2015

 

THIS YEAR’S 75th ANNIVERSARY..more interesting facts from our archive

Lithograph of Guildford Union workhouse 1838 by Henry Prosser
Lithograph of Guildford Union workhouse 1838 by Henry Prosser

January 2015 marks the 75th ANNIVERSARY of Guildford Union Workhouse changeover to a local authority hospital.  On 1st January 1930 the Guildford Institution was renamed Warren Road Hospital and on 1 April that year its management passed from the Ministry of Health to the Public Assistance Committee of Surrey County Council. So, 94 years after being founded the Institution changed emphasis from managing the poor/destitute to providing medical care for both the local community and the poor.

The Local Government Act 1929 did away with the old Institution but was this really the end of the Workhouse?

Under the Act Surrey County Council took over the employment of 950 Poor Law Officers, 35 Road Officers and 828 workmen across the county. Its review of the Guildford Institution states that there were175 beds for hospital in-patients and, interestingly, accommodation for 253 inmates who were still in need of support. Vagrants or tramps were still in need of shelter, with an average of 33 sleeping in the Spike each night. The Institution, including the Master and Matron, employed 79 staff.

After 1930, it is fair to say that change was only piecemeal. Some dormitories were still converted into wards, despite a 1933 report that the Institution was “incapable of adaptation” to a hospital. The hospital staff consisted of one resident and one assistant Medical Officer, a Superintendent Nurse, 6 Sisters and 24 Probationary Nurses.

Miss Brigit Coyle, (who joined the staff in 1930) recalled: “In 1933 I became Night Sister. Being the only trained person on duty, I was responsible for the supervision of the general wards, the deliveries in a 10 bedded maternity ward and the night theatre work……on coming off duty in the morning I would often give a lecture to the nurses as in those days we had no sister tutor. My off duty was four nights a month, all taken together.  I can recall a period of ten weeks when I had to work without any off duty.”

Research – latest news

Phil Davie has been finding out more about the naming of St Luke’s Hospital. (Click on the heading above to see the full article.)

Len Norman’s talk – a real pot boiler!!

SPRING TALK BY LEN NORMAN.

On Friday 20 March, Len gave a packed garden room a fascinating talk covering his two and half decades at St Luke’s, including adventures on site as an electrician dealing with maintenance emergencies and adventures with the Austin Seven club that took us across Europe (avoiding all the motorways, of course!)

It was also a chance for volunteers and supporters to catch up for the first time in 2015. Len and Stella Goodwin (below) both appear in the photographs behind them  – Len taking part in one of the fun-runs he organised to raise funds for the hospital and Stella in a photograph taken to mark the last patient to leave St Luke’s in 1996.

Mary Barnet (with friends below) helped Liz Lloyd, Valerie Wells and Jane Thomson with the catering and the all important washing up. John and Gina Redpath were on hand as always to make the evening run smoothly.

Thanks to everyone and especially to the star of the evening, Len!!!

Stella Goodwin and Len Norman Len's talk 20.03.15Mary Barnet and Mr Shorto

 

 

January 1 1930 and now we are Warren Road Hospital

THIS MONTH’S ANNIVERSARY..more interesting facts from our archive

Lithograph of Guildford Union workhouse 1838 by Henry Prosser
Lithograph of Guildford Union workhouse 1838 by Henry Prosser

January 2015 marks the 75th ANNIVERSARY of Guildford Union Workhouse changeover to a local authority hospital.  On 1st January 1930 the Guildford Institution was renamed Warren Road Hospital and on 1 April that year its management passed from the Ministry of Health to the Public Assistance Committee of Surrey County Council. So, 94 years after being founded the Institution changed emphasis from managing the poor/destitute to providing medical care for both the local community and the poor.

The Local Government Act 1929 did away with the old Institution but was this really the end of the Workhouse?

Under the Act Surrey County Council took over the employment of 950 Poor Law Officers, 35 Road Officers and 828 workmen across the county. Its review of the Guildford Institution states that there were175 beds for hospital in-patients and, interestingly, accommodation for 253 inmates who were still in need of support. Vagrants or tramps were still in need of shelter, with an average of 33 sleeping in the Spike each night. The Institution, including the Master and Matron, employed 79 staff.

