King George V Hospital History

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One of the 8 pavilion wards c1930

Built by the Metropolitan Asylums Board as a Tuberculosis Isolation Hospital in 1922 (originally known as Highdown Sanatorium), KGV was at the cutting edge of TB research and treatment for forty years. It was instrumental in pioneering development of drug therapy (streptomycin) to combat TB and the manufacture of Iron Lung equipment. KGV had a smaller sister hospital just 2 miles to the west: Milford Hospital ( formerly Milford Sanatorium )

Groves--small
1960’s Admin and Dining Hall Eric Sim collection

The King George V Hospital was constructed at an initial cost of £215,000 on an open field site surrounded by trees. The land was originally part of the Busbridge Hall estate. Chessums were the builders working under post-war pressure to complete on time and on budget. Original plans intended that the entrance would be from Hambledon Road, with a long drive approaching the star formation building layout. (The route is probably marked by a line of Poplar trees still in evidence between Hares Grove, the Superintendent’s house, and the road. Cost cuts prevented this and the Salt Lane entrance remained the only way in with porter’s gatehouse. Buildings on site included many isolated wards connected by covered open sided paths in a star formation, canteen, chapel, kitchens, pharmacy, Library, X-ray and operating theatre (extended in 1950’s), nurses homes (1940 & 1960’s), admin block, greenhouses, patients leather workshops, snooker room, tuck shop, mortuary, engineering, boiler with chimney for the overhead piped heating.

KGV Tower then now
The tower and admin block: 1995 prior to demolition, and in 1947

Most buildings were brick built (pebble-dash rendered) with concrete floors (innovative in their day) under slate roofs. The majority of Wards were single storey with central corridors and glazed pavilion at the end. These were demolished in the 1970’s.
The hospital was only connected to mains drainage in the later years and originally sewage was discharged into the field to the SW of the crossroads (see ornate soil vent pipe at crossroads).

The hospital was also a significant horticultural site, the orchard, extensive range of trees and vegetation being laid out by the first medical superintendent Mr James Watt (an arboriculturist) in the 1920’s. A farm sited at Hydestile crossroads (now mostly demolished) was used for patient rehabilitation.

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Many patients were from London and upto the late 50’s it was exclusively male. The long term nature of their incarceration and treatment meant that patients and staff built strong friendships. Most staff and patients speak of their time at Hydestile as being “the best of times”. Indeed many patients came back to work at the hospital.

The site expanded considerably in 1941 with the building of a hutted military hospital on adjacent farmland to the South East. This soon became the home for St. Thomas’ Hospital Lambeth, evacuated from their London site due to extensive bombing. St. Thomas’

The Hospital ceased to be for diseases of the chest in 1969 and adopted a variety of other roles and eventually closed in 1988. The buildings were demolished in 1997, leaving only the gatehouse, Hares Grove (former Superintendents house) and six staff cottages, all now refurbished. Other buildings in the area owned at some time by the Hospital included Ryecroft, Hunt Cottages and Wayside.

Unedited Video from 1995

This YouTube video was recorded in around 1995.   At the time I lived on site in one of the former nurses cottages.  The site had been stripped by vandals and used for paintball and general destruction.  After many planning battles the site was eventually destined for re-development. The diggers came in and flattened it all.   A sad day for the many who’s lives had been touched by their time at Hydestile.  I had recorded this on 8mm tape and stumbled upon the tape recently.  I dumped it to my Mac and ran a soundtrack underneath, so please excuse the rough quality.

TB Hospital Godalming
KGV in 2016 and 1970 – click to see animated transition from now to then

The 52 acre site has now been redeveloped for housing – known as The Hydons, Salt Lane, Hydestile. Little trace remains of the KGV although one of the tennis courts has been refurbished and forms part of one garden. In the woods to the north of the new houses there are traces of the foundations of nurse and doctors accommodation, hidden in the undergrowth. Likewise the steps and footings of 1&2 Salt Lane remain close to the new footpath. These were temporary buildings used by the original builders of the Hospital. No. 1 was demolished after 1945 and number 2 (latterly a shop) in the 1970’s.

Images from Historic England archive:

The chapel and hall in the 1990’s
IMG
Ray Galton as a TB Patient in Milford 1949

The hospital also benefited from celebrity support over the years from Leslie Phillips, James Robertson Justice and Terry Scott, who were regular visitors. As an interesting snapshot of what it was like to be a patient you’d be well directed to view a BBC2 sit-com from the 90’s “Get Well Soon” co-written by Ray Galton. He drew upon his experience as a patient in the nearby Milford Hospital (linked to KGV) during the late 40’s and early 50’s. He met his long time comedy writing partner Alan Simpson there and together they wrote their first comedy radio scripts during their enforced stay in hospital. Within 10 years they were the UK’s foremost comedy writers, famous for Hancock and Steptoe. Their famous Hancock’s Half Hour radio episode “The Sunday Afternoon” is a clever observation of the boredom that must have been repeated often during their many years treatment for TB.

