Celebrating South Street Hospital

1911 - 1929: World War I and the Optimistic Twenties

Canadians made great contributions to the war effort, both at home and on the battlefields of Europe. The strains of war took many different forms, with the public general hospitals such as Victoria Hospital affected by a loss of skilled personnel and a shortage of both building materials and government funds.

Despite the number of physicians and nurses who assisted the war efforts overseas, a high standard of medical care was maintained at Victoria Hospital. Hospital expansions, however, were postponed.

There were some complaints about bed shortages and long waiting lists, but Victoria Hospital fared much better than many other cities, having constructed additions to both east and west wings before the outbreak of war.

Early in 1916, City Council transferred Victoria Hospital’s isolation building to the Military Hospitals Commission of Canada. Some 200 wounded and convalescent soldiers could be cared for in this facility.

In compensation, the Commission agreed to erect suitable buildings on hospital grounds for the treatment of contagious and infections diseases.

After the arrival of peace in November 1918, there was a strong feeling of confidence and an expectation of increased prosperity for the 1920s. The Hospital Trust started to consider modernizing the hospital’s facilities in order to meet the region‘s growing hospital needs.

Plans for renovations and additions were made and a massive public fund-raising drive started. However, construction plans came to a halt when the Depression of the 1930s took hold.

War Memorial Children’s Hospital of Western Ontario

The Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire London Chapters (IODE) wished to provide a living monument in London to commemorate those who had participated in the Great War, 1914-18. Realizing the twenty-year-old Children’s Ward at Victoria Hospital was inadequate, they decided a Children’s Hospital to serve all of Western Ontario would meet the urgent need.

The 60-bed War Memorial Children’s Hospital of Western Ontario, built and equipped at a cost of $325,000, was officially opened on October 29, 1922. Mrs. E. B. Smith, Regent of the Municipal Chapter of the IODE was presented with a golden key in recognition of they money raised in support of the Children’s Hospital.

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