St Clement's
Bow

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Overview

View of new public space behind John Denham building
View of new public space behind John Denham building

Linden Homes were selected as Greater London’s (GLA) Development Partner in October 2012 to deliver the redevelopment of St Clement’s hospital.

St Clement’s redevelopment will be London’s first Community Land Trust (CLT) whereby the freehold of the development will be held in Trust by the Ricardo Community Foundation. The proposal for St Clement’s is a principally residential led scheme with the provision of up to 250 units accommodated in existing and new buildings.

Linden Homes are responsible for the delivery of the redevelopment and marketing/sale of the private units. 35% (by habitable room) of the total number of habitable rooms will be affordable accommodation. Of the affordable element 70% of the units will be owned by Peabody for social rent and the remainder (30% 21 – 25 units) will be owned by the East London Community Land Trust (ELCLT) for Shared Ownership.

Since being selected in October Linden Homes and their architects John Thompson and Partners have been working with the community and other key stakeholders to develop a vision for the site in preparation for submission of a planning application in spring this year.

For further information about the Community Planning Process, please contact Ieva Ansaberga by email ia@jtp.co.uk or call on the freephone community telephone number displayed below.

Phone Number: 0800 0126 730

Postcode: E3 4LL

Location

Go to Google Maps

News

A New Vision for St Clement's Community Forum 2

The local community was invited to the second St Clement's Community Forum at 7pm on Thursday 11 April 2013 at Bow Road Methodist Church. The Forum was an opportunity to hear an update presentation on the proposals for the site and ask questions about the details of the scheme.

Following the Community Forum the design team will finalise the plans for St Clement’s prior to the submission of the detailed planning application in May. 

A pre-application exhibition will be held in early to mid-May to provide an opportunity to view the final proposals and leave comments before the submission of the Planning Application. Members of the design team will be on hand to talk through the proposals and answer questions.

11/04/2013


A New Vision for St Clement's Community Forum 1

At the St Clement's Community Planning Workshops in December 2012 participants expressed the desire to continue to be involved in the development of the proposals for the future of the site.  In response to this, the first St Clement's Community Forum was held at 7pm on Thursday 17 January at Bow Road Methodist Church.  The Forum was an opportunity for people to view a recap of the Vision for St Clement's created through the Planning Workshops, hear a project update and then take part in round table groups to discuss the emerging proposals for the site.

17/01/2013


Creating a New Vision for St Clement's Workshops

Creating a New Vision for St Clement's Workshops

Around 350 people participated in the Creating a New Vision for St Clement’s Hospital Community Planning Workshops on Thursday 29 November and Saturday 1 December to help plan a new vision for the site and its relationship to neighbouring areas.

The event was opened by Richard Blakeway, Deputy Mayor of London for Housing, Land and  Property who welcomed the opportunity for people of all ages to help shape this landmark  project.  Pupils from Wellington school then presented their ideas for the site to the assembled audience.  Over the two days participants took part in guided site walkabouts, discussion workshops and hands-on planning design groups.  Following the public sessions the team from JTP analysed and summarised the outcomes and prepared an illustrated vision for St Clement's which was reported back to the community on Thursday 13 December at Bow Road Methodist Church.

Click here to view the PDF of the Exhibition.

01/12/2012


Creating a New Vision for St Clement's Report Back

Following the public sessions on 29 November and 1 December, the team from JTP analysed and summarised the outcomes and prepared an illustrated vision for the St Clement’s site, which was presented to the local community on Thursday 13 December evening at Bow Road Methodist Church.  A key desire amongst the local community was to continue to be involved in the development of the proposals.  In response to this it was announced at the Report Back that the first meeting of the St Clement’s Community Forum will be held at 7pm on Thursday 17 January 2013 at Bow Road Methodist Church.

Click here to view the PDF of the Report Back broadsheet.

13/12/2012


Creating a New Vision for St Clement’s Launch

The Launch of the Creating a New Vision for St Clement's Hospital Community Planning Event on 14 November marked the beginning of the co-creation of a new vision for this important site.  The event was opened by the Mayor of Tower Hamlets and set the scene for the forthcoming St Clement's community planning process.

14/11/2012


St Clement's Pre-Planning Application Exhibition

The local community was invited to the Pre-Planning Application Exhibition from 6:30pm – 8pm on Wednesday 5 June and Thursday 6 June 2013 at Central Foundation Girls' School, Harley Grove, Bow E3 2AT. 

The exhibition was open to everybody and provided an opportunity to view the latest proposals for St Clement’s site prior to the submission of the planning application in mid-June.  Members of the team were on hand to talk through the proposals and answer questions.