After 1930, it is fair to say that change was only piecemeal. Some dormitories were still converted into wards, despite a 1933 report that the Institution was “incapable of adaptation” to a hospital. The hospital staff consisted of one resident and one assistant Medical Officer, a Superintendent Nurse, 6 Sisters and 24 Probationary Nurses.

Miss Brigit Coyle, (who joined the staff in 1930) recalled: “In 1933 I became Night Sister. Being the only trained person on duty, I was responsible for the supervision of the general wards, the deliveries in a 10 bedded maternity ward and the night theatre work……on coming off duty in the morning I would often give a lecture to the nurses as in those days we had no sister tutor. My off duty was four nights a month, all taken together.  I can recall a period of ten weeks when I had to work without any off duty.”

Research – latest news

Phil Davie has been finding out more about the naming of St Luke’s Hospital. (Click on the heading above to see the full article.)

How St Luke’s got its name

How St Luke’s got its Name

St Luke's Badge

“T’was Christmas day in the Workhouse and the cold bare walls are bright, with garlands of green and holly, and the place is a pleasant sight …” wrote George R Simms in his famous monologue.

He must have known that in Christmas 1944 the Mayor would pay his annual short visit to the site. His visit was “much appreciated by staff, patients and inmates”, or so the Surrey Advertiser reported on 29th December 1944 in an article entitled “Warren Road Institution”. Like the monologue it also went on with expressions to the effect that the wards of the hospital were tastefully decorated. However Rev WAE Austen, Chairman, Surrey County Council Public Health Committee, took exception to this report and responded in a “Letter to the Editor” publish on 13th January 1945.

In this he pointed out that the “… whole emphasis [of the article was] on the word ‘Institution’ [and the]… curious idea that because Warren Road was once a workhouse it had no right to be regarded as a hospital”. Also “By a further curious mental process it is assumed …. that for some mysterious reason the hospital must be of the sort to which one would only go if he or she could help it”. He then went on to list the many improvements made to the Hospital over the last six years since it became a Public Health Hospital (i.e. managed by his Public Health Committee) and that further expansion of the Hospital had been postponed by wartime conditions. He concluded “Warren Road [Hospital] is, in fact, an acute general hospital and last year admitted some 6000 patients, a very large majority were acute cases”.

The Surrey Advertiser responded by printing, in the same edition, a short article expressing the hope that “… the County Council will renew its efforts to find a more suitable name for the hospital. Until they succeed ‘Warren Road’ and the ‘Poor Law’ of unblessed memory will be inseparable … for Surry folk. Evidence of this comes to the notice of the ‘Surrey Advertiser’ repeatedly.”

This hope was discussed by the Guildford Hospital Sub-Committee at a meeting on 1 February 1945. The minutes record that “The Chairman of the Public Health Committee suggested that as the Hospital was in the Parish of St Luke’s, Guildford, the Hospital should be renamed ‘St Luke’s Hospital’, Guildford.” The minutes also record that “The Sub-Committee do authorise the renaming of Warren Road Hospital as ‘St Luke’s Hospital’, Guildford”.

Remarkably the change took place very quickly. So, from 1 April 1945, the hospital became St Luke’s Hospital Guildford.

While the original corrugated iron church was later demolished it is remembered in the name of the hospital that continues to play a large role in our community.

Phil Davie, January 2015

A short history of St Luke’s Hospital – ‘From Workhouse to Hospital’

Photo Sr of Aylward and Jean Bruce (K Convery)THE HISTORY OF St LUKE’S HOSPITAL

Background….
In 1838, a workhouse was built on the outskirts of Guildford, in accordance with the provisions of the 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act. Its purpose was to house 300 people, the destitute, ill and infirm from 21 parishes. 10 infirmary beds were allocated for the sick – which proved to be totally inadequate.

On 9th February 1856 the Poor Law Board Inspection of the Workhouse reported that the infirmary was overcrowded by 30%, the ventilation was “most imperfect “, and declared: “the infirmary is totally unfit and a disgrace to the Establishment.”

A new infirmary was built the following year but by 1891, after another damning Poor Law Board report, the Guildford Board of Guardians built the new 170-bed Guildford Infirmary, the forerunner of St. Luke’s Hospital, which opened in 1896.

During World War I, the infirmary and most of the remaining workhouse buildings were taken over by the military. The Guildford War Hospital treated 7,680 mainly British, Australian and Canadian soldiers between 1916 and 1919.

