|LOST HOSPITALS OF LONDON|
Oldchurch Road, Romford, Essex RM7 0BE
|1929 - 2006
Oldchurch Hospital originated from the Romford Union workhouse, which had been built during 1838 and 1839 to the southwest of Romford.
The 5-acre site on Oldchurch Road was purchased by the Union from a Mr Philpot at £160 an acre. The 2-storey workhouse building was cruciform, a popular design with the dormitory blocks laid out in a cross-shape. It could house 450 inmates.
The administration block was at the south of the site, while the main accommodation blocks radiated from a central hub. Observation windows in the hub enabled the workhouse master to observe the inmates in each of the four exercise yards. The dormitories and Day Rooms for the female inmates were on the eastern side in the northeast and southeast arms of the cross, while the males occupied the western side in the northwest and southwest arms. The kitchens and dining rooms were located at the north of the building.
In 1893 the workhouse was renamed the Romford Poor Law Institution. An infirmary block was added at the north of the site.
During WW1 the infirmary of the Institution became an auxiliary hospital for the Colchester Military Hospital, with 82 beds for wounded and sick servicemen.
In 1924 further additions were built at the north and east of the site.
In 1929, following the abolition of the Poor Law Guardians, the workhouse and its infirmary came under the administration of Essex County Council, who converted the buildings into the Oldchurch County Hospital.
The Hospital, which incorporated the old workhouse buildings, was much expanded during the 1930s to have over 800 beds.
During WW2 it joined the Emergency Medical Service (EMS) with 868 beds, of which 96 were EMS beds for air-raid casualties.
In 1948 the Hospital joined the NHS under the control of the Romford Group Hospital Management Committee, part of the North East Metropolitan Regional Hospital Board.
It remained an acute hospital and, by 1962, it had 651 beds for acute and maternity patients.
In 1974, following a major reorganisation of the NHS, the Hospital came under the control of the Havering District Health Authority, part of the Barking and Havering Area Health Authority of the North East Thames Regional Health Authority. Its maternity services had closed and it had 629 beds for acute cases.
In 1980 it had 600 beds. In 1982, after another NHS reorganisation, it came under the control of the Barking, Havering and Brentwood District Health Authority. By 1986 it had 530 beds.
In 1993, following another NHS reform, the Hospital was under the control of the Havering Hospitals NHS Trust.
In 2000 it had 473 beds. Despite local opposition, the old cruciform workhouse building was demolished so that a temporary single-storey building could be erected in its place.
In 2003 the Hospital was administered by the Barking, Havering and Redbridge NHS Trust. By 2005 there were 565 beds.
The Hospital closed in 2006, with the last patient being seen on 15th December. Services were transferred to the nearby newly built Queen's Hospital and to the King George Hospital in Chadwell Heath.
Present status (February 2008)
The site has been sold and is being redeveloped by E.ON and Taylor Wimpey East London. The front parts of the Hospital have been demolished and keyworker housing - Reflections - is being erected in the northeast corner. The southeast corner is bare, awaiting house-building.
The western entrance and lodge off Oldchurch Road with signage stating the Hospital is closed.
Some of the buildings still await the demolition crews.
A few old buildings survive beside the new housing being built.
The site along Oldchurch Road (left) and the western end, seen from Dagenham Road (right).
The east end of the site has all been demolished
(above and below).
Keyworker housing being built along Waterloo Road.
Signage for the new apartment blocks.
Looking back down Waterloo Road, the new PFI-financed Queen's Hospital can be seen in the distance (left). The new Hospital is adjacent to the site of the former Oldchurch Hospital (right).
Update: May 2011
Building is still in progress.
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