To view the exhibition, visit http://www.jtp.co.uk/community-planning-projects/st-clements/

29/05/2013


MP for Planning Tours St Clement's Hospital

On Tuesday, MP Nick Boles, Minister for Planning and Development, joined Richard Blakeway, London’s Deputy Mayor for Housing, Land and Property and Adrian Bohr, Managing Director for Linden Homes Eastern, along with representatives from architects John Thompson & Partners and the East London Community Land Trust, on a tour around St Clement’s Hospital to learn about the proposed regeneration for the East London site.  The MP’s visit coincides with the imminent submission of a detailed planning application for the former hospital site on behalf of Galliford Try / Linden Homes to the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.

On the tour, the team shared the Vision for St Clement’s, which will see the former workhouse infirmary in Bow transformed into a mixed-use community.  The proposal for the site includes 252 dwellings, of which 73 are in refurbished buildings, green spaces including a kitchen garden, and various community and commercial uses at the front of the site in the John Denham Building and Bungalow Building. The St Clement’s Hospital site will also be home to the first Community Land Trust owned housing.

Linden Homes are responsible for the delivery of the redevelopment as well as the marketing and sale of the private dwellings, while 35 % of accommodation will be affordable (by habitable room). Of the affordable element 70% of the will be owned by Peabody for social rent and the remainder (30%) will be owned by the East London Community Land Trust (ELCLT) for Shared Ownership.

The design team worked closely with the local community through a Community Planning Process involving over 300 people to develop the Vision and final proposals for the site.

A planning decision is expected in the autumn.

21/06/2013


History

TIMELINE

1834 - Poor Law Amendment Act defined the organisation of Poor Law Unions

1848-49 - City of London Workhouse for the City of London Union, known as Bow Workhouse, opened 1849. Built by the Board of Guardians of the City of London, designed by Richard Tress to accommodate 1200 persons

1867 - Poor Law Reform Act that led to more specific workhouse infirmaries

1869 - Amalgamation of West and East London Unions with the City of London Union

1874 - Bow Workhouse became Bow Infirmary

1909 - Bow Infirmary closed and lay vacant – the Infirmary had been amalgamated with the Homerton Workhouse

1911-12 - The Infirmary was adapted and became The City of London Institution, Bow for the chronic sick in March

1912 – with a certificate for 600 inmates, ‘paupers who are not able bodied but at the same time cannot be included in the infirmary patients’ (cost £11,000), managed by the City of London Board of Guardians

1930 - Local Government Bill abolished the Poor Law Unions London County Council took over the Infirmary and undertook a major building programme

1935 - Hospital affected by a major fire in the west wing

1936-37 - Renamed St Clement’s Hospital in May 1936, after the City of London church of the same name.
Major project including nurses’ home (cost £29,966)

1940-44 - Damaged by wartime bombing – with a loss of 214 beds, the chapel lost its roof, the western former women’s wing was destroyed and much more was damaged

1948 - Taken over by Regional Hospital Board at the inception of the National Health Service. It was partially derelict at this time

1959 - Converted to a psychiatric hospital by the Regional Board

1968 - Became part of the London Hospital (St Clement’s)

2005 - Hospital closed, site available for redevelopment

2011 - Homes and Communities Agency start the tender process for a new residential use.

The historic significance of the site lies in its development history that is in five distinct phases: workhouse, workhouse infirmary, institution, a general hospital under the London County Council and latterly under the National Health Service.

WORKHOUSE

The workhouse, as a central place for assisting the poor, has its origins in occasional experiments in earlier centuries. As the speed of economic change increased from the later eighteenth century and as the extent of poverty grew, so more areas began to pool resources and provide workhouses in the name of both efficiency and deterrence. The real change came with the advent of the New Poor Law in 1834. Under the Poor Law Amendment Act, parishes – the traditional unit of local government – were combined into Poor Law Unions, and instructed to build workhouses to provide ‘indoor relief’. Although ‘outdoor relief’ continued, caring for paupers in their homes, the emphasis was now on institutional assistance that was often both harsh and degrading.

Many areas embraced change enthusiastically; others were slower to respond. Each Union appointed a Board of Guardians answerable to the ratepayers and to the Poor Law Commission in London. The City of London Union took longer than many areas to provide a workhouse, establishing one on the Bow Road in east London to designs by Richard Tress.

