Hidden Lives Revealed. A virtual archive - children in care 1881-1981 * Image of handwritten text

St Martin's Orthopaedic Hospital And Special School, Pyrford

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St Martin's Orthopaedic Hospital And Special School, Pyrford

Pyrford, nr. Woking, Surrey

(1916 - 1948)

The Waifs and Strays' Society was one of the first charities to work with children and young people with disabilities. In 1887 the Society opened its first home for children with physical disabilities, St Nicholas' Home in Tooting, London - this were quickly followed by St Martin's Home for Boys in Surbiton and St Agnes' Home For Girls in Croydon.

By 1916 St Martin's in Surbiton was deemed too small for the children's needs, so it was decided to move the home. The Society had acquired an estate in Pyrford, Surrey some years earlier, on which it built St Nicholas' Orthopaedic Hospital And Special School. It was decided to build a new St Martin's on an adjacent plot of land.

Countess Roberts laid St Martin's foundation stone on 21 July 1915 - as the Home was intended to be a memorial to her late husband Lord Roberts, who had been the Vice President of the Society. It would be able to accommodate 50 boys, who were aged 5-16.

From 1916 St Martin's and St Nicholas' ran together as two separate homes, even though they were next-door to each other. In 1923 the two homes amalgamated to become St Martin's and St Nicholas' Orthopaedic Hospital and Special School. This meant that expensive equipment was not duplicated and all the children could benefit from the Honorary Orthopaedic surgeon, Mr Rowley Bristow.

In 1948 the Home changed its name to Rowley Bristow Orthopaedic Hospital to honour the then late Surgical Director, and appears to have been integrated into the National Health Service.

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