1963: The Story of KGV

By Dr. J.V. Hurford      As published in the KGV Gazette Summer 1963

My predecessor, Dr James Watt, wrote this article in 1954, (he retired in 1948). I modified it for the issue of August 1957, and here it is again, brought upto date.

The need for sanatoria for London patients was foreseen in 1914, when sufficient land for three hospitals was purchased. Building of King George V Sanatorium, the first of these, started after the First World War, and it was finished and opened in 1922.  The two huts still in use are reputed to have housed the workmen!  (1 & 2 Salt Lane? sic).  The new Hospital was to have been called Highdown Sanatorium, but by command of’ the King, who had been invited to attend the opening but was unable to be present, the name was changed to King George V Sanatorium.

It was administered by the Metropolitan Asylums Board (whose crest is over the entrance to the Administrative Block), until 1929, when the London County Council took over, only to give way in 1948 to the South West Metropolitan Regional Hospital Board, With local control vested in the Godalming, Milford and Liphook Group Hospital Management Committee. Recently, this Management Committee area became merged with that of’ Guildford, and the controlling body is now the Guildford and Godalming Hospital Management Committee.

1928. King George V, seven years after opening. Photo Britain from Above
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c1935: KGV – note operating theatre block newly constructed.
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1973: KGV and the 1940’s hutted hospital of St. Thomas’ Hospitals. This was just prior to demolition of pavilions

When I wrote in 1957, my thoughts ranged back over the period from 1922 to that year, the period of the modern treatment of tuberculosis, as being mirrored in the story of K.G.V., there were so many changes.  Patients, and perhaps even doctors and nurses, entering in this “Anti-biotic Era” – when successful treatment is difficult enough, though usually achieved – know little or nothing of the strenuous methods of treating tuberculosis which preceded it.  Surgery played a great part.   The first surgeon was appointed in 1929, and the Theatre and X-Ray Department were built in 1934.  At one stage fifty per cent of tuberculosis patients had major surgery of the chest, usually very successful; now perhaps only five per cent require it.

The Hospital expanded over the years both staff and buildings.  Of the latter I have already mentioned the Theatre Block, the Canteen was built in 1936; an additional Wing to what is now the Nurses’ Home was added in 1945, the Theatre Annexe in 1953, the Respiratory Function Unit in 1955, a new Patients’ Library in 1958, a messroom exterior (now the Domestic Staff sitting room) in 1959, and Nurses’ Home No.3 in 1960.

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Admin block looking North c1931
1931 postcard
1931

At one time, what is now the Staff Restaurant was a dining-room for perhaps a hundred up-patients. Gradually, the numbers of these shrank as methods of treatment changed, and patients were discharged earlier, until the present conversion was made two years ago.  In the immediate future it is planned to erect a large hut on the rising ground by the main car-park, to be used as a playroom for visitors’ children, and as a Staff’ club room.

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Staff 1960″s

But of course the most striking change is in the nature of’ the work carried out in the Hospital. From being a Sanatorium for the tuberculous, it came to treat also non-tuberculous chest conditions, hence the present name: King George V Hospital for Diseases of the Chest; and then some patients with other than chest diseases – a limited number of orthopaedic and geriatric cases – were admitted. There is a lot to be said for this departure from the restricted area of’ our disease, even were there now sufficient tuberculous patients to fill the beds, for variety is a stimulant to the interest and intelligence of doctors and nurses. ‘ It is odd perhaps that not many of our patients come from the immediate neighbourhood, which is catered for by Milford Chest Hospital “down the road”, but from beyond this area, from London, Aldershot and Farnham and sometimes as far away as the South Coast. We have the Respiratory Function (“Puff and Blow”) Unit for this Region, and are also part of the regional Chronic Bronchitic Unit.

I wonder when another revision of this article will be called for, and if I shall write it. It is certain that “K.G.V. ” will go on for many years and probably it will change in many particulars as time goes by.  There has always been something human and genuine in the atmosphere of the Hospital; let us hope that nothing changes that!

