Passmore Edwards’ District Cottage Hospital, Tilbury, 1896.

As far back as 1882 attempts were made by the friendly societies and others in the Tilbury District to found a Cottage Hospital without success. 12 years later a request to Passmore Edwards was responded to both promptly and positively.

Up to 1895 a man meeting with an accident at the Tilbury Docks, or anyone taken ill in that vicinity, had to be taken to Gravesend or London Hospitals. Whilst we are beginning again to see greater distances of travel to the more Regional Hospitals provided by the NHS, at the end of the 19th Century, the distance involved cost, and risk. Since 1882 efforts had been made by the friendly societies and others to establish a Cottage Hospital at Tilbury to meet the growing needs of the area but always without success. It was not until 12 years later, when a Mr Ephriam Wright wrote to Passmore Edwards to secure his help. Passmore Edwards, after some inquiries responded by offering to supply a suitable building.
The necessary Committee was formed and soon received its first subscription of £500, and an offer to provide a site, from the Tilbury Dock Company. Rowland Plumbe FRIBA was appointed as architect and the foundation stone was laid by Passmore Edwards in October 1895. The 15 bed hospital was constructed opposite the Tilbury Dock gates and was opened by Passmore Edwards in June 1896.
As the docks expanded the Hospital Committee felt that a larger hospital, with more up to date equipment, was needed to meet the demands which were being made upon it. Accordingly, in 1924, the administration of the hospital was transferred to the Seamen’s Hospital Society and it was renamed Tilbury Hospital.
Dr J J S Rowe, who had been at the Society’s Dreadnought Hospital, Greenwich, was appointed as Resident Medical Officer. It was decided to increase the accommodation to 50 inpatients and also provide proper accommodation for outpatients. Prior to the transfer the local management Committee had provided an X ray machine and refurbished the operating theatre. The aquisition of the Tilbury Hospital meant that the Society was now responsible for the care of sick and injured seamen from the whole of the Port of London.
At the same time, a Mr Singhanee, of Poona, India, had offered a gift of one lakh of rupees (£6,732 in 1924) to provide a Ward for Indian seamen at a London Hospital. The Passmore Edwards Hospital had been chosen and the “Singhanee Ward” was nearing completion when the Society took over the reins in January 1924. This was opened by the Duke of York in June 1924.

The Ladies Linen League was formed in 1924 by local ladies to provide and maintain the linen and garments of the Hospital whilst the Dreadnought Ladies League raised funds for materials used in the wards.
The Duke of York also laid the foundation stone for the new buildings which were of a “modern” concrete construction, with “metal window frames”, constructed on concrete rafts due to the poor loadbearing capabilities of the land. The roofs were of red concrete tiles. Two new wards, of 22 beds each, and a nurses home were constructed, as well as updating the hospital equipment, at a cost of about £30,000. The Hospital was later to be known, locally, as the “concrete hospital”.
The original building retained the name of the Passmore Edwards Ward.

In July 1932, “The Grays and Tilbury Gazette and South Essex Pictorial Telegraph” contained a report on the financial pressures that faced the Hospital during the depression and called for renewed local support and assistance to continue the work of the concrete hospital.
The hospital survived the depression years and continue under the management of the Society until the formation of the National Health Service, in 1948, when the hospital was taken over by the South East Essex Hospital Management Committee, serving the then Urban Districts of Billericay and Thurrock, being then the only hospital for acute surgical cases in the committee’s area. In 1950 it became Tilbury branch of Tilbury and Riverside General Hospital (combining Tilbury and Orsett Hospitals), and as such recognized as a general training school for nurses. In 1953 the Orsett Hospital was chosen in preference to the Tilbury Hospital as the main hospital for Thurrock area. Inpatient work transferred to Orsett Hospital 1969. The building was demolished in 1985.


Passmore Edwards’ Sutton Hospital, 1902

The Passmore Edwards Sutton Hospital replaced a hospital founded only three years earlier in a converted pair of semi detached cottages in Bushy Road Sutton. The Passmore Edwardss was itself replaced with a larger site in 1931.

