THE HEATH AT WAR! (1914 - 1918)
Hospitals and Nursing
The nature of the fighting during the Great War led to a huge number of injured soldiers and the existing Military medical facilities in the United Kingdom were soon overwhelmed.
A solution had to be found quickly and many civilian hospitals were turned over to military use, a large number of asylums were also converted to military hospitals, with the asylum patients being sent home, often to unprepared families.
As demand for beds grew, large buildings such as Universities and hotels were transformed into hospitals and wooden huts sprang up in hospital grounds and at army camps to cope with the huge numbers.
Additional nursing staff was needed and this was met by a mixture of qualified nurses and volunteers.
When the First World War began a military hospital was set up at Kenwood at the suggestion of the Grand Duke and of Lord Mansfield.
Mount Vernon Hospital (formerly The Consumption Hospital), Rosslyn Lodge (now part of the Olave Centre), Cedar Lawn (the side of Inverforth House), Caen Wood (now Athlone House) and New End Workhouse were all Hampstead convalescent homes and annexes.
Trained nurses and Volunteer Aid Detachments staffed them.
Volunteer Aid Detachments (see picture above right) were founded in 1909 by The War Office, Red Cross and Order of St John.
Equipment was supplied by the Hampstead War Hospital Supply Depot at 91 Finchley Road.
New End Hospital, Hampstead
The picture above shows the frontage of New End Hospital, with a military ambulance outside. The building, designed by H.E. Kendall, was erected in 1849-50 as the Hampstead workhouse.
Rosslyn Lodge military auxiliary hospital, Hampstead
Owned by Herbert Hill and situated on Lyndhurst Road, the lodge was used as a hospital from 1916.
Mainly bedridden patients. A new ward was opened in 1917 by Madam Clara Butt (opera singer)
2,227 patients were treated between 1916 and 1919.
On March, 1915, Mount Vernon became The Military Hospital, Hampstead.
(see original news item in The British Journal of Nursing, 1915)
Charles Henry Watson owned Caen Wood Towers (Athlone House) when it became used for a military auxillary hospital.
It was known as The American Hospital for British Soldiers (see pictures below)
IDA ELIZABETH FINCH
Ida Finch worked as a Volunteer Aid Detachment volunteer in some of Hampstead's military hospitals, including Caen Wood and Cedar Lawn. She also worked in Hampstead General Hospital.
She was 33 years in the Brigade and received her Service Medal in 1929, being made an Officer Sister in 1947.
Nurse's Uniform (above left)
The uniform was not only worn for hygiene reasons but also as a means of identification.
Wounded soldiers wore blue trousers and jackets with white shirts and red ties.
This uniform prevented lady recruiters handing them white feathers for enlisting.