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Barnet Isolation Hospital

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Alternative name(s):
  • Barnet Infectious Diseases Hospital (Formerly known as)
  • Barnet Rural & Urban Districts & East Barnet Valley Urban District Isolation Hospital (Formerly known as)
  • St Stephen's Hospital, Barnet (Later known as)
Date: 1936-1948
History: Under the Barnet Isolation Hospital Order, 1902, the Barnet Hospital Committee was created, consisting of four representatives of Barnet Urban District Council, six representatives of East Barnet Valley Urban District Council and two representatives of Barnet Rural District Council. The Order stated that building was to commence on 30 June 1906 and was to be completed by 30 June 1907. Barnet Isolation Hospital was built in Mays Lane between 1906 and 1907 to serve Barnet Urban District, East Barnet Valley Urban District and the Rural District of Barnet. It had sixteen beds: two wards with four beds and an observation block with eight beds. In 1917 the hospital changed its name to Barnet Rural District and Urban District and East Barnet Valley Urban District Isolation Hospital. In 1938 extensions were built, and by the start of World war II, the hospital had 60 beds.

On the formation of the National Health Service in 1948 it was closed as an isolation hospital , but the premises were taken over by Wellhouse Hospital, who used it as an annexe, re-naming it St Stephen's Hospital, which had beds for 88 patients in 1949. After 1974 it catered mainly for geriatric, long-stay patients, and its number of beds increased, reaching a peak of 124 in 1980. As government policy moved towards the provision of care in residential homes rather than in geriatric hospitals during the 1980s, the decision was taken to close the hospital in 1989, at which time it had 117 beds. Its site is now occupied by a housing estate.
  • Barnet, 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 St Stephen's Hospital, Barnet
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; A2A catalogue; Lost Hospitals of London website; Burdetts and Hospital Yearbooks 1901-1992
Name authority reference: GB/NNAF/C26038 (Former ISAAR ref: GB/NNAF/O91863 )
  Description Held by Reference Further information
1936-48: records incl minute books for various committees
Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies
NRA 11973 Hertfordshire

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Related record creators
  Record creator Description of relationship Dates Category of relationship
Barnet Isolation Hospital was subordinate to Barnet Joint Hospital Board
Barnet Isolation Hospital was administered by Barnet Hospital Committee, which was made up of representatives of Barnet Urban District Council, East Barnet Valley Urban District Council and Barnet Rural District Council.
Barnet Isolation Hospital was administered by Barnet Hospital Committee, which was made up of representatives of Barnet Urban District Council, East Barnet Valley Urban District Council and Barnet Rural District Council.