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Clare Hall Hospital, South Mimms

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Alternative name(s):
  • Clare Hall Sanatorium (Later known as)
  • Clare Hall County Hospital (Later known as)
  • Clare Hall Emergency Hospital (Later known as)
  • Middlesex County Hospital for Smallpox (Formerly known as)
Date: 1808-1907
History: In 1740 Dr Robert Poole set up a charity for the relief of poor suffering from smallpox. In 1746 the Middlesex County Hospital for Smallpox was set up by the charity at Windmill Street near the Tottenham Court Road. In 1793 it moved to St Pancras, and, due to the building of the Great Northern Railway, it moved again 1851 to Highgate Hill. In 1896 the hospital was moved out of London to Clare Hall Manor, in South Mimms, Barnet. This property had been built as a private residence in 1745, and had been used as a nunnery from 1886 to 1896. The hospital was re-named Clare Hall Hospital. An additional block was built at the junction of Blanche Lane and Cross Oaks Lanes housing 33 beds for patients, with two extra wards also being built before 1900 housing 28 beds. In 1901 temporary wards were built for another 100 patients. In January 1907 the hospital was purchased from the charity by Middlesex Joint Board for use as a smallpox hospital for the county of Middlesex. With the decline of smallpox, it was authorised in 1911 to be able to treat patients with tuberculosis. In 1929 the Joint Board was dissolved, and the hospital came under the control of Middlesex County Council. It was re-named Clare Hall Sanatorium and had 184 beds. It was managed by the council's Sanatoria House Committee, later known as Harefield and Clare Hall Hospitals Sub-Committee.

During World War II it became part of the Emergency Medical Services and extra accommodation was built on Blanche Lane. In 1940 it was called Clare Hall Emergency Hospital, a general base hospital. All of its 540 beds, however, in December 1942 were being used for tuberculosis patients. It was re-named Clare Hall County Hospital in 1944.

With the foundation of the National Health Service in 1948 it came under the control of the Barnet Group Hospital Committee, part of North West Metropolitan Regional Hospital Board. It was still used for the treatment of tuberculosis, but with the decline of the infection, non-TB patients began to be admitted in 1949. During the 1950s there were over 400 beds available. In the 1960s the number of cases of tuberculosis declined, but it was increasingly used for the treatment of other chest diseases and respiratory conditions. In spite of building improvements and developments, the hospital came under increasing threat of closure, as some of its accommodation and many of its facilities were out-dated, and in 1974 the decision was made to close the hospital. In 1980 the premises were acquired by the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (now part of Cancer Research UK) and adapted to provide laboratories, which opened in 1986, as well as support services and accommodation.
  • South Mimms, Middlesex
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: London Research Institute website page on Clare Hall site. Lost Hospitals of London webpage on Clare Hall
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; Burdetts and Hospital Yearbooks 1901-1999; FAH Simmonds, A History of Clare Hall Hospital, 1962
Name authority reference: GB/NNAF/C198833
  Description Held by Reference Further information
1808-1907: patient registers
London Metropolitan Archives: City of London

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Related record creators
  Record creator Description of relationship Dates Category of relationship
Clare Hall Hospital was taken over by the Imperial Cancer Research Fund to provide administrative and research facilities
Clare Hall Hospital came under the control of Middlesex County Council
Clare Hall Hospital came under the control of the Middlesex Districts Joint Smallpox Hospital Board
Clare Hall Hospital was under the authority of the North West Metropolitan Regional Hospital Board