|The Infirmary in 1888|
The new building was a substantial enterprise. It covered a 2 acre site and was divided into three components - a male block, a female block, which together had a capacity of 175 patients, and an administrative block in between them. It was run by a Board of Guardians. The Boards of Guardians were bodies who were responsible, by law (the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834) for the management and administration of workhouses and related buildings. Those serving on a Board of Guardians were elected by the owners of the properties that were liable for the poor rate, a tax gathered by residents in order to provide provision for the disadvantaged. The board was elected annually. Although the workhouse closed in 1884, the infirmary stayed open until the late 1970s, and its history between those dates is well recorded. It was so successful that it had already been extended in 1877 and was expanded several times during its career,
|The Infirmary in 1914. The main change from the|
1894 map was the addition of a large laundry.
|The entrance to the infirmary in the 1920s on|
|A London City Council hospital ward in the 1930s|
|The only surviving gate house, with|
the plaque commemorating
the birth of Michael Caine.
Photograph by Martin Addison
Following the National Health Service Reorganisation Act 1973 St Olave's has been administered by the South Thames Regional Health Authority and in 1974 St Olave's became the responsibility of Lewisham and North Southwark District Health Authority. In 1979, the hospital was closed to save costs, its patients transferred to other hospitals in the region. Although the closure was supposed to be temporary the hospital never re-opened and an official announcement of its closure was made in 1985.
Most of the building had already decayed during its period of closure and was eventually demolished. During the 1990s it was replaced by the Ann Moss Way housing estate. However, one of the gatehouses is a fortunate and welcome survivor.
A blue plaque commemorates the birth of Sir Michael Caine (born Maurice Joseph Micklewhite), son of a local fish porter, who was born in the charity wing of the Hospital on 14th March 1933.
With particular thanks to the Lost Hospitals of London website at http://ezitis.myzen.co.uk/stolaves.html