St Stephen's Hospital
Fulham Road,  Chelsea, SW10 9TH
Medical dates:

Medical character:
1876 - 1989

In 1876 the St George's Union purchased a piece of land from a neighbouring priory, adjacent to its workhouse in Fulham Road.  This enabled the workhouse to be extended and a separate infirmary to be built alongside.  The additional buildings included new administration offices, receiving wards, a dining hall and extra accommodation for inmates.  A Chapel which could seat 600 was also included.

The Infirmary opened in 1878, having cost £85,000.  It consisted of seven four-storey pavilion ward blocks linked by a single-storey corridor.  Each block had a 28-bed ward on each floor, making a complement of 800 beds - the largest infirmary in London at that time.

It 1915 it became known as the Fulham Road Infirmary.  

In 1924 it was renamed the City of Westminster Hospital.

In 1931 the LCC took it over as a municipal hospital and renamed it St Stephen's Hospital.  By this time it contained 796 beds.  A Nurses' Home was built by LCC, which contained only 2 baths, 2 WCs and 2 washbasins for 16 nurses.

In 1948 the Hospital joined the NHS under the control of the Chelsea and Kensington Hospital Management Committee, part of the South West Metropolitan Regional Hospital Board.

In 1951 the Hospital had 450 beds.

New operating theatres were built in 1952, replacing one of the two bomb-damaged Victorian ward blocks.  The operating suite, which had cost £39,000,  was opened in October 1952 by the Minister of Health.  The small Out-Patients Department and the Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy Departments were extended.  A Medical Records Office was organised.

By 1953 the nursing staff numbered 261 (presumably many were part-time).  There were 501 beds (of which 445 were in use, with a bed occupancy of 86%).  However, the sanitary annexes in the wards were primitive, with two WCs, 1 bath and an open sink with a jet for washing bedpans.  The beds in the Physical Medicine Ward were set close together; the ward was crude with little privacy.  The Hospital also had Rheumatic Wards, with beds for 18 females and 20 males.  There was also a Children's Ward.  The Pathology Laboratory was located in part of the workhouse buildings, but the X-ray Department was modern and adequate.

Further redevelopment of the workhouse buildings took place and a new three-storey Out-Patients Department opened in 1965.  Later, in 1971, a new ward block was added.

Following a major reorganisation of the NHS in 1974 the Hospital came under the administration of the South (Teaching) District Health Authority, part of the South West Thames Regional Health Authority.

In 1982, after another major reorganisation of the NHS, the Hospital joined the Riverside District Health Authority.

The Hospital closed in 1989 and was demolished.

Present status (February 2008)

The new Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, with 580 beds, was built on the site.  It opened in 1993.

The only part of the original Hospital to survive is the adjoining Kobler Centre, later renamed St Stephen's Centre, for the treatment of HIV/AIDS, which was opened by Diana, Princess of Wales in 1988, a year before the Hospital closed.  An IAVI laboratory for the development of an AIDS vaccine opened here in 2001.
Chelsea & Westminster Hospital
The Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, built on the site of St Stephen's Hospital

main entrance

The main entrance in Fulham Road

St Stephen's Centre
St Stephen's Centre is the largest HIV unit in Europe

Chelsea and Westminster Hospital
The eastern elevation

St Stephen's Centre entrance
The entrance to St Stephen's Centre


Return to alphabetical list
Return to home page