Catalogue description MAGDALEN HOSPITAL TRUST

This record is held by Lambeth Archives

Details of IV/73
Reference: IV/73

In March 1758, Robert Dingley proposed the establishment of a home for penitent prosititues (or girls whose seduction had left them with no alternative to a life of prostitution). The idea met with approval, a committee was formed and by May the old London Hospital premises in Prescott Street, Whitechapel, had been leased for 7 years. Staff, including a chaplin, were appointed, and the first women were admitted in August. Robert Dingley become Treasurer, Jonas Hanway chairman, and the Marquis of Hertford the first president.


The hospital had no shortage of inmates, and it was found necessary to move to new premises in St George's Fields, Southwark. The foundation stone was laid in June 1769. The Chapel at the new premises became a fashionable place of worship, particularly in the chaplaincy of Dr Dodd, who was executed for forgery in 1777. However, the district, besides being unhealthy, became built up with factories and tenements, and in 1866 the Magdalen moved to Streatham. The buildings were enlarged in 1889, but in 1907 one ward had to be closed for lack of funds. The financial position did not really improve until 1912, and the following year a general rebuilding took place, including the provision of a central laundry (much of the hospital's money came from laundry work).


From 1st September 1934, the hospital was recognised as an approved school, with only 15 of the 75 places being reserved for girls sent by voluntary societies. In 1938, the words 'for the reception of penitant prostitutes' were dropped from the title.


During the war the school was evacuated to Chaworth St James, Ottershaw, Surrey, and the Streatham premises used first as a refugee centre, then as LCC rest centre.


In 1944, the Magdalen become the Classifying School for the South of England where girls were sent by Junvenile Courts for assessment before their future was decided. In 1966 the school was closed and the site was purchased by Lambeth Council and used for housing.


See H F B Compston: The Magdalen Hospital. SPCK 1917


Rev S B P Pearce : An Ideal in the Working 1958

Date: 1758 - 1971
Held by: Lambeth Archives, not available at The National Archives
Language: English

Magdalen Hospital Classifying School for Girls, Streatham, Surrey

Publication note:

PEARCE, S.B.D. An idea in the working - the story of the Magdalen Hospital, 1758-1958.

Link to NRA Record:

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