VAD Hospital, The Priory, Cheltenham

   LEAVING CHELTENHAM …………..and all that was dear



VAD Hospitals in Cheltenham During the Great War

The Priory VAD Hospital, London Road

Location:  London Road, Cheltenham

Grid Reference:   SO 955218

Opened:   5th November 1914

Closed:   9th January 1919

Beds:   100

Average Resident Patients in 1918:   73

Total Casualties Treated:   1603

IWMWM Ref:   In due course



The photo above is of the new building of luxury flats, completed in 2001, on the site of the Priority VAD Hospital.   Below is the original Priory, demolished in 1967 to make way for an office block.   This block was rarely used and remained an empty eyesore for years.



The hospital was staffed by No 30 Gloucestershire Voluntary Aid Detachment and its officers were:

Commandant:   Miss S H Smith, OBE

Medical Officers:   Dr H M Meyrick-Jones and Dr R C Affleck

Lady Superintendent:   Miss Bagnall-Oakley, ARRC

Quartermasters:   Mrs Halliday and Mr R W Sharp

Hon Secretary:   Mr C Trees

Hon Treasurer:   Col Matthews


Notes by the Commandant (on closure in 1919)

This hospital was opened on 5th November 1914, first at Moorend Park, Charlton Kings with 40 beds, then at The Abbotts with an increase of 10 beds.   In October 1916 the Abbotts was closed and the patients where transferred to The Priory, which was opened in its place, with accommodation for 100 patients instead of 50, and between 10 and 15 of the staff.   The Priory, being the hostel of St Paul’s Training College was well adapted for a hospital.   The rooms upstairs are large and airy; and the dining hall, drawing room, and recreation room made excellent wards on the ground floor.   The latter opening into the garden made a particularly pleasant ward in summer.   Two small rooms were used as officers’ wards.   The more serious cases amongst the troops stationed in Cheltenham and the neighbourhood, and from the Rendcombe Aerodrome, and the men on leave were received, as well as convoys from France; also numerous out patients were treated daily, so that the central position of the hospital was a very great advantage.


The building remains in use today and has been converted into luxury apartments.


Further reading: 

1.   “Cheltenham in the Great War” by Neela Mann (ISBN 978 0 7509 6415 9) published in 2016, describes the considerable contribution to the war effort made by the Cheltenham Branch of the British Red Cross Society during 1914 – 1919.

2.   “VAD Hospitals in Cheltenham” from The Wilson Collection and Archives at the Cheltenham Museum can be viewed here and here.

3.   “Gloucestershire Red Cross Hospitals” can be seen here.




Page last updated: 31st December 2016


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