KGV Gazette Summer 1963

1968 Historical Note:   By Dr. J.V. Hurford, Superintendent

As published in the last ever KGV Gazette Summer 1968 upon the closing of the Hospital


The Highdown Sanatorium which started at Hydestile in 1922 was soon, by gracious permission, allowed to take the name of “King George the Fifth”… However, it is told that his Majesty, when asked if he would condescend to come to the opening {in 1924) said: “Not on your life – visit a T. B. hospital – I might catch it ” – or words to that effect. These fears were felt by dwellers in the locality, even by their G. P. s, who met the choice of site with as much opposition as now would be offered to an aerodrome for jumbo jets.  Though the sanatorium was modern for the time (incorporating an early form of re-inforced concrete in its pavilion walls), the money which the authority {then the Metropolitan Asylums Board – crest over the entrance to the administrative block) was prepared to spend on it ran out before the plans could be fulfilled, so that the main entrance was from a narrow lane (Salt Lane) rather than by a more imposing approach from the Hambledon Road.

c1925 before the building of the 1941 Emergency Hutted Hospital (note the tent in the field and the long time missing, 1 & 2 Salt Lane) https://www.britainfromabove.org.uk/en/image/EPW023439

There are aerial photographs which show the site in the early twenties. Though surrounded apparently by forest (the Hare’s Grove which gave a name to the Medical Superintendent’s house) the actual grounds were quite bare.  The beautiful limes and birches and ornamental trees and shrubs may be credited to Dr. James Watt – a canny gardener as well as a towering medical figure – and grew up during his reign. The hospital really was in the country (in 1935 when I first saw it as a member of a visiting D. P. H. class from London, I half wondered if we should ever find our way back) and in its building workmen were accommodated in wooden chalets, used for many years as staff quarters, and plans and materials stored in two wooden huts which still do service though very decrepit.

In 1949 the wards were still without heating, other than the thin pipes under the windows designed, so it was said, to reduce condensation – in itself unlikely since windows had to be kept open.  A few years later this was remedied, but the previous absence of heating was symptomatic of an age, the age of the “cure”, based on ‘Sanatorium principles’ of fresh air, good food, rest, graduated exercise.  This age lasted into the ‘antibiotic era’ and both were overlapped by that of minor and major surgery.  To those who know tuberculosis as a disease fairly easily treated by chemotherapy, the long periods which started perhaps with Hippocrates and died away in the fifties of this century cannot be imagined or fully understood. Artificial pneumothorax, pneumoperitoneum, thoracoplasty and so on seem almost bizarre in retrospect.

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South facing pavilion

Yet the ‘cure’ and the surgery did save lives. And what seemed spartan routine was much more vital and engrossing.  Quite apart from the attentions of the doctors and nurses a patient’s week could be filled with: occupational therapy, art therapy, typing, learning a language, woodwork, printing, concerts and whist drives, inter-ward sports – shove-halfpenny, table skittles, croquet, billiards etc. There were a silver shield and two cups to be competed for. When Marcus Patterson devised “graduated exercise ” at Frimley he used baskets of stones of various weights. At K.G.V. there were walks increasing in length and then outdoor tasks. Many a patient must have acquired there a love for gardening or even pigs!  “Teebeeland” seemed to be regarded with a wry humour.  Perhaps the uni-sexual nature of the sanatorium (women patients came only in the late fifties) was a trial and the outlook of the authorities far too monastic – rather backward looking.

But in other respects, for many years we were in the van of sanatorium work.  With its first surgeon – Mr. J. E. H. Roberts, whom I always imagine operating with a Petit Caporal hanging to his lower lip – major surgery in anew theatre started in 1933.   K.G.V. took part in all the M.R. C. Trials of the new anti- tuberculous drugs from 1949 onwards. Whilst such units were still rare in the UK a respiratory function laboratory was inaugurated in 1954.The antibiotic era which came with the fifties for some years increased the use of surgery, largely because an umbrella was provided for lung or part-lung removal.

In 1955, of patients admitted with tuberculosis, 58% had a major operation; the figure for 1967 was 3%.  However, what was so amazing was the decline in tuberculosis due to anti- tuberculous drugs.  The great physicians of the past – Robert Philip, Trudeau, Marcus Patterson – could never have imagined it.  K.G.V., like other sanatoria (or Hospital for Diseases of the Chest as it became) began to admit patients with other complaints. Since these stayed a shorter time, the turnover accelerated.  In 1951 there were 401 admissions (354 tuberculous), in 1967, 1358 (135 tuberculous).

Operating Theatre, date unknown

Starting under the rule of the M.A .B., the hospital became a jewel in the crown of the gargantuan London County Council in 1929, and in 1948 of course entered the National Health Service. These authorities appeared to differ in administrative approach, but of course this depended on other things – the changing conception of disease, uniformity and availability of finance over the country rather than a metropol is and so on.

