Celebrating South Street Hospital

1886 – 1899: Celebrating a Diamond Jubilee

A Board of Hospital Trustees

In 1887, a Board of Hospital Trustees was incorporaIn 1887, a Board of Hospital Trustees was incorporated to manage London General Hospital at the request of London’s City Council. There were five Trustees: the Mayor, the Chairman of the Finance Committee of City Council, and three members elected by popular vote.

London General Hospital had instituted new, specialized management and had increased its capacity to care for patients and train medical professionals; the public was confident and proud of the medical centre being created in the region.

Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee

For her Diamond Jubilee in 1897, Queen Victoria wished all memorials to be devoted directly to the relief of the sick and the suffering.

A Queen’s Jubilee Celebration Committee was formed in London, Ontario. They suggested to the City of London that the Jubilee should be commemorated by raising funds for the construction of an addition to the London General Hospital, called the Victoria Ward.

The number of patients admitted per year to London General Hospital had nearly doubled from 494 in 1888 to 842 in 1897. This trend was expected to continue, not because of increased sickness or epidemic, but the growing acceptance of hospitals among the public.

Local physicians appointed their own committee to examine the hospital expansion. The Physician’s Committee pressed for the erection of a new building at the current site that would be connected with the hospital. The existing building would be renovated and converted to administrative offices and nurses’ dormitories.

Some felt that a new hospital should be built at a more “prosperous and fashionable” location in the city. However, London General Hospital remained committed to its current site, believing it to be accessible and convenient to all Londoners, especially the “poorer classes” who most needed and used its services.  

The Hospital Trust accepted the plans for a Men’s Pavilion, Women’s Pavilion, General Alterations and Contagious Disease, Isolated Pavilion. Proposals were rejected for a Children’s Pavilion, citing insufficient children patients, and a Private Pavilion, remaining firm in the conviction of the priorities of a general hospital to its community.

A number of local businesses, labour, women’s and private organizations, as well as individual philanthropists had generously offered to furnish one private patient room each.

Victoria Hospital

Victoria Hospital officially opened on November 16, 1899 during one of the City’s largest social events. Throughout the day, some 15,000 Londoners filled nearby streets and streetcars to visit their new hospital. The impressive buildings, with matching brick structures, cut stone foundations and slate roofs, occupied an entire city block.

This “city within a city” would provide quality hospital services in modern private and public wards with its attractive spaces, including large sun rooms where patients could view the Thames River and surrounding farmlands.

Excerpts from "Growing to serve... : a history of Victoria Hospital, London, Ontario." Authors: Norman. John Robert Sullivan, Norman R. Ball, and Victoria Hospital Corporation. Published: 1985 by Victoria Hospital Corporation, London, Ontario.

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A Centre for Care, Education and Training Celebrating a Diamond Jubilee The Adam Beck Era World War I and the Optimistic Twenties The Great Depression and WWII The Post War Years A Growing Healthcare Centre Restructuring Healthcare in London