Hospitals in Hampstead


At the beginning of the 19th century, medical services were still provided only for the richest, who could pay for them, or funded out of charity for ordinary people. As the population increased, however, the need for properly organised healthcare increased, and the need for more permanent arrangements was recognised. Gradually a pattern of healthcare provision emerged that led to the NHS system that we know today.


New End hospital

In Hampstead, the only hospital in the village in the mid 19th century was the original workhouse infirmary, and that was for the very poor. A self supporting dispensary was started in 1846, occupying rooms at the workhouse, to serve other people and, in 1850/53 a three story building at New End was built by public subscription in gratitude for Hampstead being spared London’s most recent cholera outbreak (see “Buried in Hampstead”). [Designed by Henry Edward Kendall Jr, FRIBA (1805-55).] This building had a long and successful history in treating the sick in Hampstead. It was used as a military hospital during the First World War, and then as a public hospital until 1968 (increasing to 260 beds in 1938) – first under the Board of Guardians, then the LCC and finally the NHS (from 1948). It became a geriatric hospital in 1974 and was finally closed in 1986. The building has now been converted into modern houses and apartments.

New End Hospital, c 1915

© Mary Evans Picture Library (ref. 10416190)

Hampstead Smallpox Hospital

In 1867 the Metropolitan Asylums Board began to build five specialist smallpox hospitals across London to combat the effects of the disease. A new Hampstead Smallpox hospital in Haverstock Hill/ Lawn Road was completed in 1870 (300 beds), but local residents obtained a court order to prevent the use of the hospital for smallpox cases in 1885 and the hospital was used for fever cases only. Renamed the North West London Fever Hospital, its services were in great demand during the frequent outbreaks of infectious diseases in the early 20th century (eg polio). It merged with the Royal Free group in 1948, and the building was demolished in 1973.

Hampstead Smallpox Hospital, 1871

© Illustrated London News/ Mary Evans Picture Library (ref. 10008690)

Hampstead General Hospital

The Hampstead General Hospital was established in Parliament Hill in 1882. In 1902 a plan to rebuild it on the Pond Street site was delayed through lack of funds, and the hospital was merged with the North West London Hospital in Camden Town to make it affordable. Eventually it took part of the land of the Fever hospital and a new general hospital (50 beds) was opened in 1905. Extended several times, it was merged into the Royal Free group in 1948. The building was demolished in 1975 for the present Royal Free hospital building.

Hampstead Hospital for Consumption

The Hampstead Hospital for Consumption was established in 1860 at (what is now) Stanfield House, High Street (at the junction with Prince Arthur Road). Hampstead’s dry and bracing air was good for chest complaints and the hospital attracted patients from across England. In 1877/81 a new hospital was built on 3 acres at Mount Vernon (110 beds) – designed by T Roger Smith in a French Renaissance style. [Thomas Roger Smith, FRIBA (1830 – 1903), was Professor of Architecture at University College, London and author of Architecture: Gothic and Renaissance (Sampson Low, Marston and Company, London, 1896)]. The hospital continued to grow and moved to Northwood in 1904 when the Mount Vernon site became the home of the Medical Research Council’s National Institute for Medical Research. This closed in the 1980s and the building has been converted into luxury flats.

Mount Vernon hospital site

© Lindy Newman

Interesting fact

The Duchess of York (who later became Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother) visited Hampstead General Hospital in the 1920s (seen here talking with a young patient). How do you think the hospital and local families might have prepared for the visit?


This page was last updated on November 30th, 2020.


Stay in touch with the conversation, subscribe to the RSS feed for comments on this post.

Top of page