The War did not alter things very much, -it saw the appearance of an E.M.S. hutted hospital, at first under the aegis of K. G. V., then of the Australian Army Medical Corps, and finally St. Thomas’s Hospital, Westminster.  The expatriate staff of the latter organised their lives with the ingenuity and cheerfulness of castaways on a South Sea Island, who know that sooner or later they are bound to be rescued.  Every year they expected this to happen and, finally, after twenty-three years, it did.

K.G.V. has seemed to be blessed by the numbers of sterling people who remained on the staff for very long periods, even at this present date in one or two instances going back to the twenties.  Perhaps other hospitals have been as fortunate, but I doubt it.  Inevitably, sad little ceremonies of farewell have sprinkled later years.  Till the middle-fifties a generous and mutually useful policy had meant the recruitment of many excellent nurses – who happened themselves to have had tuberculosis, and to whom a place on the staff was offered for re-habilitation. These were known for some reason as ‘trainees’, presumably because they could complete training in the B.T.A. certificate (though many already had an S.R.N.). In the later years of the hospital, a Pupil-Nurse training school was set up in conjunction with Haslemere General Hospital, and was successful. In our ‘middle period’ a number of decorative, charming and efficient young things were very much appreciated – these were the ‘Tommy Nurses’ seconded for three months at a time to explore the countryside on their bicycles.

Nursing Sister 1952

The staff has tended to be cosmopolitan.  At one Christmas dinner some years ago, I counted nineteen different nationalities. There were cycles of  “foreigners”  (I refer to those who were not what St. Joan called the ‘Goddam English”): early on Scots and Irish, but mostly Irish, then Italian and Polish or Baltic, then Spanish and Yugo-Slav.  (It was touching to see girls from Northern Italy trying to understand the intrcacies of Scottish dancing!)   And of course, in the last ten years many men and girls from the Commonwealth, all very welcome.

Nurses accommodation looking West from Admin 1950

There were no tremendous events in the history of K.G. V. and smaller happenings it is difficult to select any except at random. The tennis feuds with Milford in which for so long we had an edge. The farewell party to Miss Sheenan in which those still working with her and many who returned for the occasion filled the Large Hall and a large marquee. The annual pantomime devised and written by a select few and performed by a cast which could include a chaplain, a cook or a consultant surgeon, and in which anything might happen – and usually did. The re-union fetes on August Bank Holiday, to which ex-patients returned in large numbers I(Your name escapes me I’m afraid, but I clearly remember your x-ray!’). The weather station – that curious relic of more leisurely days. The night that the safe was stolen from the Hospital Secretary’s office, taken off on a porter’s trolley and abandoned -empty – on Hydon’s Ball. But why recall only these?

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Perhaps one of the more important landmarks was when a prefabricated building (The Cedar Hall) was added in 1964 and a thriving staff social club became possible. Swinging Hydestile! Traditionally the hospital had its ties with London and in later years the link was with Aldershot and Farnham through the chest clinics. It was not wholly unregarded, however, in the immediate neighbourhood, and kind and ever present help was found in the W .V .S and its own League of Friends. Nor must we forget the ‘Not Forgotten’ Association, to which successive generations of patients owed much. And, of course, the Red Cross picture library, that opener of windows not made of glass.

I hope that I have recalled something of the forty seven years of a hospital and with little hint of any sadness that they are finished. And the story is not finished – neither of K.G.V. nor Hydestile. The sanatorium may have gone the way of Trudeau and Schatzalp and the National, Ventnor, and many others, but there is still work to be done of another kind.

Good luck to all who remain – or come – to do it in this very pleasant spot.

J V Hurford, Hospital Gazette 1968

The King George V Hospital for Diseases of the Chest closed in Summer 1968.   Other medical uses were found for some of the other buildings but within a few years the majority were left to become derelict.

Tower
KGV in 1994
The Hospital plan in 1970’s. Note the original road layout at Hydestile Crossroads. By the 70’s the single storey villas had been demolished.

Layout of KGV in the 1970’s (North section)
Layout of KGV in the 1970’s (South section)

Obituary 1958: JAMES WATT, M.D., D.P.H.

James Watt, for many years medical superintendent of King George V Sanatorium, Godalming, Surrey, and chief medical officer of the London County Council’s medical tuberculosis service, died at the country branch of St. Thomas’s Hospital at Hydestile, Godalming, on October 4. He was within two weeks of his 75th birthday.

