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Charing Cross Hospital

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Coordinates  TQ237780
Hospital type  Teaching
Opened  1818
Number of beds  511
Affiliated university  Imperial College London
Care system  Public NHS
Emergency department  Accident & Emergency
Phone  +44 20 3311 1234
Founded  1818
Architect  Ralph Tubbs
Charing Cross Hospital

Location  Hammersmith, London, England, United Kingdom
Website  www.imperial.nhs.uk/charingcross
Address  Fulham Palace Rd, London W6 8RF, UK
Similar  Imperial College London, Chelsea and Westmins, Hammersmith Hospital, Charing Cross, Western Eye Hospital

Save charing cross hospital

Charing Cross Hospital is an acute general teaching hospital located in Hammersmith, London, United Kingdom. The present hospital was opened in 1973, although it was originally established in 1818, several miles away in central London.


It is part of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and is a teaching hospital of the Imperial College School of Medicine. It is a tertiary referral centre for neurosurgery, and is a national centre of excellence for gestational trophoblastic disease. It currently houses the serious injuries centre for West London. In recent times, the hospital has pioneered the clinical use of CT scanning.

The hospital is host to the West London Neuroscience Centre. In addition, a day surgery unit, the Riverside Wing, was recently added. The West London Mental Health NHS Trust also has buildings on site. The hospital hosts the largest and oldest gender identity clinic in the country, with 150 operations performed annually.

Jeremy hunt mp wants charing cross hospital demolished

19th century

In 1818 Dr. Benjamin Golding established the 'West London Infirmary and Dispensary' at 16 Suffolk Street, behind the Haymarket Theatre. The infirmary had been the dream of Dr. Golding, who wanted to establish a place of healing for the poor. The then Duke of York and Albany was asked to become patron; he accepted, and the hospital was thenceforth known as the Royal West London Infirmary. Following this, the then-Duchess of York and Albany and Duke of Cambridge also became patrons.

In 1821, the infirmary was reaching capacity, treating nearly 10000 patients a year, so a new site was found, at 28 Villiers Street, near Charing Cross in the heart of the metropolis. The infirmary had room for twelve beds. Shortly afterwards, a plan was put in place to establish a medical school alongside the infirmary. In 1829, the Charing Cross Hospital Medical School was recognised by the newly founded University of London though the school had been training doctors since 1822. Over the years, the list of benefactors and patrons grew, including many from the Royal Family.

In 1827, the name of the Royal West London Infirmary was changed to the more appropriate 'Charing Cross Hospital'. Plans were drawn up by architect Mr Decimus Burton in 1830 and a site was found, just off the Strand. On 15 September 1831 the foundation stone was laid by the Duke of Sussex. The first completed ward was named after the daughter of the Duchess of Kent, Princess Victoria, who eventually became Queen Victoria. The principal ward for men was named Golding Ward, after the founder. The hospital itself was completed in January 1834, at a total cost of £20000, and in October of that year, the 22 medical students were transferred from Villiers Street to the new building.

The hospital and medical school continued to expand. When King's College London opened, it needed a medical school and offered Charing Cross a substantial amount of money to train their students. Dr Golding was opposed to the idea and in 1839, after several years of negotiation, King's College decided to set up their own medical school. During those years, the school saw difficult times, and the number of students enrolling plummeted. By 1840, faith in the school had been restored and the number of students increased dramatically; however, Dr. Golding suffered a stroke.

By 1854 the hospital was flourishing and the top floor, which had been left as an empty shell, was completed. In 1856 Dr. Golding retired as Director of Charing Cross Hospital Medical School. The hospital encountered hard times after several new hospitals, with larger medical schools, were established in central London. However, Charing Cross Hospital weathered the storm: in 1866 it had professional nursing staff, and the hospital was enlarged several times over the next few years – in fact, after a major rebuild in 1877 the hospital had doubled in size.

20th century

The hospital was further extended in 1902. In 1926, the Royal Westminster Ophthalmic Hospital was merged with Charing Cross Hospital.

With the advent of the Blitz in 1940, the hospital staff, students, equipment and patients were moved to Chaulden House, Boxmoor, Hertfordshire. In 1947, the hospital moved back to Charing Cross.

After the Second World War it was decided to relocate the hospital away from central London. Several sites were considered including a large site at Northwick Park in Harrow. However, the University of London deemed that they would not be able to remain affiliated with the hospital should it move there, and the site was handed over to the Ministry of Health, who developed it into the present Northwick Park Hospital.

