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Bushey and District Hospital

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Alternative name(s):
  • Bushey Heath Cottage Hospital (Formerly known as)
Date: 1898-1947
History: Bushey Heath Cottage Hospital was founded in 1898, largely owing to the generosity of Miss Collins-Splatt, and erected in Windmill Lane (later Windmill Street), Bushey Heath, with 20 beds, divided into two wards, one for men and one for women and children. Its first Honorary Secretary was Sir William S Gilbert (of Gilbert and Sullivan fame). Entry was by recommendation of a doctor, although patients suffering accidents could be admitted at any time. In 1935 it became known as Bushey Heath Hospital. It was extended in 1936, with accommodation for 36 patients, and a new nurses' home was added the year after.

After the foundation of the National Health Service in 1948, it was administered by West Hertfordshire Hospital Management Committee, being part of the North West Metroplitan Regional Hospital Board. At that time it was a general hospital with 38 beds for patients, remaining at that number until 1958, when it was raised to 39, before settling on 37 in 1962. From 1974 it was part of South West Hertfordshire District Health Authority within the North West Thames Regional Hospital Authority. In the 1970s and 1980s it lost various departments such as occupational therapy and out-patients, as well as its operating, and it developed into a care centre for geriatric patients requiring long-term care. In 1990 the decision was made to clsoe the hospital, with 26 beds then available for geriatric care, as it was decided by the health authority that four community centres be developed in its place. It was finally closed and demolished in 1991.
  • Bushey, Hertfordshire
  • Bushey Heath, Hertfordshire
Functions, occupations and activities: Health and social care > Hospitals
History Links: webpage for Bushey and District Hospital
Historical context: The first voluntary hospitals came into being in England to provide care for the poor after the Reformation, taking over the role previously performed by the monastic orders. Voluntary hospitals were privately endowed, often by a local landowner, but subsequently maintained by subscriptions and donations. Anyone was open to subscribe, and then became known as a governor or subscriber which entitled them to certain privileges. A Board of Management was appointed from the governors to administer the daily running of the hospital, usually with the help of a House Committee and a Finance Committee. Many local organizations adopted the hospitals and held fetes, garden parties and other fund raising events to raise money for the maintenance of the hospital and especially for the purchase of equipment. Many of the hospitals had contributory schemes which entitled a member of the scheme to medical treatment. The voluntary hospitals, unlike the large sprawling workhouse infirmaries, were usually small, containing as few as six or seven beds in some cases, and served the "deserving" poor of the immediate area. Voluntary hospitals would not generally admit the destitute or "undeserving" poor. In the early days of the voluntary hospitals the medical staff were usually unpaid, but it was considered to be prestigious to be appointed to the medical staff, who often maintained themselves by private practice. The nursing staff were on the whole either "Nightingale" nurses or had been trained at other nursing establishments. Voluntary hospitals could chose which patients to admit (then referring all other cases to the workhouse), and if their beds were full they could refuse to admit patients altogether. They did not take the chronic infirm, infectious cases or long term sick patients. Most of the voluntary hositals started life in cottages or other buildings, which were either bought by the governors or left by the benefactor. As the hospitals became more financially stable and more prestigious they were able to finance larger, purpose built buildings, often in the pavilion style with high ceilings and lofty corridors. On July 5th 1948 control of the voluntary hospitals passed from the Board of Management and therefore the local community to the Minister of Health.
References: Hosprec database; Lost Hospitals of London website
Name authority reference: GB/NNAF/C230970
  Description Held by Reference Further information
1908-47: annual reports
London Metropolitan Archives: City of London
1898-1931: committee minute books
Bushey Museum and Art Gallery

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Related record creators
  Record creator Description of relationship Dates Category of relationship
Bushey and District Hospital was subordinate to North West Metropolitan Regional Hospital Board
Bushey and District Hospital was subordinate to North West Thames Regional Health Authority.