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St Paul's Hospital, Hemel Hempstead

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Alternative name(s):
  • Hemel Hempstead General Hospital (St Paul's Wing) (Later known as)
  • Hemel Hempstead Workhouse (Formerly known as)
  • Hemel Hempstead Infirmary (Formerly known as)
  • Hemel Hempstead Poor Law Institution (Formerly known as)
  • Hempstead House (Formerly known as)
Date: 1935-1974
History: St Paul's Hospital originally opened in 1836 as the workhouse for the Hemel Hempstead Union (consisting of the parishes of Bovingdon, Flaunden, Great Gaddesden, Hemel Hempstead and Kings Langley, together with Markyate from 1897. The workhouse had an infirmary with 224 beds to house patients who were aged, infirm or chronically ill. The workhouse (including its infirmary), later known as Hemel Hempstead Poor Law Institution was situated in Allendale Road in Hemel Hempstead. From April 1930 under the Local Government Act 1929, responsibility for the poor law institution, which became known as Hempstead House, passed from the Boards of Guardians to the County Council's Dacorum Guardians Committee, which was responsible for the area of the former Hemel Hempstead Union plus part of the former Berkhamsted Union. In May 1936 the Berkhamsted workhouse closed and Hempstead House became responsible for the poor, including the sick poor, of the entire Dacorum Guardians Committee area.

With the creation of the National Health Service in 1948, the two hospitals of St Paul's and West Hertfordshire merged to become Hemel Hempstead General Hospital. At that time St Paul's had 227 beds available for patients. The two sites became known respectively as St Paul's Wing and West Herts Wing of Hemel Hempstead General Hospital. In 1952 St Paul's Wing became a medical unit dealing with all maternity cases requiring medical treatment. It was managed by the West Hertfordshire Hospital Management Committee under the North West Metroplitan Regional Hospital Board. In 1974 it passed to the North West Hertfordshire District Health Authority and North West Thames Regional Health Authority. During the the 1970s and 1980s it held over 200 beds for patients. In 1989 St Paul's Wing was closed, and services were transferred to the West Herts Wing, which became known from then on as Hemel Hempstead General Hospital.
  • Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire
Sources of authority: Poor Law Amendment Act 1834; Local Government Act 1929; National Service Health Act 1946
Functions, occupations and activities: Health and social care > Hospitals
History Links: timeline pdf document
Historical context: Union workhouses were set up following the passing of the Poor Law Amendment Act in 1834. There was no initial requirement for the boards of guardians to build infirmaries for the provision of health care, although many workhouses did have sick wards, which were poorly equipped and usually had no nursing staff, in which case care was provided by fit inmates. By 1842 it was generally recognised by most that some form of medical provision was necessary. Hospital workhouses were not permitted to turn away any patient, however ill, unlike voluntary hospitals which refused to deal with the long term chronically sick or those with infectious diseases. In 1929 the poor law unions were abolished, and control of the workhouses or poor law institutions and their infirmaries passed to the appropriate County Council, when they were largely re-named public assistance institutions. On 5 July 1948 the public assistance institutions and their hospitals were taken over by the newly formed National Health Service.
References: Hosprec database; Hospital Yearbooks 1949-1989; West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS website
Name authority reference: GB/NNAF/C46029 (Former ISAAR ref: GB/NNAF/O91903 )
  Description Held by Reference Further information
1935-48: patient records incl military cases
Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies
NRA 11973 Hertfordshire

See HOSPREC Hospital Records Database
1964-1974: house committee minutes
Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies

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Related record creators
  Record creator Description of relationship Dates Category of relationship
The two hospitals merged in 1948.
St Paul's Hospital came under the control of Hertfordshire County Council
St Paul's Hospital was managed by West Herts Group Hospital Management Committee