Help Links

Our history

Our hospitals have maintained a distinguished medical and nursing tradition throughout their history; they claim many eminent physicians and surgeons amongst their past and present alumni and staff. 


Whipps Cross University Hospital history timeline, 1889 - 2012

WC 1894 Image One

1894: Origins
The beginnings of the hospital lie with the West Ham Board of Guardians who purchased the Forest House estate. Planning approval was later given in 1894 to build a new infirmary on the site. In 1894 West Ham Union Workhouse opened an annexe known as Forest House Annexe until the infirmary is completed.

WC 1903 Image Two

1903: Infirmary opens
The West Ham Union Infirmary opened after three years of construction at a cost of £186,000 to the design of Francis Sturdy. The Infirmary accommodated 672 beds in 24 wards.

WC 1912 Image Three

1912: First operating theatre at Whipps
The operating room opened due to the increase in operations which had risen to around 350 per year.

WC 1917 Image Four

1917: Whipps Cross Hospital
The Infirmary changed its name to Whipps Cross Hospital coinciding with the visit of King George V and Queen Mary. The hospital cared for thousands of wounded servicemen during the Great War of 1914-1918. Whipps Cross was now beginning to take on the role of a general hospital rather than a poor law institution.

WC 1921 Image Five

1921: Approved for state registration
The Central Nursing Council approved Whipps Cross as a nurse training school and examination centre for state registration. By 1924 there were 53 trained and 130 student nurses. A training school for male nurses was established. Three year nurse training at Whipps Cross had been extended to four years in 1919.

WC 1920 Image Six

1920s: Specialisation
There was appointment of consultants who specialised in dermatology, ophthalmology, ear, nose and throat and genito-urinary medicine.

WC 1930 Image Seven

1930 New management
Management passed from the Board of Guardians to the Public Assistance Committee of  West Ham Borough Council following the Local Government Act of 1929.

WC 1941 Image Eight

1941: Expansion
Four new blocks at the eastern end of the hospital were added to the hospital with additional specialist units following years later (outpatients building, orthodontic unit and maternity wing).

WC 1944 Image Nine

1944 Preliminary training school opens
In April 1944 the hospital opened a preliminary training school, which was to be accommodated in the former Wilfred Lawson Hotel in Woodford. Pupil nurses were introduced to the elements of nursing and subjects such as anatomy before starting work on the wards.

WC 1948 Image 10

1948: Health service hospital
Whipps Cross came under the management of the new National Health Service (NHS) and was administered by the Forest Group Hospital Management Committee.

WC 1958 Image 11

1958: New outpatients department opened
The outpatients department was opened in March 1958 and included modernised facilities. Outpatient facilities expanded over subsequent years to include orthodontics (1960) and child psychiatry (1961).

WC 1968 Image 12

1968: Nurses teaching unit opens
The teaching of nurses from other hospitals in the Forest Group was consolidated at the new nursing education unit at Whipps Cross. In the same year an intensive care unit was established at the hospital, being one of the first of its kind in the UK.

WC 1972 Image 13

1972 and 1973: New accident and emergency and maternity units open
A new accident and emergency unit was opened in 1972. Whipps Cross had long had one of the busiest A&E departments. A new maternity unit opened the following year on the south west corner of the hospital site.

WC 1977 Image 14

1977: Services for the elderly
Connaught Day Hospital for the elderly opened.

WC 1992 Image 15

1992: Whipps Cross becomes a trust
Whipps Cross became a trust hospital with clinical directorship being formed to sit on the trust board. Believing that an acute hospital trust was too limited in scope, a broader trust was formed which included community medicine and mental health to create the Forest Healthcare Trust. However, due to management difficulties where it became apparent that mental health management needed to cover a wider area, community health devolved to form primary care trusts.

WC 2001 Image

2001: University hospital trust
A new designation of Whipps Cross was made as Whipps Cross University Hospital NHS Trust since it had taken on teaching links with South Bank University.
2012: Barts Health NHS Trust
Whipps Cross, Newham and Barts and The London merged to form a new trust; Barts Health NHS Trust. Major refurbishment of the accident and emergency department completed ahead of the London 2012 Olympics,


@NHSBartsHealth on Twitter

Follow us

  • @NHSBartsHealth on Twitter
  • Barts Health NHS on Facebook
  • Barts Health NHS on YouTube
  • Barts Health NHS on Google+

Site Information Links