Originally established on 13 April 1843 as "The Hospital for the Diseases of Women" in Red Lion Square, Dr. Protheroe Smith stated:
‘It was the first Institution established in this or any other country exclusively for the treatment of those maladies which neither rank, wealth, nor character can avert from the female sex.’
It was renamed The Hospital for Women in 1845 and, after outgrowing its Holborn space, moved to Soho Square in 1852.
Due to outbreak of World War II, it closed in 1939 and was briefly reopened in 1940 to deal with first aid. There were plans to merge it with the Samaritan Free Hospital in 1946 but with the development of the NHS it became part of the Middlesex Hospital Group. It’s now contains two GP practices and the Soho Walk in centre.
The freehold is owned by NHS Property services and is subject to no restrictive covenants. It's planning use class is D1.
Class D1 covers many ‘public’ services:
- Medical or health services premises which don’t form a part of the practitioner’s home
- Crèches, day nurseries or day centres
- Premises for education,
- Premises which display works of art without commercial transactions (sale or hire)
- Public libraries or reading rooms
- Public or exhibition halls
- Premises “for, or in connection with, public worship or religious instruction”
In 2016 the NHS sought permission to convert the building to office use but WCC refused. However, if the NHS stop using it for medical and community services then WCC will eventually be forced to consent to office use and the community will lose this historical building.
The NHS has now said it will close the walk in centre and one of the GP services is being severely curtailed. The writing is on the wall.
If you think the the Soho Hospital for Women should remain as a community asset please let us know. It would be great if the Soho community could come forward with plans to use this historic building consistent with its history, role and existing planning permission.