The concept of a small, local hospital, a ‘cottage hospital’ seems rather heart-warming to me and I remember Hornsey Central, formerly Hornsey Cottage hospital, on Park Road, Crouch End, with great affection. The building has since been demolished and in 2007 the Hornsey Neighbourhood Clinic established itself in a new, purpose-built centre. The only remaining vestige of the old hospital is the war memorial – but that’s another story.
It opened in 1910 and was built by Hornsey Borough Council on land donated by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. They dropped the word cottage from the name in 1927 because these little establishments were associated with charity and the poor which made recruiting nurses difficult. It was still referred to as the Cottage Hospital in the 70s by us locals – we must have liked it better.
Cute – isn’t it? It was where I had my tonsils removed as a five year old. Parents were only allowed to visit for a couple of hours in the afternoon and again in the early evening. As both my parents worked they weren’t able to visit every day – but there was ice-cream to soothe my throat and people didn’t have the same attitude to children as they have now.
I also worked there as a radiographer’s assistant for a year between school and university. It was not a challenging job in the main and we were brought tea and a pile of hot buttered toast mid-morning with cake and tea in the afternoon. My job was to book in the patients – not too many in a day so as not to tire the staff out – and develop the x-rays. This was done in a rather primitive way dipping the plates into a series of liquids and hanging them out to dry. When the radiologist arrived, twice weekly, he dictated his reports to me which I wrote out in long hand and sent off by 1st class post to the GP. We had fun but I’m quite happy that things have moved on. Do you have any memories of the old Cottage Hospital?