Our original hospital was established in Holborn, London in a former workhouse. At first, the new hospital was used as a training facility for students but it quickly developed into a major hospital. Over the next 60 years, our reputation for medical care and teaching grew.
An Act of Parliament enabled the hospital to relocate to South London from its original premises.
The foundation stone for a new building was laid by King Edward VII and, in the same year, King’s College London was incorporated into the University of London.
On 26 July 1913, King George V and Queen Mary officially opened the 300-bed King’s College Hospital in Camberwell. The land was donated by the Hon William Frederick Danvers Smith (later Lord Hambleden) and the buildings themselves were paid for by an anonymous donation of £50,000.
When the Great War began, a large part of the hospital was taken over by the War Office as a military hospital, and KCH became known as the Fourth London General Hospital.
As the war continued, the hospital treated so many casualties from France that it had to be extended into nearby Ruskin Park. Huts and tents were erected and a wooden bridge built across the railway line to provide access.
By 1917 the hospital offered 369 beds for officers and 169 for other ranks.
In 1919 the Hospital was handed back for civilian use.
During the 1920s KCH set up three new departments: diabetes, neurology and antenatal care. This was followed, in 1923, by the opening of the Dental School. However, like many other pre-National Health Service (NHS) hospitals at the time, money was scarce, and in 1931 some wards had to be closed to save money.
In 1937 the Guthrie Wing for private patients was opened and paid for by a donation from the Stock Exchange Dramatic and Operatic Society.
During World War II KCH treated many victims of the air raids that affected London. To help protect patients and staff, the operating theatres were transferred to the basement of the hospital, as were patients from the upper wards during the bombing raids. Luckily, KCH survived; apart from a few incendiary bombs landing around the site, the hospital suffered only minor damage from one small bomb which hit the entrance to the Casualty Department.
KCH became part of the NHS in 1948 as a teaching hospital group managed by a Board of Governors. The King’s College Hospital Group included: the Royal Eye Hospital, the Belgrave Hospital for Children, the Belgrave Recovery Home, and the Baldwin Brown Recovery Home.
A new Dental School building opened in 1965.
In 1966, St Giles’ Hospital, the Dulwich Hospital and St Francis Hospital were added to our group.
In 1972, Kings College Hospital began to build a new School of Nursing, opening in 1974 as the Normanby College of Nursing, Midwifery and Physiotherapy.
In 1983, the Medical School was reunited with King’s College London to form the King’s College School of Medicine and Dentistry.
The Wellcome Clinical Investigation Unit opened in 1990 and, in 1991, an extension was added to the Dental School building, which also housed the Day Surgery Centre.
In 1993, the newly formed King’s Healthcare Trust took over management of the hospital, and in 1994 the Caldecot Centre for Sexual Health opened.
The Weston Education Centre opened in 1997 to house the medical school, library and lecture theatres, and a new Accident and Emergency Department opened in the same year.
Not surprisingly, KCH has continued to grow and develop.
In 2003 Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II officially opened the Golden Jubilee Wing. Built on the site of the old outpatients department, it includes outpatient clinics, maternity services and support services such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and speech and language therapy.
In 2006 we became a Foundation Trust. This means that, while we remain part of the NHS, we are free from central (UK) government control; we can manage our own budget and shape our services to meet the needs of the communities we serve.
In 2009 King’s Health Partners (KHP) was created. This comprises South London & Maudsley and Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trusts, King’s College London University and KCH.
In May 2010, the Princess Royal opened the Cicely Saunders Institute for Palliative Care; and the new Assisted Conception Unit opened its doors to patients in 2012.
In October, 2013, the Trust acquired the Princess Royal University Hospital in Farnborough and took responsibility for Orpington Hospital.
We would like to thank the following organisations for providing some of the information for this page:
King’s College Hospital
Lost Hospitals of London
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