In 1929 The Local Government Act passed management of the infirmary to Surrey County Council (SCC.) Union Lane had been renamed Warren Road and Guildford Infirmary became known as Warren Road Hospital. By now there were 190 beds, including five maternity, mainly for unmarried mothers.

In 1938 there were proposals to build a large modern hospital on the site.As Warren Road prepared for another war, these plans were suspended.
WWII
The London hospitals were organised to meet the threat of bombing and the Warren Road site was incorporated into Sector 8 of the Emergency Medical Services, under St. Thomas’ Hospital. In addition to providing general hospital care for civilians, Warren Road treated military cases, including hundreds of casualties from Dunkirk and the D-Day landings.

In 1939 Warren Road Hospital was provided with a military style ‘hutted hospital’, built by Canadian soldiers. A group of London teaching hospitals used this new annexe to set up a temporary Radiotherapy Unit.

World War II brought about significant changes, with doctors and nurses coming down from St. Thomas’ and other London teaching hospitals. For many of them it was their first experience of working in hospitals where conditions and standards of care left much to be desired. This and the over-estimation of beds needed during the war helped pave the way for the NHS.

In 1945, the association with the old workhouse infirmary ceased, in name at least, when Warren Road Hospital became St. Luke’s Hospital. SCC renamed the hospital after Addison Road church of St Luke’s, (Luke being the Patron Saint of Physicians.)

In 1948 the hospital was incorporated into the National Health Service, which had just been established under the National Assistance Act of 1947. Following Clinical Union with Guildford’s Royal Surrey County Hospital (RSCH) Farnham Road in 1952, St. Luke’s expanded and specialised. The stigma of being a former workhouse hospital began to disappear.

During the late 1950s and 1960s, St. Luke’s expansion continued. The Nurses’ Preliminary Training School was built in 1956 and radiographers, operating department practitioners and midwives were all trained on site.

Dr R B McMillan MD, FRCP(E) was the Superintendent Physician. His foresight and organisational ability guided the hospital through this period. The new McMillan Day Hospital was named in his honour. Matron Brigit Coyle was another key figure and Coyle Hall was named after her.

St Luke’s became home to the Group and District Pathology Service, the Public Health Laboratory, new Haematology and Clinical Biochemistry departments.

In 1963 the Betatron Cancer Appeal Trust began fundraising to buy an electron therapy unit for cancer treatment, the first of its type in the UK. Hospital staff, with the actress Florence Desmond, the hospital secretary Mr Frank Cogdell, Mr Wingrave-Clarke and the League of Friends worked together to raise over £150,000. The Betatron was installed in 1967 and remained in service for 24 years.

Later Developments….

By January 1980 the policy of centralising services in one Guildford hospital was well under way. In the first phase, inpatient services in general medicine, general surgery and paediatrics were transferred from St Luke’s. This marked the end of St. Luke’s as a general hospital.

St. Luke’s still provided a wide range of outpatients services and remained particularly busy as it housed the Departments of Rheumatology and Rehabilitation, Obstetrics and Gynaecology as well as an enlarged Geriatric Department and of course, the important Regional Radiotherapy and Oncology Centre. The Diagnostic Radiology, Physiotherapy and Occupational therapy departments continued their work on-site, along with the Public Health Laboratory and the Medical Photography and Illustration department.

The first Laser Laparoscopy in the United Kingdom was performed at St Luke’s Hospital in
October 1982
by Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist Dr Christopher Sutton and his team led
by Sister Annie Parker and her nurses, with technical support from Dougie Bathie.

All the funding for a new Colposcopy clinic was raised by the ‘Guildford Raise a Laser’ charity
appeal, set up and run by St Luke’s staff.

In 1985, the Obstetric Department was improved and expanded to accommodate the Haslemere and
District Maternity Unit. In 1990, Nurse and Midwifery training also increased to serve three Health
Districts with the Frances Harrison College of Healthcare.

The site at Warren Road was always earmarked for closure. In 1991 the older main building of the hospital was closed and the Inpatient and Outpatient departments transferred to the Royal Surrey County Hospital. On April 1st 1991, St. Luke’s Hospital joined with the RSCH to form a jointly self-governing Trust within the National Health Service. Departments continued to be transferred away from the site.

The last department to leave was Radiotherapy in November 1996.
The site was then sold to make way for the 257 homes in St. Luke’s Park and St. Luke’s Square.