Plan of Workhouse 1848

/live/community_projects/library/stclements_history1.jpg

This shows the orthogonal plan with a central spine

The landscape is focused at the Bow Row frontage and in the enclosed therapeutic gardens

Key

a. Reception Block (1 John Denham Building)
b. Chapel (now demolished)
c. Administration Block (4)
d. Ward Blocks (5 North Block on east side)
e. Kitchen (6 Catering Block)
f. Dining Room (now demolished)
g. Laundry (9/10 Occupational Therapy)
h. Infirmary (15 South Block)
i. Mortuary (16 Generator)
j. Workshops (17 Old Boiler House)

Richard Tress, architect, Bow Road (St Clement’s Hospital)

Richard Tress, the architect for Bow Road workhouse, predominately designed in an Italianate style. He had published Modern churches: designs, estimates, and essays in 1841 before he embarked on Bow Road. Italianate styles dominated the book. The Corn Exchange, Saffron Walden in Essex (1847), Ravensknowle near Huddersfield in the West Riding of Yorkshire (1860), and the City of London workhouse in Bow Road (1849) are among his most important surviving commissions. In 1856 Tress also designed the Central London District School at Hanwell, Middlesex for the amalgamated Poor Law Unions that included the City of London. Parts of it survive, and this too was Italianate.

The buildings commissioned from Tress for the Poor Law Unions were on a substantial and relatively lavish scale: Bow Road cost £55,000 when first built, Hanwell School cost £45,000. These were both in the second great wave of workhouse building. Over 350 new workhouses had been built in England between 1834 and 1840, many on square and radial plans that emphasized the punitive nature of the environment. After 1840, workhouse architecture tended to be less harsh and more showy.

It now became the norm to have a separate entrance block, a linear main block, and a hospital block all running parallel to one another. Around 150 of these corridor-plan workhouses were built in the period 1840-70. Bow Road (St Clement’s Hospital) is a well-preserved and fine exemplar of this type.

In corridor-plan workhouses, the main block generally had a central corridor along its length with rooms off to both sides, unlike earlier designs that were usually one room deep. This main block normally had administrative functions at its centre, often surmounted by a tower containing a large water tank, with kitchens and dining hall to the rear, creating a T-shaped building. Many of these new buildings were in the north of England, which had initially held out against building new workhouses, and in London. They were often Italianate, with gables, pinnacles, projecting bays and Venetian windows, a style that was fashionable but also less gruesome than the utilitarian and gothic earlier wave.

After 1870, fashions in workhouse design changed again, moving to a pavilion style that was already becoming prevalent in hospital design, influenced by the reforms instigated by Florence Nightingale.

Bow Workhouse 1849-1874

/live/community_projects/library/stclements_history2.jpg

Tress’s designs for the Bow Workhouse conformed to the model type. The accommodation for the paupers was regimented into a symmetrical plan that subdivided the sexes, and isolated the infirm and feverish into separate blocks. The plan illustrated in The Builder identifies all the areas and functions except the mortuary; that appears on the Ordnance Survey plan, located on the boundary wall, but is not shown on The Builder plan.

The front block contained receiving rooms for men on the left and women on the right with the porters’ lodge in the centre and a grand committee room for the Guardians on the first floor. The central spine of the site contains the chapel (demolished), catering block and dining hall (demolished), men and married couples to the left, women and children to the right. Workshops (demolished), a laundry and workrooms separate the rear part of the site, where the infirmary block and the fever ward building (demolished) were located. The spaces around the buildings were divided into compounds known as airing grounds, where the inmates could exercise. Originally the privies would have been located in these outside areas. Covered walkways linked the main wards to the chapel and the catering building.

The layout of the workhouse partly survives, with the major exceptions of the loss of the west wing through bombing, loss of the chapel, and loss of the dining room (demolished to make way for the nurses’ home).

It is clear that from the start this workhouse was anticipating admitting mainly infirm and unruly inmates, and there is little space given to industry or the work tasks that are associated with many other workhouses.

INFIRMARY

In the mid-nineteenth century the only health care provided by central or local authorities was for paupers. All other hospitals were voluntary hospitals and were funded by charitable donations.

Bow Infirmary 1874-1909

/live/community_projects/library/stclements_history3.jpg

In the 1860s there had been an outcry against the conditions in the workhouse infirmaries and the growing numbers of sick and infirm in the workhouses in London. Numerous reports were written that culminated in the Metropolitan Poor Law Amendment Act 1867. It set out to remove lunatics and imbeciles from London workhouses and to provide separate accommodation for fever and smallpox cases.

Consequently in 1874 the Bow Workhouse was transferred to being under medical supervision, taking in sick paupers from a wider catchment area and from neighbouring workhouses.

Bacon’s map of 1888 shows how the Infirmary is close by both the Cemetery and the Whitechapel Union Workhouse in South Grove. Terraced houses back onto the boundary walls and include an almshouse on the western boundary. The wider surrounding area was densely populated, and is in close proximity to industry and the docks. By 1893 the tramway passed along Bow Road in front of the Infirmary.

