South Western Hospital

Landor Road, Stockwell, SW8 9NU

Medical dates:

Medical character:

1871 - 1997

Infectious diseases

The South Western Hospital comprised two separate hospitals and was built by the Metropolitan Asylyms Board (M.A.B.) on a 7.5 acre site on Bedford Private Road between Landor and Pulross Roads, despite the usual local public furore over a smallpox and fever hospital being sited in a populated area.  

The first to open in 1871, during the virulent smallpox epidemic sweeping London at that time, was the Stockwell Smallpox  Hospital, with 100 beds.

The second hospital, the Stockwell Fever Hospital, with 250 beds, was intended for all other infectious diseases, for example typhus, typhoid and scarlet fever, but at first also admitted smallpox cases because of the the sheer volume of numbers.

In 1882, following a Royal Commission report which confirmed that people living in close proximity to a smallpox hospital were more likely to catch the disease, MAB decided to send smallpox patients to hospitals outside the city and, for this purpose, hospital ships were moored out at Long Reach, 17 miles below London Bridge.  Hospitals in isolated positions on the banks of the Thames were also planned.

In 1884 the two Stockwell hospitals were converted to form one hospital and this became the South Western Fever Hospital, caring for patients with infectious diseases.

In 1930 the London County Council took control of the administration from M.A.B., when it had 323 beds and a nursery unit.

During WW2 the large purpose-built isolation block was severely damaged by bombing.

When it joined the NHS in 1948 it became the South Western Hospital.

In 1973 the Geriatric Day Unit opened.

Most of the Hospital services closed in the early 1990s and nearly all the buildings were demolished in 1996.

Present status (March 2008)

Following demolition the site was redeveloped and is now used by the South Lambeth and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust.  Various mental health care services  are based in Landor Road and the complex has been renamed Lambeth Hospital (not to be confused with Lambeth Hospital in Brook Drive, which closed in 1976).

The Lambeth Hospital provides out-patient and in-patient care in Reay House, including the Lambeth Early Onset (LEO) Unit with 18 beds, and has rehabilitation facilities in McKenzie House, which has 13 beds. Bridge House contains two wards for specialist forensic in-patient care for adult males; Oak House has Luther King Ward with 18 beds for male patients, the Tony Hillis Unit with 13 beds, Eden Ward, a psychiatric intensive care ward, and the Lloyd Still Ward. Orchard House is a Medium Secure Unit for women.

Lambeth Hospital

The main entrance into Lambeth Hospital, with McKenzie House on the right and the Gateway Clinic for acupuncture and Chinese medicine on the left. Reay House is shown in the distance. The original gateposts of the South Western Hospital seem to have survived.

Lambeth Hospital

The frontage of McKenzie House along Landor Road, viewed from the east.

Lambeth Hospital

The entrance to the central section of McKenzie House.

Lambeth Hospital

The western gateway off Landor Road.

Lambeth Hospital Lambeth Hospital

No. 108a Landor Road contains 8 bedsits and 4 apartments as part of the Forensic Rehabilitation service - a 'Ward in the Community'.

Lambeth Hospital

Landor House is one of the surviving buildings of the South Western Hospital. It contains the Lambeth Community Forensic Team.

Lambeth Hospital

The view of the southern end of the campus from the rail footbridge.

Lambeth Hospital

Site map of the Hospital (north is shown at the bottom, south at the top).

Lambeth Hospital

The deserted ambulance station in Hubert Grove.

South Western Hospital

The South Western Hospital, photographed in the 1920s.

References (Accessed 9th October 2015)

Mortimer PP 2008 Ridding London of smallpox:  the aerial transmission debate and the evolution of a precautionary approach.  Epidemiology & Infection 136, 1297-1305.


http://landmark.lambeth.gov.uk (1)

http://landmark.lambeth.gov.uk (2)







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