Passmore Edwards Hospital Tilbury
Do you have any memories of the hospital?
Until 1895 anyone falling sick or having an accident in Tilbury and requiring hospital treatment had to be taken to Gravesend or London. From 1882 efforts were made to build a hospital in Tilbury to meet this need but without success. In 1894 Mr Ephraim Wright wrote to Passmore Edwards asking for his help. A committee was formed and received its first subscription of £500. The Tilbury Dock Company gave the land. The foundation stone was laid by Passmore Edwards in October 1895. The 15 bed hospital was built opposite Tilbury Dock gates and opened by Passmore Edwards in June 1896.
Over the years the docks expanded and so a larger better equipped hospital was needed. 1924 was a very eventful year in the life of the hospital. The administration was transferred to the Seamen’s Hospital and the Passmore Edwards Hospital was renamed Tilbury Hospital. Dr. J.J.S. Rowe of the Dreadnought Hospital, Greenwich was made resident medical officer. Accommodation was increased to 50 beds and they were also able to cater properly for outpatients. An X-ray machine had been provided and the operating theatre had been refurbished. Mr. Singhanee of Poona, India made a gift of £6,732 to provide a ward for Indian seamen. Tilbury Hospital was chosen as the location for this and the “Singhanee Ward” was opened in June 1924 by the Duke of York. The Ladies Linen League was formed to provide and maintain the linen and garments for the hospital. The Dreadnought Ladies League raised money for the materials that were used.
In 1948 with the formation of the National Health Service the hospital was taken over by the South East Essex Hospital Management Committee. It was very popular with the Tilbury people in the 1940s and up to the 1960s. In 1950 it became the Tilbury Branch of the Tilbury and Riverside General Hospital. In 1953 Orsett Hospital was chosen as the preferred main hospital for the area and inpatient work transferred there in 1969 bringing about the closure of Tilbury Hospital and its subsequent demolition.
The Tilbury cottage hospital was one of 71 public buildings built as a direct result of Passmore Edwards’ philanthropy. Further information of the life and work of this extraordinary Cornishman can be found in “Funding the Ladder, the Passmore Edwards Legacy“. [Contributed by Dean Evans, author of the book.]