A new entrance with linking passage was extended to Bow Road; this can be seen in the photograph of 1905. By this time the wards will have seemed out of date, as new ward design in the 1870s emphasised the importance of cross ventilation which was not provided in the workhouse layout. Purpose-built infirmaries were typically built on a pavilion layout with cross ventilation in all the wards.

In 1909, the City of London Union vacated the Bow Road site. It had decided to concentrate its work elsewhere, at Homerton in the former East London Union workhouse, which had just been substantially enlarged and brought up to date.

INSTITUTION

The City of London Institution, Bow 1912-1930

The buildings lay empty for around three years until they were reopened after deliberations between the London Guardians Board and the City Guardians. The East London Advertiser recorded that the new Institution received males from the Metropolitan Unions who ‘while not requiring the skilled medical nursing treatment given in the Poor Law Infirmaries, are in need of more medical and nursing care than can be given in the Workhouses’. There was certified accommodation for 651 inmates in the scheme and an intention to provide a male nursing training school within the Institution to supply nurses to kindred organisations. Paying patients were charged £12s 6d a week.

Sanitary towers providing internal water closets and basins were built onto the old infirmary and the main wards, the boiler house and laundry blocks were extended, a two storey extension was added to the rear of the front block (John Denham Building) and a new front porch or lodge was added to the side of the entrance corridor.

THE LCC AND ST CLEMENT’S HOSPITAL

The Local Government Act of 1929 empowered local authorities to appropriate former workhouses and workhouse infirmaries. A Health Committee could then develop the hospital as a general hospital, providing hospital beds to the general public where previously beds were available only to paupers. London County Council took over Bow Institution in 1930 and made changes to adapt it to becoming a general hospital. At this time the standing and social acceptability of hospitals was rising and the numbers of patients increased.

In 1935 a fire in the western, former women’s wing, as shown in the press photograph, caused considerable damage but without loss of life and this was made good again. The hospital needed to expand to cope with rising numbers of patients, and so the nurses’ home was built on the site of the old dining hall in 1936-37.

The renaming of the Institution as St Clement’s Hospital in 1936, after a City of London church, was partly in recognition of the long link to the City, while by this time there was a move away from the idea of an Institution and towards a general hospital open to all.

Before the 1960s, it was common for nurses – who were almost always single women – to live on a hospital site or near at hand, in specially designated and often purpose-designed nurses’ homes. All the major London hospitals were building or converting nurses’ homes from the later nineteenth century onwards. As a nearby example, Tredegar House, immediately opposite St Clement’s, was opened in 1912 as a residence for nurses starting their training at The London Hospital before moving to accommodation at the main site on Whitechapel Road.

St Clement’s was no exception. As the central dining hall had been subdivided and now fallen into disuse, it made an ideal site for a nurses’ home to be built in 1935. Set well within the hospital complex, it needed to make no architectural statement to the outside world. Designed by the LCC architecture department, the home was in a current ‘moderne’ style being widely adopted in hospital and public buildings at the time. A curved window and balcony for the communal space is a nod to prevailing styles with ideas about light and space; otherwise it is a fairly utilitarian and undemonstrative building.

The hospital took a hit from bombing in the Second World War with the loss of the western (female ward) wing, considerable damage to the chapel and the loss of the old fever wards. There still remains the possibility of contamination, particularly in the chapel site and western wing basements. from the war damage. Although the chapel was much damaged it appears from the photographic record by the Royal Commission on Historical Monuments to have been left standing in 1949, only being demolished after the National Health Service had taken over the site.

NHS TO CLOSURE

National Health Service 1948

The National Health Service was inaugurated on 5 July 1948; following this, the NHS ran St Clement’s. The concept of healthcare for everyone was established. The hospital was a general hospital with a psychiatric specialism.

The RCHM photographs record the state of the central buildings in 1947 and the repairs carried out by the NHS in 1949. These show that the committee room of the Board of Guardians had survived but repairs were necessary to the roof and the interior. The western wing was demolished and the catering block was re-roofed. Also, the clock tower on the John Denham Building was demolished post-1949.

The chapel remained after 1949 but it had sustained substantial damage to the roof. This was demolished at some point and was replaced around 1966 by a two-storey timber building. It masks the scar of the loss of the chapel, but has no value in itself.

The rendered scars of the western wing and the chapel require particular attention in any refurbishment programme.

The interiors were much altered by the NHS with dropped ceilings, partitions and alterations and insertions to the sanitary arrangements. This can be seen in the record photographs.

