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Statutory Address:

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Greater London Authority
Lambeth (London Borough)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:
TQ 30608 79310


963/2/583 LAMBETH PALACE ROAD 26-OCT-73 (West side) South Wing at St Thomas's Hospital Shall be replaced by:

TQ 3079 LAMBETH PALACE ROAD (west side) 2/583 South Wing at St Thomas' 26-OCT-1973 Hospital excluding post-1926 courtyard infill buildings GV II

Hospital. Built 1868-71 to the design of Henry Currey, Architect and Surveyor to St Thomas' Hospital; additions of 1901 and 1904 by his son, Percival Currey and 1925 by Harold Currey; later C20 alterations. Partly demolished following WW2 bomb damage.

MATERIALS: Red Fareham brick with Portland stone dressings; balustrading and some of the decorative detailing in artificial stone. Slate roofs.

STYLE: Italianate style with some French Renaissance detailing; later additions in 'Wrenaissance' style.

PLAN: Site is aligned N-S alongside the River Thames. As built, the hospital was a symmetrical composition, with a lower, linked administrative building to the N. The whole comprised 900 ft long elevations facing E to Lambeth Palace Road and W to the river. E elevation had central entrance block flanked by long 2 and 3 storey wings to either side, containing services, operating theatres, and out-patients department. Long axial corridors ran N-S along the entire length of the building at ground and first floor, linking the rooms along the eastern frontage and the pavilion wards behind. Long, rectangular parallel ward 'pavilions' projected from the frontage at right angles to the river with open courtyards between and a broader central courtyard. The rear (W) elevation of the chapel and entrance hall faced into the central courtyard. E frontage radically altered in 1901 by addition of extra storeys. In 1904, a 2-storey Governors' Hall and Committee room block was added in the central courtyard, with lower link to the entrance hall behind. That part of the original hospital to the N of the entrance hall, comprising 3 of the 6 pavilion wards and the administrative block, no longer survives. The overall plan form of the surviving section, defined by the axial corridors and pavilion blocks, is well preserved.

W ELEVATION: The long, monumental riverside frontage is defined by the end elevations of the 3 pavilions, each linked by a colonnade of paired Tuscan columns, now partly infilled; colonnade between Governors' Hall and N pavilion has round pediment. The broader end (W) façades of the 3 pavilion blocks are identical: each is of 9 bays, comprising 5 central bays flanked by square 2-bay corner towers. Central bays are arcaded at ground, first and second floors and have paired Composite columns at third floor, originally forming open loggias but now mainly glazed. Corner towers have rusticated angle pilasters; third floor with coupled Composite pilasters. Deep modillion cornice (which continues around the entire block); solid parapet. French-style pavilion roofs to towers with oeil-de-boeuf dormers, surmounted by elegant cupolas with ornate wrought-iron balustrading and cross finial. The long, inner (N and S) elevations of the pavilions are of 13 bays (excluding towers) with mansard roofs and brick pedimented dormers. Windows round-headed to ground and third floors and square headed the first and second, all with stone transoms; Composite pilasters between third floor windows. Intersection of each pavilion with E frontage is expressed by broader, square towers of 5 bays; each has a mansard roof and Italianate cupola with ornate wrought-ironwork. Elevations of these blocks detailed in a similar manner to the W corner towers. Windows to all elevations are timber sashes. Between the N and central pavilion is the rear elevation of the pedimented 1901 block on the E frontage (described below); this is of 3 storeys and 7 bays; pediment to central 5 bays, which are framed by rusticated pilasters. Ground and part of first floor obscured; round headed windows to first floor. Row of oculi to second storey, framed in square architraves with crossettes. Modillion cornice. The courtyard in front of this building infilled by Shepherd's Hall, a nurse's restaurant of 1925.

GOVERNORS' HALL: This stands to the N of the remaining 3 pavilion blocks. 'Wrenaissance' style, with pitched roof and central octagonal domed cupola. Balustraded parapet. Ground floor has Tuscan half-columns in antis. Serlian windows to gable ends with blocked oculus above. Sides of 5 bays; central bay blind, flanked by rusticated pilasters and Composite pilasters at upper floor; rusticated angle pilasters. Sash windows. Lower 2 storey building to rear, in similar style with roof lantern, forming link to entrance hall.

ENTRANCE HALL AND CHAPEL: 2 storeys in 3 stages, with deep modillion cornice and balustraded parapet. Pitched roof. W elevation of 5 bays, lower part obscured by link to Governors' hall. Central 3 bays of visible upper stage are recessed to form loggia with coupled Composite columns; round headed windows. Angle towers surmounted by octagonal stone cupolas with deep modillion cornices; top stage has engaged Composite columns to angles and round-headed blind windows, middle stage has rusticated angle pilasters and side windows with circular tracery. Side elevations have round-headed clerestorey openings with circular stone tracery, composite capitals to imposts. Brick chimneys along roof ridge with acroteria. Smaller cupolas to angles of roof on E side. To either side of the chapel are lower 3-storey blocks; round-headed windows to ground and first floors and square headed windows to the second floor. Rusticated angle pilasters.

E ELEVATION: Original 9-bay entrance block to N. 3 storeys and mansard with pedimented dormers. Rusticated angle pilasters. Central 3 bays have raised parapet with windows, balustraded parapet with antifixae to end. Ogee cupolas to roof, surmounted by wrought-iron crosses. Ground floor and portico currently (2006) obscured by later structures. To the S are long ranges from the 1901 remodelling: 11-bays and 4 storeys (top storey is later addition), followed by pedimented range of 5 bays and 4 storeys. Wrenaissance style with round headed windows and keystones; rusticated angle pilasters; first-floor wrought-iron balcony. Chimney to S in similar style. 14-bay block to the S, largely rebuilt in 1960s, is not of special interest above ground-floor level

S ELEVATION: This is the side elevation of the southernmost pavilion ward, which is given slightly grander treatment as southern termination of the hospital. Central range is of 11 bays with the central 3 bays projecting.

