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View of the building in Pimlico (on the right) which was home to Westminster Hospital from 1939 to 1992: it has since been converted into luxury flats
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Westminster Hospital was a hospital in London, England, founded in 1719. In 1834 a medical school attached to the hospital was formally founded. In 1939 a newly built hospital and medical school opened in Horseferry Road, Westminster. In 1994 the hospital closed, and its resources were moved to the new Chelsea and Westminster Hospital at the old St Stephen's Hospital site in Fulham Road.
The Westminster Hospital was established in 1719 as a charitable society "for relieving the sick and needy at the Public Infirmary in Westminster", and promoted by Mr Henry Hoare (1677–1725), otherwise "Henry the Good", son of Sir Richard Hoare and a Partner in the bank C. Hoare & Co, and his associates the writer William Wogan, a vintner called Robert Witham, and the Reverend Patrick Cockburn.
The following document, which may be styled the first annual report of this institution, dated 1720, hung framed and glazed on the wall of the secretary's room as at about 1878:
The hospital grew to 31 beds by 1724, necessitating a move in that year to Chappell Street (later renamed Broadway).
In 1733, a disagreement between the Governors and the medical staff led to a mass exodus of medical staff, who went on to set up what became St George's Hospital. Meanwhile, the Infirmary continued with its existing Governors and moved to new premises in Buckingham Gate in 1735, where it was known as the Westminster Infirmary for the Sick and Infirm. By 1757 there were 98 beds and the site was expanded with building work and the acquisition of neighbouring property. By 1760, it was known simply as the Westminster Hospital, as it remained for the rest of its existence.
In 1831, a new site at the Broad Sanctuary opposite Westminster Abbey was acquired, and a new and spacious hospital building was completed and opened in 1834, of an embattled quasi-Gothic character, erected by Messrs. Inwood at a cost of £40,000. The hospital was situated by the Broad Sanctuary and the northern side of the nave of Westminster Abbey, between the Sessions House and Victoria Street, and accommodated about 200 in-patients, and the total number of patients relieved annually, in an 1878 account, was about 20,000. According to the same 1878 description, "Patients are admitted by order from a governor, except in cases of accident, which are received, without recommendation, at all hours of the day or night". It was the first subscription hospital erected in London, and was incorporated in 1836.
In 1924, the Westminster Hospital closed for one year while the building was substantially refurbished.
In 1938, the Westminster Hospital moved again. The new building was in St John's Gardens, Westminster, and included The Queen Mary Nurses' Home (sleeping 250) and a Training School, both opened in 1938, followed in 1939 by the opening of the new Westminster Hospital building opposite, in Horseferry Road. The new building was hit by bombs in 1940 and suffered from a nearby landmine explosion in 1941, but continued to operate.
Upon the foundation of the National Health Service in 1948, the Westminster Hospital was placed in a new "Westminster Group of Hospitals", which included, also, the Gordon Hospital, the Westminster Children's Hospital and the All Saints' Hospital. In 1950, they were joined by Queen Mary's Hospital, Roehampton, bringing the total number of beds in the Westminster Group to 1,090.
A new Nurse's Home was built in Vincent Square in 1960, and a new wing for the hospital building, linked by a bridge, was opened in 1966.
In 1990, the Westminster Hospital had 403 beds.
In 1992, the Westminster Hospital closed, and in 1993 re-opened, as the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, in a new purpose-built building in Fulham Road. As well as the name, continuity is provided by portraits from the old building which hang in the Board Room of the new; together with a Veronese painting in the new hospital chapel and some of the stained-glass there.
Meanwhile, the old buildings were converted into luxury flats called Westminster Green, which preserve the façade of the original hospital building. The previous buildings in Broad Sanctuary survived until destroyed by a fire in 1950; the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, in a completely different style, now stands on the site.
Ernest Tidyman, American author of Shaft and Academy Award winning screenwriter of The French Connection, also died in Westminster Hospital on 14 July 1984 of a perforated ulcer and complications. Tidyman was in London for a production meeting about a film to be made in Europe.