Stanmore cottage hospital is a fine old Victorian house which has stood on the west side of Old Church Lane for nearly 125 years. It was constructed in 1890 by builder and Architect John F.Curwen in Great Stanmore, not far from the old Village Station.
The hospital was built for the people of Stanmore with money that was donated by two local residents, Misses Emily and Katharine Wickens of the Pynnacles. (The pinnacles was a large house at the junction of Church Road and Green Lane) It cost some £2000, a considerable amount in the 1800’s. The money donated covered the cost of the land and the building.
The structure is a large two storey redbrick building with several unusual features including a semi circular arched doorway at the east front and an unusual doorway in a bow window with conical roof on the south face of the building. There are pedimented gables and semi circular gables and decorative red brick chimney stacks.
John Curwens original plans were to build three separate wards, for men, women, and children but this idea was only partially built. When the hospital, opened its doors in 1891 it could receive just eight patients. It had a three bed mens ward, a four bed womens ward and just one cot. The building also contained an operating room and a dispensary.
To begin with the hospital was endowed by the Misses Wickens and later run by four trustees, who were able decide on admissions and charges for treatment.
An isolation hospital, with separate blocks for diphtheria and scarlet fever, was built in 1902 on the east side of Honeypot Lane. After major local epidemics in 1928 and 1929 Hendon Rural District Council decided to increase the accommodation to 26 beds and cots.
During world war II the civil defence act 1939 was passed, and with the expectation of mass bombings in and around London, the Cottage Hospital became part of the Emergency Hospital Scheme. Soon after the war was over the Clement Attlee government greatly expanded the welfare state, which included the National Health Service Act of 1946, this was the act of parliament which nationalised the hospitals and provided for free universal medical care. On nationalisation the hospital was handed over to the local county council and converted into 'The Stanmore residential nursery', for children below five.
Two years after nationalisation in 1948 it was converted into a home for the elderly.
In the fifties the hospital once again became a children's home and was transferred in 1965 from its owners the London borough of Harrow, which placed very few of the children there, to the London borough of Brent.
In 1971 it became a geriatric subunit of Edgware General Hospital, with accommodation for 14, under the administration of the Hendon Group Hospital Management Committee, part of the North West Metropolitan Regional Hospital Board.
In December 1979 the Board approved its closure, and the the Hospital closed in 1980
In 1982 the building was acquired by the ‘Jewish Society for the mentally handicapped’ which later merged with the Ravenswood foundation to become the 'Stanmore Cottage Residential Home' for a small number of disabled adults.
The building is now the Norwood Children and Families First residential care home for 8 children with learning difficulties, which opened in 1997.
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