St Clement’s Hospital closed its doors in 2005.

View of new public space behind John Denham building
View of new public space behind John Denham building

Linden Homes were selected as Greater London’s (GLA) Development Partner in October 2012 to deliver the redevelopment of St Clement’s hospital.

St Clement’s redevelopment will be London’s first Community Land Trust (CLT) whereby the freehold of the development will be held in Trust by the Ricardo Community Foundation. The proposal for St Clement’s is a principally residential led scheme with the provision of up to 250 units accommodated in existing and new buildings.

Linden Homes are responsible for the delivery of the redevelopment and marketing/sale of the private units. 35% (by habitable room) of the total number of habitable rooms will be affordable accommodation. Of the affordable element 70% of the units will be owned by Peabody for social rent and the remainder (30% 21 – 25 units) will be owned by the East London Community Land Trust (ELCLT) for Shared Ownership.

Since being selected in October Linden Homes and their architects John Thompson and Partners have been working with the community and other key stakeholders to develop a vision for the site in preparation for submission of a planning application in spring this year.

For further information about the Community Planning Process, please contact Ieva Ansaberga by email ia@jtp.co.uk or call on the freephone community telephone number displayed below.

Phone Number: 0800 0126 730

Postcode: E3 4LL

Go to Google Maps

A New Vision for St Clement's Community Forum 2

The local community was invited to the second St Clement's Community Forum at 7pm on Thursday 11 April 2013 at Bow Road Methodist Church. The Forum was an opportunity to hear an update presentation on the proposals for the site and ask questions about the details of the scheme.

Following the Community Forum the design team will finalise the plans for St Clement’s prior to the submission of the detailed planning application in May. 

A pre-application exhibition will be held in early to mid-May to provide an opportunity to view the final proposals and leave comments before the submission of the Planning Application. Members of the design team will be on hand to talk through the proposals and answer questions.

11/04/2013


A New Vision for St Clement's Community Forum 1

At the St Clement's Community Planning Workshops in December 2012 participants expressed the desire to continue to be involved in the development of the proposals for the future of the site.  In response to this, the first St Clement's Community Forum was held at 7pm on Thursday 17 January at Bow Road Methodist Church.  The Forum was an opportunity for people to view a recap of the Vision for St Clement's created through the Planning Workshops, hear a project update and then take part in round table groups to discuss the emerging proposals for the site.

17/01/2013


Creating a New Vision for St Clement's Workshops

Creating a New Vision for St Clement's Workshops

Around 350 people participated in the Creating a New Vision for St Clement’s Hospital Community Planning Workshops on Thursday 29 November and Saturday 1 December to help plan a new vision for the site and its relationship to neighbouring areas.

The event was opened by Richard Blakeway, Deputy Mayor of London for Housing, Land and  Property who welcomed the opportunity for people of all ages to help shape this landmark  project.  Pupils from Wellington school then presented their ideas for the site to the assembled audience.  Over the two days participants took part in guided site walkabouts, discussion workshops and hands-on planning design groups.  Following the public sessions the team from JTP analysed and summarised the outcomes and prepared an illustrated vision for St Clement's which was reported back to the community on Thursday 13 December at Bow Road Methodist Church.

Click here to view the PDF of the Exhibition.

01/12/2012


Creating a New Vision for St Clement's Report Back

Following the public sessions on 29 November and 1 December, the team from JTP analysed and summarised the outcomes and prepared an illustrated vision for the St Clement’s site, which was presented to the local community on Thursday 13 December evening at Bow Road Methodist Church.  A key desire amongst the local community was to continue to be involved in the development of the proposals.  In response to this it was announced at the Report Back that the first meeting of the St Clement’s Community Forum will be held at 7pm on Thursday 17 January 2013 at Bow Road Methodist Church.

Click here to view the PDF of the Report Back broadsheet.

13/12/2012


Creating a New Vision for St Clement’s Launch

The Launch of the Creating a New Vision for St Clement's Hospital Community Planning Event on 14 November marked the beginning of the co-creation of a new vision for this important site.  The event was opened by the Mayor of Tower Hamlets and set the scene for the forthcoming St Clement's community planning process.

14/11/2012


St Clement's Pre-Planning Application Exhibition

The local community was invited to the Pre-Planning Application Exhibition from 6:30pm – 8pm on Wednesday 5 June and Thursday 6 June 2013 at Central Foundation Girls' School, Harley Grove, Bow E3 2AT. 

The exhibition was open to everybody and provided an opportunity to view the latest proposals for St Clement’s site prior to the submission of the planning application in mid-June.  Members of the team were on hand to talk through the proposals and answer questions.

