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.

Posted in Hospitals.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *