|Up to 1895 a man meeting with an accident at the Tilbury Docks,
or anyone taken ill in that vicinity, had to be taken to Gravesend
or London Hospitals. Whilst we are beginning again to see greater
distances of travel to the more Regional Hospitals provided by the
NHS, at the end of the 19th Century, the distance involved cost, and
risk. Since 1882 efforts had been made by the friendly societies and
others to establish a Cottage Hospital at Tilbury to meet the growing
needs of the area but always without success. It was not until 12
years later, when a Mr Ephriam Wright wrote to Passmore Edwards to
secure his help. Passmore Edwards, after some inquiries responded
by offering to supply a suitable building.
The necessary Committee was formed and soon received its first subscription
of £500, and an offer to provide a site, from the Tilbury Dock
Company. Rowland Plumbe FRIBA was appointed as architect and the foundation
stone was laid by Passmore Edwards in October 1895. The 15 bed hospital
was constructed opposite the Tilbury Dock gates and was opened by
Passmore Edwards in June 1896.
As the docks expanded the Hospital Committee felt that a larger
hospital, with more up to date equipment, was needed to meet the
demands which were being made upon it. Accordingly, in 1924, the
administration of the hospital was transferred to the Seamen's
Hospital Society and it was renamed Tilbury Hospital.
Dr J J S Rowe, who had been at the Society's Dreadnought Hospital,
Greenwich, was appointed as Resident Medical Officer. It was decided
to increase the accommodation to 50 inpatients and also provide
proper accommodation for outpatients. Prior to the transfer the
local management Committee had provided an X ray machine and refurbished
the operating theatre. The aquisition of the Tilbury Hospital meant
that the Society was now responsible for the care of sick and injured
seamen from the whole of the Port of London.
|At the same time, a Mr Singhanee, of Poona,
India, had offered a gift of one lakh of rupees (£6,732 in 1924)
to provide a Ward for Indian seamen at a London Hospital. The Passmore
Edwards Hospital had been chosen and the "Singhanee Ward"
was nearing completion when the Society took over the reins in January
1924. This was opened by the Duke of York in June 1924.S