Dr. James Watt was born in Aberdeenshire on October 17, 1883, the son of William Watt, J.P., and was educated at Robert Gordon’s College, Aberdeen, and at Aberdeen University, where he graduated M.B., Ch.B., with first-class honours, in 1908. Outstandingly successful as a student, he held the John Murray scholarship in 1908 and the Anderson scholarship in 1909-10. He took the D.P.H. in 1911, and proceeded to the M.D., with highest honours, five years later. After graduation he was an assistant, first, in the department of pathology, and then in the department of medical juris-prudence in Aberdeen University. From 1912 to 1922 he held a number of appointments in different parts of the United Kingdom: as deputy medical officer of health for the City of Aberdeen; senior resident medical officer at the Royal National Hospital for Consumption and Diseases of the Chest, Ventnor, Isle of Wight; medical superintendent of the Bradford City Fever and Infectious Diseases Hospital; and medical superintendent of the Downs Sanatorium, Sutton, Surrey. From 1922 to 1948, when he retired, he was medical superintendent of the King George V Sanatorium, Godalming, and chief medical officer of the medical tuberculosis service under the old Metropolitan Asylums Board and subsequently under the London County Council. Dr. Watt was president of the Society of Superintendents of Tuberculosis Institutions in 1924 and 1925 and of the Tuberculosis Society in 1926-1927. A founder-member of the Joint Tuberculosis Council, he later became its chairman. To his widow and family we tender our sympathy.

We are indebted to Dr. G. LIssant Cox for the following appreciation:

The old guard of the original tuberculosis service is thinned again through the death of James Watt, late superintendent of the King George V Sanatorium at Godalming. He was of the pre-1914 vintage, big in body and in mind, contemporary of Ernest Ward, Sir Henry Gauvain, and Jane Walker. Lloyd George’s Insurance Act of 1911, with its special financial arrangements for “sanatorium benefit” and for Exchequer grants for sanatoria and dispensaries, stimulated local authorities to provide buildings and the medical staff to run them. Of those very early in the service, James Watt was one. A brilliant student of the Aberdeen school, he was on the high road to a distinguished academic career when he contracted pulmonary tuberculosis. Fortunately, he made a good recovery, and, like several other medical men and women so affected, obtained, a junior post in a sanatorium and finally emerged as the well known head of the large new London County Council sanatorium which has been visited by nearly all who have come to England in order to see some of the best work in tuberculosis. Watt had a clear, lucid, logical mind, and took a prominent part in tuberculosis affairs. One of the two remaining founder-members of the Joint Tuberculosis Council, he later was one of its outstanding chairmen and did valuable work in the chair and on many committees, work both pioneer and advisory in the tuberculosis field. He was a very keen horticulturist, and this hobby was a real solace and interest in his retirement, especially after a serious motor accident had left him grievously lame, though still cheerful and uncomplaining when I last saw him in London. He was the fortunate possessor of the three important qualities, a clear head, a warm heart, and a stiff back, and he used them to the full.

Dr. G. LIssant Cox

Obituary 1988: John Vernon Hurford

MB BCh BAO(1929) MD(1935) DPH(1935) MRCP(1936) FRCP(1950), b.30 March 1906 d.3 March 1988


John Hurford was born in Dublin, of English parents. His father, Arthur Lionel Hurford, was a civil servant, and had served in the Indian Army, and his mother was the daughter of Ivan Henry Herford, an Army officer. John was educated at Campbell College and Queen’s University, Belfast, from where he graduated with honours, obtaining the gold medal in surgery. From 1930-31 he served as extern surgeon at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast, and for the next three years he worked in general practice in order to support his widowed mother. After her death, he moved to Winsley Sanatorium from where he obtained the diploma in public health, and in 1935 he was awarded his doctorate with commendation. Membership of the College followed in 1936 and he was elected a Fellow in 1949.
To John’s great disappointment, his ardent desire to do military service during the second world war was officially frustrated by his reservation. In 1939 he became assistant physician to William Snell at Colindale Hospital, and for a short period was seconded to Highwood Children’s Hospital. He was subsequently appointed consultant physician to Ealing Chest Clinic, and in 1949 he was appointed physician superintendent at King George V Hospital. This was the large sanatorium near Godalming, administered by the London County Council (later the Greater London Council) as a main treatment centre for pulmonary tuberculosis. He served in that post until the closure of the hospital in 1971. During the period 1949-71 the chest clinics serving the Farnham, Camberley and Aldershot areas were amalgamated and successfully administered under his able supervision. John Hurford was closely involved in research and administration as well as clinical practice, and was honorary secretary to the British Tuberculosis Association from 1943-47. In 1946 he was the prime mover in the formation of the Association’s research committee, to which he was honorary secretary. With his staunch support, this committee played a leading role in the rapid diagnostic and therapeutic advances taking place. For some years he was a member of the joint tuberculosis council which ably advised the Ministry of Health on the development of the chest diseases services. In all these offices his outstanding ability in committee was widely recognized and respected. His methods in the treatment of chest diseases were all encompassing, extending beyond purely medical management to include developments in occupational and art therapy. He always had a full appreciation of his patients’ personal problems which inevitably arose in the long term care of tuberculosis. Being an enthusiastic amateur painter himself, King George V became one of the first hospitals to adopt the principles of art therapy, originated in the early 1940s by Adrian Hill at Midhurst (sic. at King Edward VII Sanatorium ). He also supported the latest developments in occupational therapy. He was well aware of the importance of respiratory physiology in the diagnosis and management of chest diseases and he pressed for and built one of the first laboratories for respiratory function studies in the hospital.

