Wartime Hospitals in Dacorum

AFD_Flag21_Day World War One

By late 1914 the hospitals in Britain were not able to accommodate the large number of injured soldiers returning from the Western front. To tackle this issue, many stately homes and large institutions were commandeered by the army and were turned in to military hospitals.

The following hospitals operated in Dacorum during the war:

Nurse Blatchford who worked at The Hoo Maternity Home in Great Gaddesden

DACHT : 939.01. Nurse Blatchford who worked at The Hoo Maternity Home in Great Gaddesden. Expectant mothers were evacuated from London to maternity homes which had been established at The Hoo as well as Home Farm in Ting and Grimsdyke in Berkhamsted. A total of 1,270 babies were born at The Hoo.
Picture: Dacorum Heritage Trust

Ashridge House Hospital: Lord and Lady Brownlow’s residence at Ashridge was used as a hospital from 1914 to 1915 under the supervision of commandant Minna Blount, who would later oversee the running of The Beeches at Berkhamsted.
Boxmoor House Hospital: ‘A fine old residence kindly lent for noble work, by Mrs Bouwens’, Boxmoor House Hospital opened its doors to its first patients on 26th of October 1915. Described as a ‘small but model institution’ it housed twenty beds which were divided amongst three wards. It was run by a staff of seven to eight VAD nurses under the charge of Sister Blackmore. All patients came from the Central Hospital at Aylesbury (Eastern Command) to which the Boxmoor Hospital was a convalescent auxiliary.

 

The Beeches: In March 1915 a VAD hospital opened at Barncroft. The hospital subsequently changed location and moved to The Beeches where it was to remain until it closed in July of 1919. In that time the hospital was successively overseen by Miss M. Blount, Mrs Porter and Mrs Haygarth Brown. It was noted that the women who worked at the hospital did so at great risk to their own personal health as they regularly dealt with infectious cases.

Cheere House, the early West Herts Hospital in Hemel Hempstead

Cheere House, the early West Herts. Hospital in Hemel Hempstead
Dacorum Heritage Trust

West Herts Hospital: West Herts Hospital was originally established in a row of converted cottages at Piccotts End in 1827. Early in the war the hospital offered the British Red Cross the use of twenty beds for soldiers. In 1917 an appeal raised £2,000 for a new ward, the Windsor Ward which contained thirty-five additional beds. Over 800 soldiers were treated at the hospital and after the war it was allocated for disabled servicemen.

Victoria Hall, Tring: In 1914 Victoria Hall was equipped as a VAD hospital with six beds. It was initially established to treat new recruits from the 21st Division, part of Kitchener’s Third New Army who were stationed in Tring. The isolation hospitals of the district and the High Street schools were also used as medical facilities, while Tring Market House was used as a depot for hospital stores. Victoria Hall appears to have been used as a hospital until at least 1916.

Looking for hospital related activities?

Can you match the bone names with their location on the skeleton here? Don’t cheat, but when you think have labelled all the bones correctly you can check your answers here.

Wartime nurses would spend a lot of time bandaging wounds. Ask an adult to help you make a fake wound. This link to wikihow will show you what you need and how to make it look realistic.

Have a go at bandaging your wound to keep it clean and stop the bleeding. This YouTube video from St John’s Ambulance shows you how to bandage a hand properly.

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