|Immediate source of acquisition:
The records listed below were transferred from Stratford Local Studies Library by Mr. Roger McMaster, Director of Leisure Services, London Borough of Newham, on 2nd July 1997. The records had been deposited with LB Newham Leisure Services by Newham Health Authority subsequent to the closure of the Hospital in 1985.
|Administrative / biographical background:
This Hospital was established in 1854 as an Industrial School by the Guardians of the Poor of the Whitechapel Union. In 1869, management of the Institution was transferred to the Board of Management of the Forest Gate Schools District (comprising Hackney, Poplar and Whitechapel Unions. A disastrous fire in 1890 caused the deaths of 20 of the 84 resident boys. Poplar Union took over management of the Institution in 1897 and it continued as an industrial training school until 1906, when it closed. In 1908 it reopened as a branch workhouse for the Poplar Union, but it closed again in 1911(seen Popolar Board of Guardians records at London Metropolitan Archives (LMA ref: PO/BG).
The buildings were purchased in 1912 by the West Ham Board of Guardians, who subsequently made alterations to the premises. It reopened in 1913 as the Forest Gate Sick Home. Accommodation was provided for the chronic sick, together with 50 mentally handicapped adults and 25 mentally handicapped children, including epileptics. From the time of its reopening in 1913, some maternity patients were admitted and their number grew steadily. Under the Local Government Act, 1929, the Sick Home was transferred in 1930 to the County Borough of West Ham Public Assistance Committee. By 1930, the Hospital had 550 beds for chronic sick and mentally handicapped patients, including a Maternity Unit which was opened with 64 lying-in beds. In 1931 temporary buildings were erected to provide an additional 200 beds for chronic sick patients transferred from the Central Homes, bringing the bed complement up to 723 (see: West Ham Medical Officer of Health reports, RLH Archives ref. WH/A for statistical details).
During the Second World War, when patients were evacuated to the South Ockendon Colony, Essex, much of the accommodation for non-maternity patients at the Hospital was destroyed by bombing; including 2 direct hits which necessitated the demolition of 5 wards. In view of this and the unsuitability of some of the accommodation, the bed compliment of the Hospital was reduced to 201. In 1944 management of the Hospital was transferred to the Public Health Committee of West Ham County Borough. By 1945, accommodation for 128 residents patients had reopened and the building of a new Maternity Unit with 102 beds was commenced in 1947.
The Hospital became part of the National Health Service in 1948, transferring to the control of the Regional Hospitals Board and expanding its Maternity Unit which took over a number of existing wards. In 1974, the Hospital, which by now had 116 beds and was called Newham Maternity Hospital, became part of Newham Health District under the City and East London Area Health Authority (Teaching). With the opening of Phase 2 of Newham General Hospital, which included Maternity beds and a Special Care Baby Unit in 1985, Newham Maternity Hospital was closed by Newham Health Authority.