Heatherwood Hospital
Heatherwood Hospital is an NHS
National Health Service
The National Health Service is the shared name of three of the four publicly funded healthcare systems in the United Kingdom. They provide a comprehensive range of health services, the vast majority of which are free at the point of use to residents of the United Kingdom...

 hospital in Ascot
Ascot, Berkshire
Ascot is a village within the civil parish of Sunninghill and Ascot, in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, Berkshire, England. It is most notable as the location of Ascot Racecourse, home of the prestigious Royal Ascot meeting...

, Berkshire
Berkshire is a historic county in the South of England. It is also often referred to as the Royal County of Berkshire because of the presence of the royal residence of Windsor Castle in the county; this usage, which dates to the 19th century at least, was recognised by the Queen in 1957, and...

, part of the Heatherwood and Wexham Park Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

The hospital was opened in 1922 for the United Services Fund and later taken over by the London County Council
London County Council
London County Council was the principal local government body for the County of London, throughout its 1889–1965 existence, and the first London-wide general municipal authority to be directly elected. It covered the area today known as Inner London and was replaced by the Greater London Council...

 giving priority to children of ex-servicemen from London. After formation of the National Health Service it became a general hospital serving the new town of Bracknell
Bracknell is a town and civil parish in the Borough of Bracknell Forest in Berkshire, England. It lies to the south-east of Reading, southwest of Windsor and west of central London...


Early History

Originally a Victorian country residence built in 1876, possibly for the Farrar family (whose motto 'Ferre va Ferme' appears over the front door), Heatherfield as it was then known was in the ownership of the Ponsonby family between 1881 and 1891, when the Hon. Ashley Ponsonby
Ashley Ponsonby
The Hon. Ashley George John Ponsonby DL, JP , was a British Liberal politician.-Background:Ponsonby was a younger son of William Ponsonby, 1st Baron de Mauley, third son of Frederick Ponsonby, 3rd Earl of Bessborough...

, a Justice of the Peace
Justice of the Peace
A justice of the peace is a puisne judicial officer elected or appointed by means of a commission to keep the peace. Depending on the jurisdiction, they might dispense summary justice or merely deal with local administrative applications in common law jurisdictions...

 and cousin of Sir Henry Ponsonby
Henry Ponsonby
Sir Henry Frederick Ponsonby GCB was a British soldier and royal court official who served as Queen Victoria's Private Secretary.-Biography:He was the son of the British Army general, Sir Frederick Cavendish Ponsonby....

, Equerry to Queen Victoria, and his family had their country seat there.

In 1891 the gardener, Richard Saunders, lived at the Lodge, while the coachman, Cornelius Banister, lived at the Stables (now demolished).

The New York Times reported that on 28 January 1891, Claude Ashley Charles Ponsonby, Ashley's son, married Miss Haller Gross Horwitz of Baltimore
Baltimore is the largest independent city in the United States and the largest city and cultural center of the US state of Maryland. The city is located in central Maryland along the tidal portion of the Patapsco River, an arm of the Chesapeake Bay. Baltimore is sometimes referred to as Baltimore...

 in the USA at All Saints church in Ascot
Ascot is Anglo Saxon in origin, and means 'eastern cottage'.-Places:Ascot is the name of several places:In Australia:* Ascot, Queensland, suburb of Brisbane* Ascot Park, South Australia, suburb of Adelaide...

. Claude's brother Eustace was the best man. The paper reported that the church was "crowded with representatives of a number of the most aristocratic English families and was handsomely decorated with palms and lilies of the valley". After the wedding, the bride's mother Mrs Horwitz "...gave a dejeuner at Heatherfield, which was largely attended".

By 1900 the estate was known as Heatherwood and had been acquired by Sir Thomas Lucas, Bart., who was described as "of 12a Kensington Palace-gardens, and Heatherwood, Ascot...." in a notice of his forthcoming marriage in the Times. Sir Thomas was the son of Thomas Lucas who, with his elder brother Charles Thomas, founded Lucas Brothers, Builders
Lucas Brothers, Builders
Lucas Brothers was a leading British building business based in London.-Early history:The business was founded by Charles Thomas Lucas and Thomas Lucas . They were the sons of James Lucas , a builder, of St Pancras, London...

. The brothers' prestigious list of building contracts in London includes the Royal Albert Hall, Covent Garden Opera House and Alexandra Palace.

The estate was offered for sale at auction by Messers Chancellor and Sons in 1906, but failed to find a purchaser.

There is a Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

 barrow at Heatherwood, indicating there has been human occupation on the site for thousands of years.

First use as a hospital

The house and estate was eventually acquired (possibly in 1919 when the estate was offered for sale at auction but more likely in 1920 when it was sold by private treaty by Hamptons) by the United Services Fund and converted to a hospital for the children of ex-servicemen from the 1914-1918 war, specialising in the treatment of children suffering from surgical tuberculosis and other orthopaedic diseases. Patients were admitted from 1922 and the new hospital was officially opened by the Duke of Connaught in May 1923. The house itself, recently converted to private apartments, was at that time used as a nurses home.

The first consulting surgeon was Sir Henry Gauvain.

Film location

Heatherwood was used as the exterior of 'Finisham Maternity Hospital' in Carry On Matron
Carry On Matron
Carry On Matron is the twenty-third Carry On film. It was released in 1972. It features series regulars Sid James, Kenneth Williams, Charles Hawtrey, Joan Sims, Hattie Jacques, Bernard Bresslaw, Barbara Windsor and Kenneth Connor. This was the last Carry on... film for Terry Scott after appearing...


External links

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