INTERIOR: Interior not fully inspected, but key areas are described here. Arcaded former entrance hall with pilasters between arches, moulded cornice. 5 busts of eminent doctors on each side, all on granite pillars. Marble statue of Queen Victoria by M Noble 1873, seated in coronation robes with crown, orb and sceptre, on panelled plinth inscribed: 'Her Majesty Queen Victoria. The Gift of John Musgrove Bart. President 1873'. Red and buff tiled floor. Well staircase on N side with wrought-iron double-scrolled balustrade and mahogany handrail. To W of entrance hall a long axial corridor running N-S. Jack-arch roof with carried on pilasters. First-floor chapel has 5-bay nave with aisles and shorter ritual E and W bays forming sanctuary and narthex. Coffered, barrelled nave roof with ribs resting on quasi-Composite entablature whose pilasters rest against the nave piers and which frames an arcade with similar capitals. Groin-vaulted aisles with glazed oculi at crossing of each vault. Arcaded reredos has Doulton terracotta relief panels of Resurrection scenes. Doulton panel in south aisle to the memory of Sarah Elizabeth Wardroper (Matron) depicts the Good Samaritan. Monument to Henry Currey in N aisle. N aisle also has a marble tablet to various nursing staff and stewards. Monument to Florence Nightingale. Original pews and tiled floors. Wrought-iron communion rail. Organ at west end.

2-storey link block of 1904 between entrance hall and Governor's Hall has handsome mahogany open-string staircase with 2 fluted columns to each step and chamfered square newel post. Plaque commemorating refounding of St Thomas' by Edward IV, 1551 and opening of hospital on present site. Also a marble tablet set within aedicule to Charles Gassiot, merchant, who endowed the Nurses' Home in 1906. Committee room on first floor has ribbed coved ceiling with central lantern; dado-panelling, neo-Georgian style timber chimneypiece and door surrounds. Interior of the Governors' Hall not inspected; this was understood to have been altered and subdivided, and subsequently refurbished in 1991 following original style.

Interior of Shepherd's Hall has frieze of bas-relief panels depicting scenes of figures. Doulton tiles from the demolished 1901 children's ward, painted by W Rowe, depicting nursery rhyme scenes, are displayed in panels throughout the hospital.

HISTORY: Built at a cost of £400,000 to replace old St Thomas' Hospital (founded 1116; rebuilt 1693-1709), which stood in Borough High Street, Southwark, until 1860 when the hospital was obliged to move due to the enlargement of London Bridge Station. It accommodated 588 beds in 6 pavilions, each ward with 28 beds. The 'pavilion plan' originated in France in the C18, exemplified by the Hôpital de Lariboisière, Paris, 1854. It was popularised in England by John Robertson and George Godwin, and championed by Florence Nightingale. Each pavilion had long open wards which were cross-ventilated by large sash windows, in order to reduce the mortality rate from infectious diseases; a principle which was to dominate hospital planning for the next 50 years. It was the original premises of the Nightingale Nurses' training school.

SUMMARY OF IMPORTANCE: St Thomas' Hospital is of major architectural interest as the grandest and most lavish of the English pavilion-plan hospitals, a bold and ambitious architectural set-piece which exploited to the full its riverside setting opposite Westminster Palace in the manner of a series of Venetian palazzi. It is of outstanding historic interest in the continuity of London's oldest hospital foundation, as an early and influential British pavilion-plan hospital built at an important watershed in C19 healthcare reform, and as the premises of Florence Nightingale's seminal nursing school. Special architectural interest lies principally in the surviving elevations from Currey's original design and the early C20 additions by Currey Junior, in the surviving plan form defined by the relationship of the pavilions wards and axial corridors, and in the internal spaces described above, including that of Shepherd¿s Hall. The 14-bay block at the S end of the E elevation above ground-floor level (that being part of the Victorian build, and of special interest) is not of special interest. Notwithstanding its reduced state, the South Wing of St Thomas' Hospital is one of London's most prominent and distinguished riverside buildings, and has outstanding group value with Westminster Palace, a World Heritage Site. Finally, it also has group value with the former medical school of 1870 (q.v.), similarly designed by Currey.

SOURCES: The Builder, 5 August 1865; 4 February 1871; 24 June 1871 The Building News, May 1, 1868; May 15 1868; 11 March 1876; 29 June 1901 RIBA Journal, February 1871, pp 61-71 Grace Goldin, Building a Hospital of Air, Bulletin of the History of Medicine, Vol 49, 1975 Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England, English Hospitals 1660-1948, 1998 GC Cook, Henry Currey FRIBA (1820-1900): leading Victorian hospital architect, and early exponent of the 'pavilion principle', Postgraduate Medical Journal 2002

Listing NGR: TQ3061079450


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

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Books and journals
Richardson, Harriet (editor), English Hospitals 1660-1948: A Survey of their Architecture and Design, (1998)
'The Builder' in 4 February, (1871), 83-85
'Royal Institute of British Architects Journal' in February, (1871), 61-71
'The Builder' in 24 June, (1871)
'The Builder' in 5 August, (1865)


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

Images of England

Images of England was a photographic record of every listed building in England, created as a snap shot of listed buildings at the turn of the millennium. These photographs of the exterior of listed buildings were taken by volunteers between 1999 and 2008. The project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Date: 14 Nov 2007
Reference: IOE01/17008/23
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Anthony Rau. Source Historic England Archive
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