Salvation Army Mothers' Hospital, Hackney, London
The Salvation Army Mothers' Hospital was opened by the Salvation Army in 1913 at 153-156 (now renumbered as 145-153) Lower Clapton Road, Hackney. It replaced the Army's Ivy House Maternity Hospital on Mare Street, Hackney, which had become inadequate for its purpose. Like its predecessor, the hospital provided facilities for unmarried pregnant girls and women, whom most other maternity hospitals would not deal with.
The foundation stone for the new building was laid on July 4th, 1912, by Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll, who also performed the official opening on 18th October (St Luke's Day), 1913, accompanied by her husband, the Duke.
The roadside frontage of the Hospital consisted of the existing three pairs of semi-detached houses, between which archways were built giving access to the main part of the site at the rear. The funds available meant that the initial phase of building provided only 48 beds. By 1935, however, there was accommodation for 90 mothers and 90 infants.
During the First World War, the Hospital began to admit the widows of servicemen who had been killed in the conflict. This was then extended to the wives of those serving in the forces and, after the war, any woman could be admitted, whether married or not.
In September, 1940, two ward blocks were destroyed during a bombing raid, but fortunately there were no casualties. However, the number of beds available was reduced to 50, causing problems at a time when the number of single mothers was rising.
In 1948, the hospital became part of the new National Health Service and officially known as The Mothers' Hospital (Salvation Army). The Hospital retained links with the Salvation Army, whose members still participated in the establishment's staffing.
The Hospital closed in 1986 and its services were relocated to the new Homerton Hospital.
The frontage of the Lower Clapton Road site still exists although the rear portion of the buildings was demolished and is now occupied by a housing development known as Mothers' Square.
Note: many repositories impose a closure period of up to 100 years for records identifying individuals.
- London Metropolitan Archives, 40 Northampton Road, London EC1R OHB. (The Ancestry website also has LMA records relating to workhouses and other institutions — more details.)
- Booth, William In Darkest England, and the Way Out (1890, London: International Headquarters of the Salvation Army)
- Sandall, Robert The History of the Salvation Army (1955, London: Nelson)
- Bartley, Paula Prostitution: Prevention and Reform in England, 1860-1914 (2000, Routledge)
- Finnegan, Frances Poverty and Prostitution: A Study of Victorian Prostitutes in York (1979, CUP)
Except where indicated, this page () © Peter Higginbotham. Contents may not be reproduced without permission.