Whipps Cross Hospital in the 1940s
The four newly constructed general wards and isolation ward (for patients with infectious diseases) were opened in 1941. More alterations during 1948 and 1949 saw Wards C5 and C6 became TB wards for male and female patients, while Edward and Margaret Wards were converted into accommodation for babies and children.
In April 1944 the hospital opened a preliminary training school, which was to be accommodated in the former Wilfred Lawson Hotel in Woodford. Pupil nurses were introduced to the elements of nursing and subjects such as anatomy before starting work on the wards. They lived in the nurses' homes on the hospital site.
In 1948 Whipps Cross came under the management of the new National Health Service (NHS) and was administered initially by the Leytonstone Group (No. 10) Hospital Management Committee.
Old and New
Although very different in design, the new buildings (visible on the right of the photo) also had sunny balconies for patients, like the original ward blocks.
Pamela Bedding, who in childhood lived on the hospital site with her father, the hospital's Chief Engineer, recalls:
"During the war our parents told us Whipps Cross dealt with an abundance of casualties and from the balconies you could see all the fires in London after a bomb attack. Luckily Whipps was never hit."
Barts Health NHS Trust Archives,
Keeping hair 'pretty and tidy'
As nurses lived onsite, the nurses' accommodation provided facilities like the salon shown in this article. Pam Bedding recalled:
"There was a hairdressing salon in the nurse’s home run by Edna and her assistant Barbara. I had to have my hair cut there although I really wanted long hair - my mother wouldn’t allow that and Edna was sad having to cut my hair! My brother ended up marrying Barbara!"
Barts Health NHS Trust Archives, RLHWX/X/3/2