|Administrative / biographical background:
Following the 18th century development of general voluntary hospitals in London, a variety of specialist hospitals were established during the 19th century to encourage better research into, and treatment of, more specific types of illness. An appeal for public support dated 12 March 1860 outlined the variety of specialist hospitals there were in London at that time, but suggesting nevertheless that there were some illnesses for which there was still little effective help and that, "'Some noblemen and gentlemen now propose to supply the existing want by founding an Hospital for the treatment of Patients labouring under Stone and other diseases of the urinary organs'". There had been an increase in the numbers of people dying from such diseases, and it was hoped to develop new ways of treating them. A meeting had been held on 5 March 1860, attended by Mr Armstrong Todd, Mr T.P. Oldershaw and Rev. A.B. Whatton, at Mr Armstrong Todd's home at 16 Burlington Street, at which the idea had been discussed in some detail.
The Hospital for Stone accordingly opened later that year in a house at 42 Great Marylebone Street, predominantly for outpatients, due to the lack of space for inpatient beds. The intention was to provide free treatment for the poorest, but to charge a small fee to those who could afford it. In 1863 the hospital moved to accommodation in 54 Berners Street providing 15 new inpatient beds, changing its name meanwhile to St. Peter's Hospital for Stone.
Nevertheless, this site was also inadequate and the Hospital moved again in 1882, this time to a new building in Henrietta Street, paid for by a donation in 1873 of £10,000 from a donor who remains anonymous to this day. The new building was opened formally by Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany on 29 June 1882, and originally housed shops on the ground floor. As the hospital expanded over the following years, however, it gradually took over the whole building, and then a further site on the other side of the road at 10 Henrietta Street.
From this time on, the work of the Hospital remained largely in the treatment of outpatients, who were usually asked to pay a shilling, with clinics held on weekday afternoons and three evenings a week including Saturdays. There was regular surgical work, although the average number of inpatients at any one time in the late 1800s was small. The most common illnesses treated were stone in the bladder and urethral stricture. There was also an emphasis on teaching, with people, often surgeons at nearby general hospitals, allowed to attend the Outpatient Department and accompany the surgeons on their rounds to watch them at work.
There was a committee which governed the Hospital from its foundation in 1860 onwards, but there was no permanent chairman of the Hospital until 1905, when Edwin Fox, who had been a member of the Committee of Management since 1881, was appointed. When he died in 1933 the ward for paying patients was renamed after him.
An X-Ray Department was opened at the Hospital in 1925: such work had previously been carried out at the Charing Cross Hospital on behalf of St. Peter's. On the outbreak of World War Two the Hospital was closed. Inpatients were taken to Colindale Hospital, although the outpatient department reopened shortly afterwards. The Hospital reopened in 1947 and 1948, and then with the establishment of the National Health Service it was amalgamated with the nearby St. Paul's Hospital under a single Board of Governors as one of the twelve postgraduate teaching hospitals in London.
"St. Peter's Hospital for Stone 1860-1960", ed. Clifford Morson, OBE FRCS, E & S Livingstone Ltd., 1960.
"St. Peter's Hospitals: A Century of Urology in Covent Garden 1882-1982", David Innes Williams, Special Trustees of St. Peter's Hospitals, 1982.