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Aldbury Isolation Hospital

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Alternative name(s):
  • Berkhampsted Infectious Diseases Hospital (Formerly known as)
  • Aldbury Joint Isolation Hospital (Formerly known as)
  • Aldbury Infectious Diseases Hospital (Formerly known as)
Date: 1877-1949
History: Aldbury Isolation Hospital was built in in an isolated location in Newground Road, Aldbury by the Berkhampsted Rural Sanitary District for the use of the inmates of the Berkhampsted Union. It was designed by John Ladds to provided 8 beds in two pavilion wards, with a block for administration and other services. It was founded in 1871, but it only seems to have opened for patients in 1879, with only one ward having actually been built by then, according to a report on hospitals for infectious diseases by the Medical Officer of Health for the Local Government Board in 1882.

On 13 June 1898 the Aldbury Hospital Joint Committee took responsibility for the hospital. It held its first meeting on 13 June 1898, and consisted of three members of Berkhampsted Rural District Council, three members of Great Berkhampsted Urban District council and three members of Tring Urban District Council. In 1902 Tring Isolation Hospital and Aldbury combined services, with Tring taking all the smallpox cases and Aldbury all the scarlet fever cases. It was used during the First World War as a military hospital.

In the run-up to the National Health Service its future became uncertain, and the hospital (which held 24 beds at that time) was closed in September 1948, having briefly been managed by West Hertfordshire Hospital Management Committee in the North West Metropolitan Regional Hospital Board.
  • Aldbury, 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
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; Burdetts and Hospital Yearbooks 1901-1950
Name authority reference: GB/NNAF/C5953 (Former ISAAR ref: GB/NNAF/O91742 )
  Description Held by Reference Further information
1898-1949: committee minutes books, general ledgers, salary books and other financial records
Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies
NRA 11973 Hertfordshire

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1900-1949: accounts, plans and detailed drawings
Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies
1877-1902: draft conveyance, memoranda and correspondence
Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies

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Related record creators
  Record creator Description of relationship Dates Category of relationship
Aldbury Infectious Diseases Hospital was built for the inhabitants of Berkhamsted Poor Law Union
Aldbury Isolation Hospital was subordinate to Berkhamsted Sanitary Authorities until 1898, when it was administered by Aldbury Hospital Joint Committee (made up by members of Berkhamsted RDC, Berkhamsted UDC and Tring UDC) from 1898.
Aldbury Isolation Hospital was founded by Berkhamsted Rural Sanitary Authority and Berkhamsted Poor Law Union.
Aldbury Isolation Hospital was administered by Aldbury Hospital Joint Committee (made up by members of Berkhamsted RDC, Berkhamsted UDC and Tring UDC) from 1898.
The two hospitals combined services
Aldbury Joint Isolation Hospital was administered by Aldbury Hospital Joint Committee (made up by members of Berkhamsted RDC, Berkhamsted UDC and Tring UDC) from 1898.