Watford General Hospital: A Brief History, part 1

Watford District Cottage Hospital

Address: 45-47 Vicarage Road, Watford, Herts, WD18 0DE

Medical Dates: 1886-1925

Built in 1885, the Watford District Cottage Hospital is believed to have been Watford’s first hospital and was designed by local architect, Charles Ayres. It was officially opened by Lady Clarendon, in 1886.

The construction of this one-storey building was financed by public subscription and cost £1,700.

In 1897, to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria, a new six-bed ward and operating theatre were added, increasing the capacity of the hospital. Then, in 1902-03, two more six-bed wards were added, plus dining rooms and staff accommodation.

By the end of 1916, the hospital contained 80 beds, 6 cots and was fitted with x-ray equipment. However, the building was soon running at capacity and, in 1917, it was decided that Watford required a new hospital.

In 1925 the Watford District Hospital, (Cottage had been dropped from its name some years before), closed as a new hospital for the district had opened on Rickmansworth Road.

Watford District Cottage Hospital, now known as Victoria House.

Watford District Cottage Hospital, which is now known as Victoria House.

The building, now called Victoria House, is still in remarkably good condition and is home to offices and a private company called My Ultra Baby, where you can get a 2D, 3D or 4D scan of your baby and attend antenatal classes. On the exterior of the building there are two sandstone tablets containing the busts of Queen Victoria and King Edward VII. Although they are badly eroded you can still make out the images quite easily.

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