Military Hospitals in the Great War

During the Great War the increasing numbers of wounded were treated first in France and then shipped back to the United Kingdom. Here extra hospitals beds had to be found. In Edmonton the War Office took over the infirmary of the workhouse in Silver Street and it was renamed the Edmonton Military Hospital.

The first wounded soldiers arrived at Edmonton Low Level Station on 14th May 1915.  There were 139 including 98 on stretchers. They were met by large crowds. The sight of these men, some very severely wounded, caused a rise in anti-German feeling and led to stones being thrown at premises with foreign sounding names.

Wounded arriving at Edmonton Low Level Station
Wounded arriving at Edmonton Low Level Station

Some of the men who died from their wounds were buried in a specially set aside section of the Edmonton Cemetery.

The continuation of the war meant more hospital beds were needed and many of the big houses in the area were requisitioned.

Arnos House became a 68 bed military hospital and St Mark’s Institute in Bush Hill park provided 50 beds. In 1917 an emergency hospital of 40 beds was set up in Elm House, Enfield.

At Grovelands house there was a gas decontamination room in the basement as many of the wounded were suffering  from the effect of poison gas. Roseneath and Tottenhall School in Southgate were both used as voluntary hospitals for the wounded. Those soldiers who had recovered sufficiently were allowed out but had to return to the hospitals at night. They were a distinctive sight in their blue hospital uniforms with white facings.

Soldiers in Hospital uniform
Soldiers in Hospital uniform

There were various entertainments laid on for the wounded troops such as the one at Roseneath in May 1915 when some young Winchmore Hill ladies staged a ‘dramatic entertainment’ which raised money for the hospital as well as entertained the wounded soldiers. 500 wounded soldiers were entertained at Pymmes Park in 1916 and there were fetes at Grovelands and Broomfield Park. Local cinemas reduced their prices for wounded soldiers.