In 1899 a pair of semi detached cottages were adapted for use as the first Sutton Hospital. Almost immediately it was seen that this was to be insufficient to meet the needs of the area and Passmore Edwards was approached. He agreed to build a hospital on land to be provided by the community. Mr R C Foster, a local JP and later Sir
Ralph Foster, provided a site in Hill Road and Cecil Sharp was commissioned to design the new hospital with a central block for Matron and the nurses and the two 4 bed and two 2 bed wards, together with an operating theatre, being either side. . Passmore Edwards laid the foundation stone on 1 May 1901 and the hospital opened the following year. It cost £2800.
Even this accommodation was soon too small and an extension was added to bring the number of beds up to 20.
As the population grew the need for additional facilities increased and in 1927 a new site, on which the current hospital stands was purchased. The new hospital was opened in September 1931 by Sir Alan Garrett Anderson, the son of the pioneering woman doctor.

The Passmore Edwards building was demolished at some unknown date and premises known as The Adlers erected on the site. This has since been acquired by J D Weatherspoons Ltd and is now known as the Moon on the Hill.

Passmore Edwards Hospital, East Ham 1901

The East Ham hospital was one of the Passmore Edwards buildings designed by Silvanus Trevail.


In the late 19th Century East Ham had a population of around 100,000 and was growing at the rate of 2,000 a year. The East Ham Council employees’ Hospital Committee, established on similar lines to the Hospital Saturday Fund paying weekly penny subscriptions, launched an appeal to build a hospital, hopefully to coincide with Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee . Unfortunately this attracted only a few hundred pounds so they approached Passmore Edwards . He offered to pay £4,000 for the construction of the hospital if the Committee would provide the site and appointed Trevail as architect.
Lady Twedlemouth laid the foundation stone on 26 July 1900 and the hospital was opened in 1901 with just 20 beds. Fortunately, unlike at Falmouth, the chosen site allowed for expansion and extensions were built in 1914 and in 1928, the hospital becoming part of the much larger East Ham Memorial hospital with100 beds.
Though the hospital was badly damaged by bombing in 1940 it became part of the NHS in 1948, and since then has been under the control of various Hospital boards and Trusts as the management of the health services developed. Today the hospital falls within the control of the Newham Community Health Care Trust. Set amongst a modern, otherwise purpose built, hospital The Passmore Edwards building is now home to both the Newham Community Mental Health Team on the ground floor and the Psychological Treatment Centre.
Originally a voluntary hospital, funded from subscriptions and donations, the need to maintain a healthy inflow of funds was essential. One of the ideas put forward was a charity football cup to be competed for by local teams, the Trophy being presented by the leading Doctor at the time, Dr McKettrick in 1904. This competition, one of the oldest in existence and now known as the East Ham Memorial Charity Football Cup Competition, has continued through the years providing much needed funds for the hospital and more recently the Sally Sherman Nursing Home, Alnwick Road, Newham.

Passmore Edwards Jubilee Cottage Hospital, Nursing Institute and Invalid Kitchen, Acton 1898

Founded in June 1897 to mark Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, and for the first 50 years a voluntary hospital for the “sick poor”, and after WW1 as the Acton War Memorial, the hospital has continued to serve the local community.

In 1897, the year of the opening of the Tate Gallery and of the Blackwall Tunnel, Acton was a growing town. Trams ran through to Shepherd’s Bush and there were bus and train services into London. The population was increasing rapidly, rising from 24,206 in 1891 to 37,744 in 1901. The newly formed District Council discussed plans for a new Fire Station, a Library, Swimming Baths and an Isolation Hospital, but it was not within their powers to provide a General Hospital. The local Poor Rate already did that, although for the destitute poor only, at the Brentford Union Workhouse Infirmary in Isleworth.
There were over 200 laundries in Acton mostly in the working class district of South Acton and Acton Green, providing work for both men and women. To the north and at East Acton were residential districts, dairy farms and sports grounds.
In addition to the many churches of all domination, there were charitable institutions that aided the less well off, including the Philanthropic Society whose president W Carrington Smith, a silversmith living at Fremington Lodge, made approaches to Passmore Edwards the philanthropist who was giving grants to establish hospitals and libraries. He promised £2,500 for a hospital provided that someone gave the land. The Lord and Mr. Leopold Rothscild, wealthy Jewish landowners and bankers of Gunnersbury Park were persuaded to do so, giving c 1/2 acre of land in Gunnersbury Lane. E F Hunt, an Acton solicitor, who in 1898 was elected to the District Council becoming its chairman from 1898-1900, did the administrative 
The deed of Trust was settled in May 1897, and collection boxes went around Acton for funds.
The Passmore Edwards Acton Jubilee Cottage Hospital, Nurses Home and Invalid Kitchen was opened in May 1898 by Mrs Creighton, wife of the Bishop of London. The amazing sum of £1178.13s.7d had been given by local people in collecting boxes and donations towards its upkeep.
From “Acton Hospital 1897-1997” produced by Acton History Group ©