Dr Hurford, Medical Superintendent

Hurford was a kind disciplinarian, who ensured that his hospital was a happy place for both his patients and his staff; his concern was not only for the care of his patients but also for the welfare of all the hospital staff, and he took part in many hospital social activities. He captained the hospital’s tennis team, and was no mean Thespian in the annual pantomimes of which he was usually part author.

As well as his talent for painting in oils, his leisure interests were wide, embracing literature, music and drama. He had a particular interest in the works of Jane Austen and Anthony Trollope, a special love for the music of Bach and Mozart, and he greatly enjoyed the classical theatre.

At the outbreak of war, when they were both medical officers at Highwood Hospital in Essex, he met his beloved wife Olive, the daughter of Francis James Browne, professor in obstetrics, and sister of J C McClure Browne. John himself was the great-grandson of Anthony Todd Thomson [Munk’s Roll, Vol.IV, p.29]. Olive and John were married in November 1939. She was able to continue her career, and she faithfully encouraged her husband in his dedication to his vocation. Latterly she devotedly sustained and cared for him during a prolonged period of failing health. They had two children, a son and a daughter, and they have respectively pursued successful academic careers in science and letters.

One of John Hurford’s colleagues writes ‘…he was an example of honesty, uprightness, open-mindedness and helpfulness. His knowledge was encyclopaedic though in his modesty he never paraded it. My admiration is truly boundless.’

John gave his advice generously and freely and he surely left his mark as a physician, widely regarded as having made a significant contribution not only in the battle against tuberculosis but also in the building of the modern approach to the diagnosis and treatment of thoracic disease.
GM Little, LJ Rowley
[The Times, 17 Mar 1988; Brit.med.J., 1988,296,1204]


1990’s Redevelopment

KGV’s phone number 5222

The hospitals were slowly run down over the decades and by 1988 the wards were empty and many of hutted complex had been removed. Slowly the site became a sanctuary for wild life and ramblers. Undergrowth took over hiding the tennis courts, ancillary buildings in the woods, and the remaining admin buildings. In 1991 the King George V site and the adjacent St. Thomas’ Hospital site were given planning permission for building 16 large houses laid out in a village green style layout. This followed a long and concerted effort by a developer to get permission – initially for refurbishment and creation of an “institutional” building, then demolition and new build of apartments, then 44 medium sized houses. Each time the proposals were refused and the developer revised the designs. Eventually 16 large homes were designed, each sitting in their own large plot. This design was rejected again and the planners insisted on a homes surrounding a common “village green” in the centre. The developer reworked their designs again and permission was finally granted for the development we see now. The outcome was 16 big homes with the houses rotated to fit the resulting smaller plots. The planned landscaping and tree planting of the green was misguided – the nursery cultivation of saplings planted amongst the peripheral woods was not managed and all died in their tubex tubes before they could be planted on the green.

1991: One of the early schemes for 44 new houses that was refused. Note this was before the planners indicated they wanted a lower number of homes around a “Village green” of space. The result was just 16 much bigger homes crammed onto the much smaller individual plots, and the windswept green that no-one uses that you see today.
2022 and the KGV and St Thomas’ site looking SE. Staff cottages, gatehouse and Supt. house remain

Further research:

Note: There maybe possible confusion with the King George V Sanatorium for Sailors at Liphook in Hampshire. This was part of the Seamen’s Hospital Society, opened in 1921 at Bramshott Place, made available for Royal Navy & merchant sailors convalescing from tuberculosis. The majority of pateints in the 1930’s were from London. The recovery rate was low. It was a relatively small hospital, (70 beds) and closed in 1962.

