A view of the Sunlight Room at the Health Centre

3 May 1939
Health Centre, Oak Lane, East Finchley, Barnet, Greater London Authority
Photograph (Print)
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The original caption may contain language which is historic and which may no longer be considered appropriate. It has been retained in the record in the interest of historical accuracy.

The caption on the reverse of the photograph reads: “New £10,000 health centre at Finchley. The Finchley Borough Council have erected at Oak Lane, Finchley, a new Health Centre at a cost of £10,000 and on Saturday it will be opened by Mr. Robert Bernays, M.P. The new Centre is notable for the very fine provision made for young children, the accommodation including a large play room and a room with cots and play-pen for the babies. Other features are an ante-natal clinic, dental clinic, sunlight treatment room and an infant welfare centre. Staff accommodation includes a nurses rest-room and kitchen. Photo shows:- The sunlight Room, which is equipped with the latest Hanovia lamps for general ultra-violet treatment combined with infra-red.”

There was a “remarkable development” in maternity and child welfare work in Finchley since the Council took control of the scheme in 1916, three years after it was established as a voluntary organisation. Despite the large increase in population, the school medical service had been extended and infant welfare work had become popular. The building which had previously housed the maternity and child welfare centre was no longer adequate; in 1939 the new health centre was opened opposite the old site in Oak Lane. Along with an infant welfare centre and a day nursery for children below school age, the centre provided “the most modern facilities” including ophthalmic, artificial sunlight, antenatal and minor injuries clinics, and two dental surgeries. Phototherapy, or artificial sunlight therapy, was prescribed for a range of childhood and maternal complaints during the first half of the 20th century, particularly those caused by deficiencies in sunlight and certain foods. It remained popular until the late 1930s, but faced growing concerns about the link between exposure to ultraviolet light and skin cancer. See also MED01/01/0370-0374. High-resolution copies of this image are available for free for non-commercial use. Please Enquire to place an order.


This is part of the Series: MED01/01 Series of prints; within the Collection: MED01 The Medical Collection


Source: Historic England Archive

People & Organisations

Photographer: Topical Press Agency Limited

Photographer: Harrison, Norman Kingsley


Clinic, Health And Welfare