To view the exhibition, visit http://www.jtp.co.uk/community-planning-projects/st-clements/

29/05/2013


MP for Planning Tours St Clement's Hospital

On Tuesday, MP Nick Boles, Minister for Planning and Development, joined Richard Blakeway, London’s Deputy Mayor for Housing, Land and Property and Adrian Bohr, Managing Director for Linden Homes Eastern, along with representatives from architects John Thompson & Partners and the East London Community Land Trust, on a tour around St Clement’s Hospital to learn about the proposed regeneration for the East London site.  The MP’s visit coincides with the imminent submission of a detailed planning application for the former hospital site on behalf of Galliford Try / Linden Homes to the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.

On the tour, the team shared the Vision for St Clement’s, which will see the former workhouse infirmary in Bow transformed into a mixed-use community.  The proposal for the site includes 252 dwellings, of which 73 are in refurbished buildings, green spaces including a kitchen garden, and various community and commercial uses at the front of the site in the John Denham Building and Bungalow Building. The St Clement’s Hospital site will also be home to the first Community Land Trust owned housing.

Linden Homes are responsible for the delivery of the redevelopment as well as the marketing and sale of the private dwellings, while 35 % of accommodation will be affordable (by habitable room). Of the affordable element 70% of the will be owned by Peabody for social rent and the remainder (30%) will be owned by the East London Community Land Trust (ELCLT) for Shared Ownership.

The design team worked closely with the local community through a Community Planning Process involving over 300 people to develop the Vision and final proposals for the site.

A planning decision is expected in the autumn.

21/06/2013


TIMELINE

1834 - Poor Law Amendment Act defined the organisation of Poor Law Unions

1848-49 - City of London Workhouse for the City of London Union, known as Bow Workhouse, opened 1849. Built by the Board of Guardians of the City of London, designed by Richard Tress to accommodate 1200 persons

1867 - Poor Law Reform Act that led to more specific workhouse infirmaries

1869 - Amalgamation of West and East London Unions with the City of London Union

1874 - Bow Workhouse became Bow Infirmary

1909 - Bow Infirmary closed and lay vacant – the Infirmary had been amalgamated with the Homerton Workhouse

1911-12 - The Infirmary was adapted and became The City of London Institution, Bow for the chronic sick in March

1912 – with a certificate for 600 inmates, ‘paupers who are not able bodied but at the same time cannot be included in the infirmary patients’ (cost £11,000), managed by the City of London Board of Guardians

1930 - Local Government Bill abolished the Poor Law Unions London County Council took over the Infirmary and undertook a major building programme

1935 - Hospital affected by a major fire in the west wing

1936-37 - Renamed St Clement’s Hospital in May 1936, after the City of London church of the same name.
Major project including nurses’ home (cost £29,966)

1940-44 - Damaged by wartime bombing – with a loss of 214 beds, the chapel lost its roof, the western former women’s wing was destroyed and much more was damaged

1948 - Taken over by Regional Hospital Board at the inception of the National Health Service. It was partially derelict at this time

1959 - Converted to a psychiatric hospital by the Regional Board

1968 - Became part of the London Hospital (St Clement’s)

2005 - Hospital closed, site available for redevelopment

2011 - Homes and Communities Agency start the tender process for a new residential use.

The historic significance of the site lies in its development history that is in five distinct phases: workhouse, workhouse infirmary, institution, a general hospital under the London County Council and latterly under the National Health Service.

WORKHOUSE

The workhouse, as a central place for assisting the poor, has its origins in occasional experiments in earlier centuries. As the speed of economic change increased from the later eighteenth century and as the extent of poverty grew, so more areas began to pool resources and provide workhouses in the name of both efficiency and deterrence. The real change came with the advent of the New Poor Law in 1834. Under the Poor Law Amendment Act, parishes – the traditional unit of local government – were combined into Poor Law Unions, and instructed to build workhouses to provide ‘indoor relief’. Although ‘outdoor relief’ continued, caring for paupers in their homes, the emphasis was now on institutional assistance that was often both harsh and degrading.

Many areas embraced change enthusiastically; others were slower to respond. Each Union appointed a Board of Guardians answerable to the ratepayers and to the Poor Law Commission in London. The City of London Union took longer than many areas to provide a workhouse, establishing one on the Bow Road in east London to designs by Richard Tress.