In 1957 a link was proposed with Fulham and West London Hospitals. The proposal was controversial, as the residents of Fulham wanted their existing hospital to be redeveloped not taken over. A public meeting was set up with the Mayor of Fulham, and the Chairman of the hospital, Lord Inman, explained that the decision was made by the Ministry of Health, and that a new hospital would be well equipped and provide a full service. This allayed most people's fears, and the new Charing Cross Hospital, located on the site of the former Fulham Hospital, on Fulham Palace Road, was inaugurated by Queen Elizabeth II on 22 May 1973. The cost of building the new hospital was £15m—a staggering amount at the time. Designed by Ralph Tubbs, it consisted of a fifteen-storey building in the shape of a cross, along with several lower-level buildings. The design was notable for the lack of lifts to meet the capacity required to move patients around in their beds. Porters often waited 1–2 hours trying to get patients from wards to X-ray and back. Three high-rise residential blocks were built to house medical staff, nurses and medical students—called Golding, Parsons and Cliff houses, respectively. Despite the move, the hospital kept the name 'Charing Cross'; at first it was called 'Charing Cross Hospital, Fulham' but eventually the 'Fulham' part was dropped.

The original site, on Suffolk Street, now houses offices; in 1990 the Agar Street site, a Grade II listed building, was converted into the current Charing Cross Police Station.

Notable alumni

As well as the famous Dr. Benjamin Golding and the various Royal Patrons involved in the inception of the hospital, there have been several notable alumni of the hospital and its medical school.

One of the hospital's earlier medical students was David Livingstone, who qualified as a doctor but went on to be a famous explorer.

Another former student at the hospital's medical school was the outstanding scientist Dr. Thomas Huxley, whose works include 'Zoological Evidences of Man's Place in Nature' and 'Evolution and Ethics'. By coincidence, Huxley was instrumental in the founding of Imperial College London though its merger with Charing Cross Hospital didn't take place until almost a century later.

Mr John Astley Bloxam was a pioneering surgeon at the hospital; according to the Royal College of Surgeons archives he "excelled in the plastic surgery necessary to repair the noses and lips of those who had been the subjects of syphilitic ulceration".

Asthma was extensively described by Dr. Henry Hyde Salter, a physician at this hospital

Dr. Christopher Addison, later Viscount Addison worked at the hospital. His father discovered the eponymously named Addison's Disease and he himself is accredited with naming 'Addison's transpyloric plane', a part of the human body used as a surgical landmark. Addison later stood for Parliament, for the Labour Party, and eventually became leader of the House of Lords.

Sir Herbert Waterhouse was a surgeon at the hospital; Sir Gordon Holmes, famed neurologist, also worked there. In the 1950s the Dean, Professor Hamilton decided to develop the clinical medical school with the appointment of clinical academics. These included Norman Morris, A J Harding Rains and Hugh DeWardener. The medical school and the hospital was located in the heart of Covent Garden until its relocation to the Fulham site. Tiles from the original Charing Cross Hospital were saved and are on display at the new Hospital. Leading Neurosurgeon Kevin O'Neill works at the hospital.

Imperial College

Originally supporting Charing Cross Hospital Medical School, Charing Cross and Westminster Medical School was formed in 1984 by the merger with Westminster Hospital Medical School. In 1997, CXWMS merged with Imperial College London (whose medical department was at St Mary's Hospital Medical School in Paddington), The National Heart & Lung Institute and the Royal Postgraduate Medical School (at Hammersmith Hospital) to create a large new institution, Imperial College School of Medicine.

Imperial College London use most of the floors of the East Wing lab block, housing academic departments and their labs, 3 lecture theatres on the 8th, 9th and 10th floors, the Pathology museum on the 11th floor and the Dissection rooms on the 14th floor.

The Reynolds Building (originally built for Charing Cross and Westminster Medical School), lies adjacent to the hospital within the campus and is used extensively by Imperial College School of Medicine. It consists of a lecture theatre (Brian Drewe Lecture Theatre), the Campbell-Adamson library and various seminar and teaching rooms. In addition to this, it houses the Reynolds Bar, a centre for the various functions that the Students' Union holds. It also contains a music room, gym and student union shop and offices.

The Glenister building is also located on this campus. It provides additional teaching space for Imperial College London.

On site, there is a sports centre and sports hall as well as Parsons House, one of the Imperial College Halls of Residence.

Maggie's Centre

On 29 April 2008, Maggie's Centre was opened by Nigella Lawson and Sarah Brown. This support centre is available for anyone who is affected by cancer in London. In 2009, the centre was visited by Michelle Obama and in October was given the 2009 Stirling Prize from the Royal Institute of British Architects.


Charing Cross Hospital Wikipedia