Monday, 17 November 2014

A Red Cross Hospital for Luton

 A float by the Davis Gas Stove Co. Ltd., Diamond Foundry, taking part in the Luton Peace Day parade on 19th July 1919 [Z1306/75/19/19]

Tuesday 17th November 1914: A meeting took place in the Council Chamber  yesterday evening to consider the possibility of establishing a hospital for wounded soldiers in Luton. Dr Lloyd proposed the scheme, emphasising that in choosing a building considerations of cleanliness were most important. At the beginning of the war Mr H. N. Davis had offered the Davis Institute to the Red Cross Society and the men at the company’s works were ready to forego their club facilities if it was needed for a hospital.[1] Lady Wernher had generously offered to bear the expense of equipping the building.

Dr Lloyd estimated that the cost of the upkeep for a hospital with twenty beds, including a staff of two trained sisters and a ward maid, would be £25 per week. The town was fortunate to have two detachments of Red Cross nurses who had passed their examinations in first aid and home nursing, and who had been able to acquire experience at the Bute Hospital and at the Territorial Hospital at Wardown. As a result they would be well able to provide voluntary help for the hospital. To guarantee the hospital could run for a minimum period of six months would therefore cost £650, a figure which would reduce to £300 once grants from the Red Cross and the War Office were taken into account.

There was some argument for a larger institution, but it was felt that this would not enjoy such favourable conditions as the scheme proposed. Once £50 that Lady Wernher had previously donated to the local Red Cross Society was deducted from the cost, the town would have to find only £10 a week for upkeep. The meeting agreed that steps should be taken to establish the proposed hospital and that it would guarantee the funds needed to run it for six months.[2]

Source: Luton News 19th November 1914 and 17th December 1914

[1] H. N. Davis appears to be Harold Newsom Davis of the Davis Gas Stove Company Ltd, owner of the Diamond Foundry in Dallow Road, Luton.  

[2] In December 1914 the War Office decided no further hospital accommodation was required in Luton for the time being.

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