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Potters Bar and District Hospital

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Alternative name(s):
  • Potters Bar Cottage Hospital (Formerly known as)
Date: 1906-1947
History: Potters Bar Cottage Hospital and Dispensary was established as a voluntary subsciption hospital in Richmond Road, Potters Bar in 1884, largely through the generosity of Henry Parker, JP, who agreed to fund the building (at the cost of £2000) and allowed it to be used rent-free, if funds were made available for its maintenance. It was a 2 storey building, provided accommodation for 10 beds and 2 cots in three wards, with a surgery and accomodation for nurses and staff. Patients were treated by local GPs as well as consulting staff from London hospitals.

As the population of Potters Bar grew, it had become necessary for a new hospital to be built in the 1930s. In 1937 land was given by a local baker, Mr Tilbury, at Mutton Lane, Potters Bar, and building for a new hospital started in October 1938 at a cost of £26429. In August 1939 the Potters Bar and District Hospital opened. It was an H-shaped single storey building with 42 beds for patients. During World War II it served as an Emergency Medical Service Hospital with 49 beds for local casulaties and patients transferred from London Hospital.

Following the creation of the National Health Service in 1948 it was managed by the Barnet Group No. 5 Hospital Management Committee in the North West Metropolitan Regional Hospital Board. At that time it was an acute hospital, which had 49 beds. In 1974 it passed to Barnet District Health Authority in the North West Thames Regional Health Authority. In 1992 it became part of Barnet Community Healthcare NHS Trust, when it was a hospital providing 51 beds for geriatric patients. The premises closed in 1995, when the Potters Bar Community Hospital opened in Barnet Road.
  • Potters Bar, Hertfordshire
Sources of authority: National Health Service Act 1946
Functions, occupations and activities: Health and social care > Hospitals
History Links: webpage for Potters Bar Cottage Hospital webpage for Potters Bar 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/C231203
  Description Held by Reference Further information
1906-1947: annual reports
London Metropolitan Archives: City of London

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  Record creator Description of relationship Dates Category of relationship
Potters Bar and District Hospital was under tthe authority of the North West Metropolitan Regional Hospital Board
Potters Bar and District Hospital was under the authority of the North West Thames Regional Health Authority