KGV Liphook
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Laura Birch
Laura Birch
4 years ago

Do you have any information on the Woodlands Unit, a 36 bed unit that was part of this site and housed adults with a variety of learning disabilities in the 70s and 80s?

simon
simon
6 months ago
Reply to  Web master

hi laura were was the 36 bed unti be ? was it next to admin block ? might be able to help a little ? my late mother used to work there from early 70’s to early 80’s..if that helps..

Simon robins
Simon robins
2 years ago
Reply to  Laura Birch

My name is Simon from staines upon Thames. I lived on the old site when I was born 1974 we left when I was 6/7 moved to London. My late mother and father worked there.. woodlands from 1972-1984 would be great to speak with people to remember.

Stephan Walford
Stephan Walford
9 months ago
Reply to  Simon robins

Hi Simon, I worked at KGV/Hydestile Jan -74 to April -84 as a maintenance engineer. I remember Sister Robins on Woodlands fairly well, it’s a few years ago now. I think you lived in one of the houses near the switchboard up in the top entrance. Drop me a line if you feel like it !
All the best Stephan.

simon
simon
7 months ago

oh wow your name dont ring any bells but nice to here from you… yes we lived at 5 woodside.. im trying to get all info i can as well interested in the history of the time i was there.. sadly mum sister robins passed away 2015 but had great memories..

Stephan Walford
Stephan Walford
6 months ago
Reply to  simon

Hi Simon, sorry about the delay. I’m a bit tied up at the moment, but please write an email to me and we’ll exchange memories !

All the best, Stephan.
Oh and Merry everything coming up 🙂 !

Stephan Walford
Stephan Walford
6 months ago
Reply to  simon

Can you see my email address by the way, let me know how I can give it to you otherwise. I take it here isn’t a good place for it…

Last edited 6 months ago by Stephan Walford
Stella
Stella
4 years ago

Do you have any info on staff or patients from 1942 to 45 please
Thank you
stella

Anne Dunn
1 year ago
Reply to  Stella

I was at KGV in 1962.. and Miss Sims was the Matron then ..Her brother Eric was also a male nurse there at the time ..He was an amateur photographer and loved taking photos of all the nurses.. He would enter them in competitions… We had quite a few older nurses , that had been at the hospital for a long time…I wish I could remember the names of them …One in particular had been on night duty for many years..too long…she was really as mad as a hatter… She was a good nurse , but didn’t like people or… Read more »

Peter Humber
Peter Humber
3 years ago

I still remember vividly my 5 days , aged 8, 1945 for removal of tonsils and adenoids. My parents were not allowed to visit meeting consequently I cried all week. Where as my brother 4 years older was allowed parental visits. Somewhat old fashioned almost barbaric policy.
At the end I was almost despatched to London but it was realised that I was Local!

Mrs Linda Bolton
Mrs Linda Bolton
3 years ago

Have u got a consultant orthopaedic surgeon called Sarah Allwood Smith working at King George V hospital?

Anne Dunn
3 years ago

i remember this Doctor very well during my time as a nurse at the hospital….Happy days..

Ron Collyer
Ron Collyer
3 years ago
Reply to  Anne Dunn

I was a patient at KGV in 1962 , a Swedish lady surgeon removed half my left
Lung , I was 14 years old , I think
Her name was Doctor Constan can you recall her ???

Anne Dunn
1 year ago
Reply to  Ron Collyer

I remember Dr Komstam
! But he was a man ! There are pictures of him on the site…What ward were you on ? I was on G ward .. I remember quite a few young people having this type of operation ..you must have had TB ? or was it something else ? Did you also take the drugs that were prescribed at the time…?

Last edited 1 year ago by Anne Dunn
John Clifford
John Clifford
2 years ago

Hi there.
The death certificate of my grandmother, Olive Sylvia Clifford, says that she died “Tenth April 1960, King George V Hospital, Hambledon. The certificate was written the next day for Liverpool & Victoria under the Friendly Societies Acts. She had turned 44 on 19 November in the previous year. Cause of death was given as “Carcinoma of the lung”, certified by G M Little MRCS.

Is there any particular significance in the details, or was this a common case? I will happily provide a copy of the certificate if you would find it useful.

Best wishes.

John Clifford
John Clifford
2 years ago
Reply to  Web master

Many thanks.
My dad visited her at Milford. Would she have been moved to KGV at the end, or was KGV given as the location on death certificates even if death occurred at Milford?

Anne Dunn
1 year ago
Reply to  John Clifford

At KGV there was a ward (D) for terminal patients … I cannot imagine that your grandmother would have been moved from Milford..Unless they were short of beds.. That seems to be rather inhumane really….

Anne Dunn
1 year ago
Reply to  Web master

Iremember Dr Little ..And if I remember correctly , he wasn’t little at all !

