St Thomas’ Hospital Moves to Lambeth

Florence Nightingale, 1860.

On 8th August 1859, the Charing Cross Railway Company received permission, by Act of Parliament, to build on the north west corner of the hospital. Florence Nightingale was asked to advise on whether the hospital should move. She studied the facts and figures, interviewed key officials and recommended that the hospital should vacate its ancient site.

Her statistics showed that most of the hospital’s patients did not come from the immediate Southwark area and so the majority would not be harmed by the move. The old St Thomas’ hospital eventually closed on 6th July 1862, almost 650 years after it first moved on to this site. Many of the hospital buildings were now demolished. The female operating theatre, however, was only partially dismantled by the removal of the standings. The roof space of the church was sealed and the theatre remained forgotten until 1956 when it was rediscovered by Raymond Russell.

The New Hospital

Whilst the new hospital was being built in Lambeth, a temporary site was found in Newington at the old Surrey Gardens Music Hall. The new hospital eventually opened on its present site in Lambeth in 1871.

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