The North Eastern Fever Hospital, Tottenham
Tottenham was the location for one of the new phase of hospitals erected by the Metropolitan Asylums Board in the 1890s. The MAB had been set up in 1867 to administer care for certain categories of the sick poor in metropolitan London. In 1891, its responsibilities were expanded to include the provision of fever and infectious diseases hospitals for all the capital's inhabitants.
The MAB had proposed buying the 28-acre site Tottenham in 1890, in anticipation of its expansion programme, but the purchase had been vetoed by the Local Government Board. In 1892, there was a violent outbreak of scarlet fever leading to an enormous increase in demand for beds at the MAB's hospitals. The Board quickly erected temporary huts to accommodate a thousand extra cases, and organised eight hundred further beds elsewhere. However, for the first time in their history, the MAB hospitals had to refuse any further admissions. As a result, the Local Government Board, capitulated and allowed the purchase of the Tottenham site at a cost of £12,000. Within seven weeks, a collection of temporary buildings, originally only intended to last a year, had been designed, erected and staffed. The new hospital, which — following the MAB's practice at the time — was named the North Eastern, opened on 8th October, 1892. The Building News magazine reported on the event.
Almost twenty years later, with the 'temporary' structures were still in use, the hospital finally gained some permanent buildings on adjoining land at the west of the original site.
The original North-Eastern Hospital consists of a group of temporary buildings hastily erected in 1882, in face of en epidemic of scarlet fever, and intended only to last for one year. The area of the site was then 19 acres, but additional land has since been purchased, and the total is now about 33 acres, including a recreation ground, not shown on the accompanying plan, situated on the south side of the railway. The new buildings, which form the first section of the proposed permanent hospital, are shown black on the plan. They consist of an administrative block, laundry, staff quarters, medical superintendent's end steward's houses, porter's lodge, receiving and discharge rooms, mortuary, dispensary, four diphtheria and enteric blocks, two isolation blocks, and tank tower. The normal number of beds in the reconstructed hospital will be 548. The new buildings provide for diphtheria and enteric patients and eight isolation beds. They also include accommodation for the entire staff of the future hospital. The buildings have been erected by Messrs. McCormick & Sons, whose contracts include all engineering work except kitchen end laundry fittings. The contract amounts; were as follows :— Main contract, £113,642; laundry, £8,865. The kitchen fittings were provided by Messrs. C. Kite & Co., whose contract amounted to £1,050., and the contract for laundry fittings has recently been let to Messrs. Bradford & Co. at £4,580. The medical superintendent's residence was built by Messrs. Wm. Johnson & Co. of Wandsworlh-common, at a cost of £1,968. Messrs. A. & C. Harston, Leadenhall-street, were the architects, and Mr. W. Lawrence clerk of the works.
During the First World War, the hospital was placed at the disposal of the United States military authorities, who retained the MAB medical superintendents as representatives of the American Red Cross.
In 1930, administration of the hospital passed to the London County Council. All the original temporary blocks were replaced in the 1930s. After 1948, it became a general hospital as part of the National Health Service and was renamed St Ann's Hospital.
A variety of medical services are now located on the site. Most of the 1901 buildings survive.
- London Metropolitan Archives, 40 Northampton Road, London EC1R OHB. Has virtually all the surviving records for the Metropolitan Asylums Board and its instititutions. Search their catalogue at https://search.lma.gov.uk/.
- Ayers, Gwendoline, M. (1971) England's First State Hospitals and the Metropolitan Asylums Board (Wellcome Institute of the History of Medicine, London).
- Powell, Sir Allan (1930) The Metropolitan Asylums Board and its Work, 1867-1930. (MAB, London)
- Building News, Oct 7, 1892.
- The Builder, May 25, 1901.
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