Anne Dunn
1 year ago

I’m feeling sad today …December 2020… Its been a tough year for everyone on the planet… I’m In Canada now , and perhaps I shouldn’t have stopped by here today.. I was happy at KGV.. and it was all so long ago now.. I remember Christmas 1962… I was on G ward , and Sister Newton was our Nurse in Charge…She was so nice .. She had got hold of a great amount of evergreen branches , and told us to get to it , and decorate the ward. ! We did a good job , and in the evening… Read more »

Ian Cawkwelll
Ian Cawkwelll
1 year ago
Reply to  Anne Dunn

Lovely words Anne

Anne
8 months ago
Reply to  Web master

Hi Paul ! I remember you from a few years back when I posted some of my Photo’s of myself and my mother ! I don’t remember going to any pantomimes at all ! or even hearing about them! The last time I visited the KGV site must have been in 1996..Correct me if I’m wrong , but the hospital was still intact except for the pavilions being removed…. It was like a dream that day. Mum and I wondered all over the place , even going into my ‘Nurses Home ” which was the main one made of brick..… Read more »

Nuria
Nuria
1 year ago

My mum and dad were friends with a couple that worked there in the 1970’s and they lived in one of the cottages in Salt Lane. I remember visiting them on numerous occasions with my parents. Carlos And Tanya were their names Spanish and yugoslavian.

Ms Sandra Wing
Ms Sandra Wing
1 year ago

Hello, I’ve started to research my family tree and have found many photos of my late Dad, John Frederick Wing, with nurses and patients at KGVS, which I believe he spent a quite number of years at. I think it might have been about 7 yrs in all, the photos are 1947/48/49. I know he had a lung removed at some point. He passed away in 1986, having never been a very fit man, in fact his father and sister both died young of chest/TB illness. Is there anyway you can point me in the right direction to find his… Read more »

Anne Dunn
10 months ago
Reply to  Ms Sandra Wing

May I suggest you start looking at the local Archives for documents that are stored in such places…YOu can do this online, But as I have not had much success at this
, Its much better if you go in-person, where historical documents are kept on film .

Anne Dunn
10 months ago
Reply to  Ms Sandra Wing

I would love to see photgraphs of your father and staff during his time at KGV…. I hope you will consider posting them here ?

Rosie Aneja
Rosie Aneja
10 months ago

My memories of this place are rather different to everyone else. I used to cycle here when I was about 12 (in 1992) and we would wander around the deserted buildings and look in awe at various bits of equipment left in the wards. We knew it had been a very special place once, we were respectful, and every visit was a real adventure, like being in the Famous Five and trying to find clues. Such a treat to see photos of it as it was and read stories of people being and working there when it was a working… Read more »

Williams David T H
Williams David T H
10 months ago
Reply to  Rosie Aneja

I was very interested to read the recent account of King George V Hospital Hydestile, adjacent to the site of wartime prefab of, ‘St Thomas’ Hospital in the Country’. In the 1960 -70s patients needing extended convalescence or non-urgent simple elective surgery, were sent to Hydestile. If necessary, the hospital almoner paid the patient’s train fare to Milford.  My first job, after qualifying, was house surgeon in the Oral Surgery Department at St Thomas’s in Lambeth Palace Road  At 11.30 every Tuesday I walked up the slope from Tommy’s to Waterloo, caught the 12.15 to Milford where a  taxi waited. The operating list,… Read more »

NARJALA BHASKER
NARJALA BHASKER
9 months ago

Sometimes you just have to be impressed by the internet! I was recently scanning some old transparencies from my uncle Dr P Uma Rao, who was a chest/TB physician in India, when I came across a couple that were just labelled “K.G.V. 1950”. I knew vaguely that he had been in the UK in the early 1950’s. Some web searching and lots of luck turned up the King George V Sanatorium as his likely hospital in England. He also had some slides labelled “Hydon’s Ball 1950” and that clinched it.  Then luckily this site came up. Even more remarkably I… Read more »

August-1950-B-block-1-1024x487.jpeg
NARJALA BHASKER
NARJALA BHASKER
9 months ago

Ad here’s the second picture I mentioned.

sports1950.jpg
NARJALA BHASKER
NARJALA BHASKER
3 months ago
Reply to  Web master

Fascinating! Thank you! I’ll add this additional nugget to my notes. Best Regards

Bhasker

simon
simon
6 months ago

web master when did you move into the cottage ? my late mum and dad used to know them and the kellys and their neighbours.. got great memories of the hospital and its grounds i started looking for photos but not found many as yet..