Wood Green Cottage Hospital 1895


Clearance of thousands of houses during the redevelopment of London in the 1890s forced the working classes to move out to the suburbs such as Wood Green. It was for these reasons that Edwards said that he ‘cheerfully undertook to provide a hospital’ at Wood Green. Accidents and ailments occurred wherever people lived and it was essential that a hospital should be provided to meet their needs.
Whilst it was Passmore Edwards who laid the foundation stone, in August 1894, it was Eleanor’s turn to take the silver key and declare the hospital open the following June.
Designed by Charles Bell and built on land purchased from the Church Commissioners the hospital was a small brick and tile hung building with accommodation for four men and four women patients and included an operating theatre, convalescent rooms and staff accommodation. As the population expanded so did the hospital, having 25 beds by 1904 and 52 from 1922. Plans to rebuild were put on hold by the Second World War although the hospital was renamed the Wood Green and Southgate Hospital. After the war, with the coming of the welfare state, the hospital was again extended to 73 beds by 1973.
Miss Elizabeth Martin was typical of the nursing profession of her day. Trained at Leeds Infirmary and first appointed Sister at the Northern Counties Hospital, Bury, Miss Martin served her country during the Great War as Sister and finally Assistant Matron, seeing service in Croatia and Italy, for which she was awarded the Royal Red Cross. In 1920 she was appointed as Matron to the Passmore Edwards Cottage Hospital in Wood Green, where she remained for the rest of her life. Matron Elizabeth Martin collapsed and died whilst on duty at the hospital on 17 November 1948.

Willesden Cottage Hospital 1893

When an appeal launched to build the Hospital failed to provide the sums needed, Passmore Edwards stepped in to offer the full costs of the building. Within 3 years he was to offer to pay for a much needed extension.


With a population of 60,000 and increasing at about 7,000 per year, there was a pressing need for the Parish of Willesden to provide a hospital. A Hospital Building Committee was formed, under the chairmanship of Sir E Bradford Leslie, to raise funds and work was commenced on a small 6 bed hospital designed by Messers Newman & Newman.
Unfortunately the rate of construction was greater than the success of obtaining a positive response to the appeal and the Committee were faced with not being able to even pay the builder never mind equiping the building for hospital use..
An appeal was made to the public through the press but which elicited one response. This was from Passmore Edwards who responded by offering to pay the whole cost of the hospital so that the money already raised could be put aside for future maitenance and running costs.
The hospital was duly opened in July 1893 by Miss Balfour, the sister of the Right Hon A J Balfour MP, then the Parliamentary leader of the Oposition.
Erected in Harlesden Lane, Willesdon, the hospital occupied a site of about half an acre acquired from the All Souls’ College authorities.
Under the control of Dr J S Brookfield the need for the hospital was soon proven and within no more than three months it was operating at full capacity. After three years the decison was taken to enlarge the hospital and once again a subscription was launched to pay for the costs, only to be met once more by an unsatisfactory response. Passmore Edwards again came to the rescue and offered to pay for the addition of two new wings to the original building, increasing accommodation to 24 beds, and Newman & Newman were commissioned to provide the drawings.
Building commenced in 1898 and the completed hospital was reopened, as the Passmore Edwards Hospital for Willesden, on 13 May 1899 by Lady and Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman.The original hospital Committee had been forward thinking in securing a six-acre site for the hospital, with the majority being used as gardens to provide fresh fruit and vegetables for the patients and this allowed the hospital to expand without relocating, purchasing the freehold in 1921.

As time went on then, the hospital undertook further expansion, changing to the Willesden General hospital, which included a training school for Nurses, and eventually, in 1991, the Willesden Community Hospital, preserving the original Passmore Edwards facade, and incorporating the principles upon which it was founded.