The Priory VA hospital

Cheltenham

Paid for by public subscription, the hospital first opened in Moorend Park, Charlton Kings and then moved to The Abbotts in All Saints Road (now a children's nursery). In October 1916, probably in response to the huge influx of casualties from the Somme, the hospital doubled its capacity by moving again to The Priory in London Road, which was then part of St. Paul's Teacher Training College. The Priory hospital was unusual in that it had some wards for officers. The norm at that time was to treat officers and 'other ranks' in separate hospitals.

The gorgeous bow-fronted Regency house stood on London Road on the corner of Priory Street from around 1820 until 1967 when it became a casualty of Cheltenham's unfortunate demolition frenzy. It was replaced by an exceptionally ugly concrete office block, which was itself derelict for many years and eventually replaced (in 2000) with luxury residential flats in the same style as the original Priory building. So the sight of this lovely house once again greets people entering the town on the A40 ... but it's not the same building.

Gloucestershire Red Cross Hospitals 1914-1919
The Priory, London Road, Cheltenham 1915
 
THE PRIORY/THE ABBOTTS V.A. HOSPITAL
GLOS. 30


final report from The Red Cross in Gloucestershire 1914-19
 

Date of opening—November 5th 1914

No. of beds

Admissions since opening to Jan 9th 1919

Deaths


Average number of resident patients daily

Average number of days each patient was resident

 

100

1603

20

1915
36.33

42

 

 

 

 

1916
51.99

45

 

 

 

 

1917
85.25

51

 

 

 

 

1918
78.31

49

OFFICERS

Commandant: Miss S. H. Smith, O.B.E.

Medical Officers: Dr H. M. Meyrick-Jones, Dr R. C. Affleck

Lady Superintendent: Miss Bagnall-Oakeley, A.R.R.C.

Quartermasters: Mrs Halliday

NOTE BY THE COMMANDANT

This hospital was opened on November 5th 1914, first at Moorend Park, Charlton Kings, with 40 beds, then at the Abbotts with an increase of 10 beds. In October 1916 the Abbotts Hospital was closed and the patients were transferred to the Priory, which was opened in its place, with accommodation for 100 patients instead of 50, and between 10 and 15 of the staff. The Priory being the Hostel of St. Paul's Training College was well adapted for a hospital. The rooms upstairs are large and airy; and the dining hall, drawing room and recreation room made excellent wards on the ground floor. The latter opening into the garden made a particularly pleasant ward in summer. Two small rooms were used as officers' wards. The more serious cases among the troops stationed in Cheltenham and the neighbourhood, and from the Rendcombe Aerodrome, and the men on leave were received, as well as convoys from France; also numerous out-patients were treated daily, so that the central position of the hospital was a very great advantage.

Gloucestershire Red Cross Hospitals 1914-1919