A Hospital for East Grinstead
East Grinstead’s first hospital opened in 1863.
At the time it was one of only five Cottage Hospitals in the country. These small rural hospitals enabled immediate care of emergencies and the more effective care of the sick poor. Patients would often benefit from being treated by a local doctor who knew them. Before the East Grinstead Cottage Hospital opened residents would have to travel to London or Brighton to be treated. Each Cottage Hospital was funded by donations and subscriptions and by 1900 more than 150 had opened across the country.
As the need for local health care in East Grinstead grew during the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century so too did the hospital and its facilities. Today, the Queen Victoria Hospital’s 900 members of staff provide local care as well as being an internationally renowned specialist centre for reconstructive surgery.
The first Cottage Hospital, Green Hedges Avenue
The first hospital probably had no more than six beds. It was run by physician and surgeon, John Henry Rogers, entirely at his own expense.
In 1874 Rogers closed the hospital “after having experienced for some years the meanness of the wealthy, and too often the ingratitude of the poor”.
The building can still be seen on the south side of Green Hedges Avenue.
The second Cottage Hospital, Garland Road
In 1887 an East Grinstead stable boy met with a serious accident.
The incident so appealed to the tender feelings of local residents, Mr and Mrs Oswald Smith, that they decided to open a new cottage hospital with their own money.
The hospital had accommodation for five patients.
The third Cottage Hospital, Queen’s Road
As demands increased, the Hospital Committee looked for a larger site.
Mr Oswald Smith kindly gave the Holiday Home building on Queen’s Road for the new hospital. It opened in 1902 with male and female wards as well as a room for private patients.
A national movement to name buildings after the late Queen meant that the new hospital became the Queen Victoria Cottage Hospital. This was a popular move and encouraged patients to financially support it.
The present hospital, Holtye Road
By 1930 there were calls to increase hospital accommodation.
A 4.3 acre site was given to the town by Sir Robert Kindersley, organiser of the National Savings movement. A large thermometer was erected in the town to track the funds raised for the building.
The new Queen Victoria Cottage Hospital was opened 8th January 1936 and had six male beds, six female beds and six children’s beds in addition to six private beds.