It closed in 1999 a victim of the drive toward larger hospitals and away from smaller, local provision. I remember it personally from having stitches put in my head after a playground accident at primary school and they did a pretty good job as I recall so no complaints from me on that score...
I was over Putney the other day and took the opportunity for a bit of a look around the hospital site when I noticed a row of small cottages, very reminiscent of alms houses, just to one side. There was a large white plaque in the middle which was crying out for a closer look.
|A Very Tempting Plaque Indeed.|
"Putney Labourer Cottages. Erected on land belonging to the Pest House Charity AD 1862"
Pest House Charity? A Charitable House for Pests? Definitely worth a bit of research I felt so when I had the chance I looked into the whole topic of Pest Houses.
'Pest', it seems, is short for Pestilence. Pest Houses were commonly-owned building on the fringes of villages where those struck down with the plague or other infectious ailments could be re-housed until the illness took its course and they either recovered or died. An early form of quarantine really and in Putney's case I suppose the edges of the common would have been the ideal spot. Close enough to keep an eye on but far enough away from the main body of the population to avoid contagion.
Putney's Pest Houses seem to date from the 17th century and there are two extracts from The Environs of London by Daniel Lysons published in 1792 that give an idea as to their use when the plague hit town
In the year 1625 twenty-five persons died of the plague here; in 1665 seventy-four; and in the ensuing year ten persons only. It may be observed, that its ravages were much less fatal here than at Mortlake, though the parish is more populous, and the communication with London must have been more frequent, Putney being a considerable thoroughfareCould it be that the effective use of the Putney Pest Houses helped contain the plague? When someone was affected though, there was a standard procedure to put in place
Among the same papers is an order of council, containing the following regulations:—That the houses of such persons as could not conveniently be sent to the pest-houses, should be shut up and guarded by a warden, a red cross being affixed to the door; that if any person who was required to keep within an infected house should go abroad, he should be immediately apprehended and sent to the pest-house, not being suffered to return to his own dwelling; that when a visited house was opened, a white cross should be affixed to the door, with a bill in writing, signifying how long it was since the last person died there; which writing should remain forty days, during which time the goods and rooms should be aired and sumed with brimstone, and other wholesome fumes; that the churchwardens of each parish should take care to cover their churchyards with unslaked lime twelve inches thick, and the like quantity of gravel, to prevent noxious vapours from exhaling; and that the wardens attending visited houses should warn passengers not to approach too nearWandsworth Bourough Council have an informative document on the Lower Common area of Putney, including some information on the original Pest Houses
Until the mid 19th century, little building took place around the Common, but during times of recurrent plague, temporary wooden structures,known as `pesthouses', were erected to quarantine the sick and removed when the danger had passed. A couple of barns are shown on the east side of the Common in Lane's map of 1636, in the present location of the Cricketers and Spencer Arms pubs, presumably to house agricultural produce. A brick pesthouse built in 1665 lasted until 1860, when it was demolished to make way for the building of cottages in Commondale... These were amongst the earliest permanent development in the area, along with other small workers' cottages on the east side of Putney Common (currently nos.2-4), and Lower Richmond Road (replaced in 1882 by nos.217-235), All Saints School (1852, rebuilt in 1893-6) and later All Saints Church (1870)
|A comprehensive list of Administrators and Trustees|