VAD Hospital, Suffolk Hall, Cheltenham

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



VAD Hospitals in Cheltenham During the Great War

Suffolk Hall VAD Hospital, Lypiatt Road

Location:  Lypiatt Road, Cheltenham

Grid Reference:   SO 944217

Opened:   9th December 1914

Closed:   29th March 1919

Beds:   65

Average Resident Patients in 1918:   48

Total Admissions:   1368

UKNIWM Ref:  In due course

Inscriptions on the Memorial:   This building was used as a hospital for sick and wounded soldiers during the Great War.   It was manned by Gloucestershire Voluntary Aid Detachment No 26 and was open from 9 Dec 1914 to 29 Mar 1919 during which period 1368 cases were treated.


The hospital was staffed by No 26 Gloucestershire Voluntary Aid Detachment and its officers were:

Commandant:   Miss M Hattersley-Smith

Medical Officers:   Dr J F Johns, Mr Holmes

Lady Superintendent:   Miss Harris

Quartermaster:   Miss Marriott

Hon Secretary:   Miss Mott

Hon Treasurer:   Mr Shepherd


Notes by the Commandant.   Suffolk Hall, formerly a boys school, was kindly lent to Glos 26 by Mr Soames at the outset of the War.   The large gymnasium and schoolrooms made excellent wards.   An outdoor recreation room and open air shelter were provided by private funds, the latter to contain eight beds.   An excellent theatre was completely fitted up, and here all operations were performed until June 1917, after which the more serious cases were removed to the General Hospital owing to the shortage of surgeons, both those from Suffolk Hall having left for foreign service.   The hospital received cases direct from the front, except during the winters of 1915 and 1916, when it acted as garrison hospital for the troops stationed in Cheltenham.   The hospital, owing to the influenza epidemic, was filled to overflowing from January 1919, and the staff went through a very trying time.

The patients worked badges, did carving, painting, carpentry, etc, and the work done by them was sold for various causes.   The hospital provided a stall at the bazaar held in aid of St Dunstan’s Hospital in November 1916, consisting partly of patients’ work, and over £100 was realised.

Of the staff, at the close of the hospital in March 1919, there were seventeen remaining who had worked since the opening in December 1914.


The building is still in use today.

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:   10th April 2014


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