. All that stays now is the porters lodge aka estates department. Very sad!
    #10 massive mart 81, Aug 6, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 6, 2016
  11. mattdonut

    mattdonut likes teh HDr
    Regular User

    Apr 11, 2013
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