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Sisters Hospital for Infectious Diseases, St Albans

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Alternative name(s):
  • St Albans City Hospital (Sisters Wing) (Later known as)
Date: 1936-1948
History: The Sisters Hospital (also known as the Sisters Hospital for Infectious Diseases) was built by Sir J Blundell Maple Bart, MP, at a cost of £5000 for the benefit of those inhabitants of the city and its immediate environs who had infectious diseases. He had recognised the need for an isolation hospital when his two daughters, after whom the hospital was named, died of scarlet fever. He and his wife, Lady Maple, presented the hospital to the City of St Albans by whom it was administered. All patients were treated free of charge. A diphtheria block was added in 1911. In 1936, under the provisions of the Public Health Act 1936 the St Albans Joint Hospital Board was formed. This consisted of representatives of St Albans City Council, Harpenden Urban District Council, Welwyn Garden City Urban District Council and St Albans Rural District Council. The hospital was first built in Folly Mead in St Albans and in 1938 moved to Folly Avenue.

In 1948, on the creation of the National Health Service, the Sisters Hospital was absorbed into the St Albans City Hospital, which came under the control of the Mid-Herts Group Hospital Management Committee of the North West Metropolitan Regional Hospital Board. It was re-named St Albans City Hospital (Sisters Wing). It was, however, closed in 1950, as the advance of antibiotic medicines made isolation hospitals redundant.
  • St Albans, Hertfordshire
Sources of authority: Poor Law Amendment Act 1868; Public Health Act 1875; Isolation Hospitals Act 1893; Public Health Act 1936; National Health Service Act 1946
Functions, occupations and activities: Health and social care > Hospitals
History Links: webpage on Sisters Hospital
Historical context: Many towns had some form of isolation hospital from the eighteenth century, usually in the form of a pest house, where verminous or infectious people were treated. It was not, however, until the late nineteenth century that the formal treatment of infectious diseases, such as scarlet fever, typhoid and smallpox, was considered. The Poor Law Amendment Act of 1868 dealt briefly with the subject, since most patients with infectious diseases found their way into the workhouse infirmaries because voluntary hospitals could and did refuse to admit them. In 1875 the Public Health Act enabled any local authority to provide hospital accommodation for the treatment of patients with infectious diseases paid for by the rates. It also allowed for two or more authorities to combine to maintain a hospital. In 1893 the first Act relating solely to isolation hospitals was enacted, stating that, on the application of twenty-five or more rate payers, the local authority was to provide an isolation hospital out of the rates, to be run by an Isolation Hospital Committee. Those suffering from TB found themselves in specially appointed sanatoriums and those suffering from VD in the workhouse infirmary. Isolation hospitals were also permitted to open schools or nursing to train nurses specifically in the treatment of infectious diseases. A further Act was enacted in 1901 reinforcing the powers of local authorities to purchase land compulsorily for use as an isolation hospital. In 1936 a further Public Health Act abolished all Isolation Hospital Committees and replaced them with Joint Hospital Boards. Medical advances meant that in the years after the Second World War the need to provide such hospitals became redundant, and many of them were closed in the first years of the National Health Service.
References: Hosprec database; Hospital Yearbooks 1901-1952; A2A online catalogue; Lost Hospitals of London website
Name authority reference: GB/NNAF/C22416 (Former ISAAR ref: GB/NNAF/O91879 )
  Description Held by Reference Further information
1936-48: records incl minute and attendence books
Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies
NRA 11973 Hertfordshire

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Related record creators
  Record creator Description of relationship Dates Category of relationship
Sisters Hospital was under the authority of the Mid Herts Group Hospital Management Committee
Sisters Hospital was under the authority of the North West Metropolitan Regional Hospital Board
Sisters Hospital was under the authority of St Albans City Council
The Sisters Hospital was taken over by St Albans City Hospital