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General Lying-In Hospital

The General Lying-In Hospital was one of the first maternity hospitals in Great Britain. It opened in 1767 on Westminster Bridge Road, London and closed in 1971. Lying-in is an archaic term for childbirth (referring to the month-long bed rest prescribed for postpartum confinement).[1]

General Lying-In Hospital
General Lying-in Hospital ES.jpg
Frontage of the General Lying-In Hospital
General Lying-In Hospital is located in London Borough of Lambeth
General Lying-In Hospital
Location within Lambeth
LocationLambeth, London, England, United Kingdom
Care systemNHS England
Hospital typeMaternity
Affiliated universitySt Thomas' Hospital
Emergency departmentNo Accident & Emergency
Founded1767, moved 1828
ListsHospitals in England


1830 illustration of the building
Nurse sitting with baby in incubator at the General Lying in Hospital. 1908

The General Lying-In Hospital was an initiative of Dr John Leake, a physician, and the site chosen was on the north side of Westminster Bridge Road, Lambeth, then on the outskirts of London. Its foundation stone was laid in August 1765 and the facility opened as the Westminster New Lying-in Hospital in April 1767.[2]

With a view to expansion, the governors bought a lease of a plot of ground with 100-foot frontage on the east side of York Road, Lambeth in the early 1820s. The new building was designed by Henry Harrison and was built at a cost of about £3,000.[3] On 22 September 1828, the minutes record that "On Friday Morning a Patient was delivered of a Son in the New Hospital and the Committee met this day in the new Hospital for the first time."[3] The facility was incorporated by royal charter as the General Lying-In Hospital in 1830.[3] A new ward and a training school for midwives was established in 1879.[3]

Joseph Lister became consulting surgeon in March 1879 and Sir John Williams and Sir Francis Champneys were appointed physicians the following year.[3] Two houses on the north side of the hospital were converted into a nurses' home (i.e. staff accommodation) in 1907; this facility was re-built between 1930 and 1933.[3] The hospital was evacuated to Diocesan House, St Albans during the Second World War, but returned to Lambeth and joined the National Health Service under the management of St Thomas' Hospital in 1946.[3]


The hospital closed in 1971 and fell into a state of dereliction. It was restored and refurbished in 2003 at a cost of £4.27 million financed in part by a grant from the Guy's and St Thomas' Charity.[4] Since March 2013 the building has comprised part of the Premier Inn Hotel Waterloo. The modern elements of the hotel were nominated for the 2013 Carbuncle Cup for bad buildings.[5]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Slemons, J. Morris (1912). "The Prospective Mother: A Handbook for Women During Pregnancy".
  2. ^ "General Lying-In Hospital". Lost Hospitals of London. Retrieved 27 May 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Roberts, Howard; Godfrey, Walter H (1951). "'York Road', in Survey of London: Volume 23, Lambeth: South Bank and Vauxhall". London. p. 40–44. Retrieved 27 May 2018.
  4. ^ "General Lying-In Hospital to be sold by NHS". London SE1. 17 January 2007. Retrieved 27 May 2018.
  5. ^ "Britain's ugliest new buildings named". The Daily Telegraph. 19 August 2013. Retrieved 27 May 2018.

Coordinates: 51°30′06″N 0°07′00″W / 51.501598°N 0.116660°W / 51.501598; -0.116660