- Sep 30, 2010
Was on a course - a nice day away from the usual stuff and the organizers made the classic mistake of giving out our attendance certificates at lunch time ;o)
Thought I'd take advantage of this new space in my schedule and wandered over to the nearby Springfield Hospital. I've had my eye on this for some time and the derelict bit seems to be spreading like a cancer back into the live section. Alas, being the middle of the day, there was no apparent way in. I could smell the beautiful decay fumes blowing out of the windows in the breeze and could see the ceiling paper hanging down and swinging gently. I was half high, from the perfume, and so had to stop somewhere else. Putney hospital fell conveniently on the drive home.
It's desolate and destroyed and looks very apocalyptic, but to be honest didn't have that much to offer. It gave me that needed fix though.
Mr Secca was being a royal pain in the arse there this particular day. The weather was wonderful and so annoyingly he kept walking around the site, and given there are no windows or curtains I nearly got spotted several times.
In 1900 a local resident, Mr Henry Chester died, leaving Â£75,000 to endow a general hospital for the area. If the money had not been used for this purpose within 20 years of his death, it would be given to Guy's Hospital.
The Putney Municipal Alliance and the local doctors were in favour of a hospital and a freehold site was purchased and donated to the Hospital Trustees by Sir William Lancaster on the understanding that it would not be used for any other purpose than a hospital for the people of Putney. The site on Lower Common, comprising approximately 0.8 hectares of land, had previously been occupied by two houses, The Elms and West Lodge.
In 1905 a Building Committee was elected to raise the Â£20,000 needed to erect and equip the first block of the Hospital, which would contain 20 beds. However, the following year, the Richmond, Chelsea and Wandsworth Division of the British Medical Association objected to the building of a large hospital in Putney. It was argued that a small cottage hospital would be quite adequate for the needs of Putney, that the Hospital Management Committee should have medical representatives and that the hospital should not treat out-patients. Until this had been agreed, no doctor should have anything to do with the project. This resulted in protracted and heated negotiations which ended when it was agreed that a quarter of the board of management would be doctors. It was judged that an Out-Patients Department was necessary if the hospital was to be considered a general hospital, as specified in the bequest.
The Putney Hospital finally opened in 1912 and received its first in-patients and out-patients.
In 1926 work began to enlarge the building. Two wings were built to the north and south of the original building - the male and female wards - and a new operating theatre was installed. In 1934 a Nurses' Home was built, opened by Princess Arthur of Connaught, the wife of the president of the Hospital and a trained registered nurse. The Home was extended a few years later and a small mortuary chapel built in the grounds.
WW2 prevented further expansion or improvements. The Ministry of Health instructed that 50 of the 101 beds should be kept permanently empty, in case of increasing air-raid casualties. The Nurses' Home was struck by a flying bomb in 1944 where 70 nurses and domestic staff were sleeping, fortunately on the first and ground floors. There were no injuries, but the whole of the second floor of one of the new wings and part of the second floor of the original building had to be demolished and a temporary roof erected. Mr and Mrs Franklin offered the Hospital the loan of their house at 5, Lower Common, free of charge, as temporary accommodation for the night staff. After a long and difficult negotiation the Ministry of Works granted permission for a hut to be erected to replace the 23 lost staff bedrooms. The hut contained 16 cubicles.
In 1948 the Hospital joined the NHS. By 1953 it had 106 beds, including 4 private patient rooms, which were constantly in use, and 7 amenity beds, which were less in demand. The Hospital had become cramped and overcrowded. In 1954 a plan was proposed to extend the premises to create a new Out-Patients Department to the west of the existing buildings. Additional ward space would be provided above the Out-Patients Department and, in the second phase of the plan, an L-shaped extension would join the main block with the Nurses' Home, giving five floors for wards, operating theatres and staff accommodation. The Hospital would then have 178 beds. Between 1959 and 1961 the existing buildings were upgraded and extended in the first phase of the plan. A new Casualty Department opened in 1960 and a new Out-Patients Department in 1961. Two new wards were added - Mackenzie Morris Ward opened in 1961 and Sydney Turner Ward in 1962.
The second phase of the development was deferred, and later abandoned. By 1965 the Hospital had 112 beds but "with many departments working under difficulties caused by cramped and unsuitable accommodation".
A plan in 1971 by the Battersea and Putney Homspital Management Committee envisaged the closure of the Putney and Battersea General Hospitals, both of which then belonged to the Westminster Group, and redevelopment of St John's Hospital, Battersea.
In another NHS reorganisation in 1974 the Putney Hospital was transferred to the Roehampton District Health Authority.
It ceased to be an acute hospital in 1980. It closed temporarily and re-opened in 1982 for rehabilitation and convalescent patients. By 1986 it had become a geriatric hospital with some GP beds.
By 1998 it was planned to close the Hospital and transfer patients and services to Queen Mary's Hospital, Roehampton. It finally closed in 1999
Here are a few of the mentioned Springfield externally. Anyone ventured in there recently? Cos I'm gagging for this one.