The Royal London Hospital

17-storey block for the Royal London Hospital designed by HOK for Skanska.

Brewers' Company almshouses and garden
Contributed by Wendy_F on May 12, 2018

In 1882 the Rev. Sidney Vateber and his charitable committee turned a ‘dirty and neglected piece of ground in front of the Brewers' Company almshouses (funded by John Baker's charity) on the south side of Oxford Street (now Stepney Way), just at the rear of the London Hospital, from a public nuisance, which it was, into a thing of beauty.’ The half acre ground, donated by the Brewers' Company, was provided with landscaping, iron gates, and an ornamental water feature with fish. A garden house was gifted by Lord Brabazon who founded the Metropolitan Gardens Association in the same year. The garden was intended for the use of patients, particularly the many consumptives, and local working people. Mrs Charles Cheston gave a water filter installed with ‘homely white crockery-ware mugs’ and a notice to ‘please help yourself’. The donors, it was reported, ‘will feel amply rewarded… when they see working-men spending their dinner-hour... washing down their bread and cheese with a draft of fresh, filtered water'.1 Some of the charitable contributions had questionable origins. Charles Cheston was for decades solicitor to William Amherst, Lord of Hackney, and oversaw construction of much of Dalston and Stoke Newington. When Cheston committed suicide in 1906 it was discovered he had embezzled around £250,000 (perhaps £25m today), ruining Lord Amherst. Charles Cheston was also for many years trustee and treasurer of the East London Hospital for Children.

  1. East London Observer, 8 July 1882 

Rashid Ahmed's description of working in the Royal London Hospital
Contributed by Survey of London on Feb. 20, 2018

Rashid Ahmed is a Rehab Support Worker on the Community Stroke Team at the Royal London Hospital, here he describes how the team work in the hospital and local area.

"[The Royal London Hospital] is one of the main hubs for taking on patients. We get patients from various parts of London. They’re not necessarily just from Tower Hamlets. However, once they're here and we're doing ward based work we might be treating patients from the borough and out of the borough. But once patients or ourselves are off the ward, we're community-based, we’re predominantly working on patients from Tower Hamlets.

It is a huge facility we have here, with space and resources. We didn’t move in immediately once the hospital had opened because we had our own service changes within our department, and we probably came in probably a year or two later once the building was trying to open up and start accommodating and delegating space for specific services. We’re here now, yes. We’ve been here probably two, three years now.

We're the stroke platform part of the neuro-team. We deal specifically with stroke patients. [We are based] on the second floor, we have one office dedicated to the stroke team…They’re also working on a ward based on the third floor. Where we are based now is one of the gyms of three or four gyms. This gym is used for neonatal patient’s exercise groups as well as in-house training.

We certainly do use other parts of the hospital in terms of recruitment and training, our own personal development. We have other rooms dedicated for us when we need to have access to other rooms just for, like for example my timetable we try to schedule the patients and its therapist.

Some rooms are equipped with projectors, computers. Other rooms don't have anything in it. Again there could be different group sizes, so you're fishing around for appropriate space for specific training rooms.

The building we have now is far more superior [than the former hospital] in the sense that it's very modern, updated equipment, more space, even on the ward, even for patient specific rooms.

However, when they built these departments, I think that this is just my own personal opinion, is that they need to accommodate more input from the people who will be working within the building. I don't know where they get their -- who their consultants they design this with.

But they should consult with frontline workers because they’re the people who know what's needed. The space is always an issue regardless, even though we have more space it’s still an issue when you're moving around large pieces of equipment within rooms that we still consider to be spacious.

But it is easier when you've got patients who are severely unwell and require more than one health professional within the room. It becomes quite tight when you have these specific treatments to help the patient recover. There’s a lot to take in when we're thinking about space and resources...

We use the shops that are around here. Tower Hamlets, Whitechapel, is vast for food. We've got large options and variations for types of food that you might want. You might want Indian fried food, one might want sandwiches. There's options and the availability is there.

We also have a restaurant on the site on the fifth floor. That’s an option for staff and families and carers. We also have a cafe on the Ground Floor. We're not short for options. There's a lot to choose from.

Our team is made up of people who come from all different walks of life. Some people come from South London, some people are coming from Walthamstow. People come from different places or commute, some on bikes, depending on the time of the year, some with trains and underground. Yes, it's quite varied."

Rashid Ahmed was interviewed by Shahed Saleem at the Royal London Hospital on 26.02.16. The interview has been edited for print.

The Royal London Hospital, view from the north-east
Contributed by Derek Kendall

The Royal London Hospital, view from the north
Contributed by Derek Kendall

Statue of Queen Alexandra by George Wade, 1908
Contributed by Derek Kendall

The Royal London Hospital, view from East Mount Street
Contributed by Derek Kendall

View from the 8th floor of the Royal London Hospital, looking west
Contributed by Shahed Saleem

The old swimming pool at the London Hospital recalled

Gemma O'Connor, who worked in the oral microbiology department at the London Hospital in the 1970s, describes using the old swimming pool that was in the hospital basement, on the south side of Stepney Way between the St Philip's Church library and the new hospital.

Contributed by Shahed Saleem on Sept. 14, 2016