Plan of Workhouse 1848

/live/community_projects/library/stclements_history1.jpg

This shows the orthogonal plan with a central spine

The landscape is focused at the Bow Row frontage and in the enclosed therapeutic gardens

Key

a. Reception Block (1 John Denham Building)
b. Chapel (now demolished)
c. Administration Block (4)
d. Ward Blocks (5 North Block on east side)
e. Kitchen (6 Catering Block)
f. Dining Room (now demolished)
g. Laundry (9/10 Occupational Therapy)
h. Infirmary (15 South Block)
i. Mortuary (16 Generator)
j. Workshops (17 Old Boiler House)

Richard Tress, architect, Bow Road (St Clement’s Hospital)

Richard Tress, the architect for Bow Road workhouse, predominately designed in an Italianate style. He had published Modern churches: designs, estimates, and essays in 1841 before he embarked on Bow Road. Italianate styles dominated the book. The Corn Exchange, Saffron Walden in Essex (1847), Ravensknowle near Huddersfield in the West Riding of Yorkshire (1860), and the City of London workhouse in Bow Road (1849) are among his most important surviving commissions. In 1856 Tress also designed the Central London District School at Hanwell, Middlesex for the amalgamated Poor Law Unions that included the City of London. Parts of it survive, and this too was Italianate.

The buildings commissioned from Tress for the Poor Law Unions were on a substantial and relatively lavish scale: Bow Road cost £55,000 when first built, Hanwell School cost £45,000. These were both in the second great wave of workhouse building. Over 350 new workhouses had been built in England between 1834 and 1840, many on square and radial plans that emphasized the punitive nature of the environment. After 1840, workhouse architecture tended to be less harsh and more showy.

It now became the norm to have a separate entrance block, a linear main block, and a hospital block all running parallel to one another. Around 150 of these corridor-plan workhouses were built in the period 1840-70. Bow Road (St Clement’s Hospital) is a well-preserved and fine exemplar of this type.

In corridor-plan workhouses, the main block generally had a central corridor along its length with rooms off to both sides, unlike earlier designs that were usually one room deep. This main block normally had administrative functions at its centre, often surmounted by a tower containing a large water tank, with kitchens and dining hall to the rear, creating a T-shaped building. Many of these new buildings were in the north of England, which had initially held out against building new workhouses, and in London. They were often Italianate, with gables, pinnacles, projecting bays and Venetian windows, a style that was fashionable but also less gruesome than the utilitarian and gothic earlier wave.

After 1870, fashions in workhouse design changed again, moving to a pavilion style that was already becoming prevalent in hospital design, influenced by the reforms instigated by Florence Nightingale.

Bow Workhouse 1849-1874

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Tress’s designs for the Bow Workhouse conformed to the model type. The accommodation for the paupers was regimented into a symmetrical plan that subdivided the sexes, and isolated the infirm and feverish into separate blocks. The plan illustrated in The Builder identifies all the areas and functions except the mortuary; that appears on the Ordnance Survey plan, located on the boundary wall, but is not shown on The Builder plan.

The front block contained receiving rooms for men on the left and women on the right with the porters’ lodge in the centre and a grand committee room for the Guardians on the first floor. The central spine of the site contains the chapel (demolished), catering block and dining hall (demolished), men and married couples to the left, women and children to the right. Workshops (demolished), a laundry and workrooms separate the rear part of the site, where the infirmary block and the fever ward building (demolished) were located. The spaces around the buildings were divided into compounds known as airing grounds, where the inmates could exercise. Originally the privies would have been located in these outside areas. Covered walkways linked the main wards to the chapel and the catering building.

The layout of the workhouse partly survives, with the major exceptions of the loss of the west wing through bombing, loss of the chapel, and loss of the dining room (demolished to make way for the nurses’ home).

It is clear that from the start this workhouse was anticipating admitting mainly infirm and unruly inmates, and there is little space given to industry or the work tasks that are associated with many other workhouses.

INFIRMARY

In the mid-nineteenth century the only health care provided by central or local authorities was for paupers. All other hospitals were voluntary hospitals and were funded by charitable donations.

Bow Infirmary 1874-1909

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In the 1860s there had been an outcry against the conditions in the workhouse infirmaries and the growing numbers of sick and infirm in the workhouses in London. Numerous reports were written that culminated in the Metropolitan Poor Law Amendment Act 1867. It set out to remove lunatics and imbeciles from London workhouses and to provide separate accommodation for fever and smallpox cases.

Consequently in 1874 the Bow Workhouse was transferred to being under medical supervision, taking in sick paupers from a wider catchment area and from neighbouring workhouses.

Bacon’s map of 1888 shows how the Infirmary is close by both the Cemetery and the Whitechapel Union Workhouse in South Grove. Terraced houses back onto the boundary walls and include an almshouse on the western boundary. The wider surrounding area was densely populated, and is in close proximity to industry and the docks. By 1893 the tramway passed along Bow Road in front of the Infirmary.

A new entrance with linking passage was extended to Bow Road; this can be seen in the photograph of 1905. By this time the wards will have seemed out of date, as new ward design in the 1870s emphasised the importance of cross ventilation which was not provided in the workhouse layout. Purpose-built infirmaries were typically built on a pavilion layout with cross ventilation in all the wards.

In 1909, the City of London Union vacated the Bow Road site. It had decided to concentrate its work elsewhere, at Homerton in the former East London Union workhouse, which had just been substantially enlarged and brought up to date.

INSTITUTION

The City of London Institution, Bow 1912-1930

The buildings lay empty for around three years until they were reopened after deliberations between the London Guardians Board and the City Guardians. The East London Advertiser recorded that the new Institution received males from the Metropolitan Unions who ‘while not requiring the skilled medical nursing treatment given in the Poor Law Infirmaries, are in need of more medical and nursing care than can be given in the Workhouses’. There was certified accommodation for 651 inmates in the scheme and an intention to provide a male nursing training school within the Institution to supply nurses to kindred organisations. Paying patients were charged £12s 6d a week.

Sanitary towers providing internal water closets and basins were built onto the old infirmary and the main wards, the boiler house and laundry blocks were extended, a two storey extension was added to the rear of the front block (John Denham Building) and a new front porch or lodge was added to the side of the entrance corridor.

THE LCC AND ST CLEMENT’S HOSPITAL

The Local Government Act of 1929 empowered local authorities to appropriate former workhouses and workhouse infirmaries. A Health Committee could then develop the hospital as a general hospital, providing hospital beds to the general public where previously beds were available only to paupers. London County Council took over Bow Institution in 1930 and made changes to adapt it to becoming a general hospital. At this time the standing and social acceptability of hospitals was rising and the numbers of patients increased.

In 1935 a fire in the western, former women’s wing, as shown in the press photograph, caused considerable damage but without loss of life and this was made good again. The hospital needed to expand to cope with rising numbers of patients, and so the nurses’ home was built on the site of the old dining hall in 1936-37.

The renaming of the Institution as St Clement’s Hospital in 1936, after a City of London church, was partly in recognition of the long link to the City, while by this time there was a move away from the idea of an Institution and towards a general hospital open to all.

Before the 1960s, it was common for nurses – who were almost always single women – to live on a hospital site or near at hand, in specially designated and often purpose-designed nurses’ homes. All the major London hospitals were building or converting nurses’ homes from the later nineteenth century onwards. As a nearby example, Tredegar House, immediately opposite St Clement’s, was opened in 1912 as a residence for nurses starting their training at The London Hospital before moving to accommodation at the main site on Whitechapel Road.

St Clement’s was no exception. As the central dining hall had been subdivided and now fallen into disuse, it made an ideal site for a nurses’ home to be built in 1935. Set well within the hospital complex, it needed to make no architectural statement to the outside world. Designed by the LCC architecture department, the home was in a current ‘moderne’ style being widely adopted in hospital and public buildings at the time. A curved window and balcony for the communal space is a nod to prevailing styles with ideas about light and space; otherwise it is a fairly utilitarian and undemonstrative building.

The hospital took a hit from bombing in the Second World War with the loss of the western (female ward) wing, considerable damage to the chapel and the loss of the old fever wards. There still remains the possibility of contamination, particularly in the chapel site and western wing basements. from the war damage. Although the chapel was much damaged it appears from the photographic record by the Royal Commission on Historical Monuments to have been left standing in 1949, only being demolished after the National Health Service had taken over the site.

NHS TO CLOSURE

National Health Service 1948

The National Health Service was inaugurated on 5 July 1948; following this, the NHS ran St Clement’s. The concept of healthcare for everyone was established. The hospital was a general hospital with a psychiatric specialism.

The RCHM photographs record the state of the central buildings in 1947 and the repairs carried out by the NHS in 1949. These show that the committee room of the Board of Guardians had survived but repairs were necessary to the roof and the interior. The western wing was demolished and the catering block was re-roofed. Also, the clock tower on the John Denham Building was demolished post-1949.

The chapel remained after 1949 but it had sustained substantial damage to the roof. This was demolished at some point and was replaced around 1966 by a two-storey timber building. It masks the scar of the loss of the chapel, but has no value in itself.

The rendered scars of the western wing and the chapel require particular attention in any refurbishment programme.

The interiors were much altered by the NHS with dropped ceilings, partitions and alterations and insertions to the sanitary arrangements. This can be seen in the record photographs.

St Clement’s Hospital closed its doors in 2005.