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Latitude: 51.4765 / 51°28'35"N
Longitude: 0.1664 / 0°9'59"E
OS Eastings: 550545
OS Northings: 177503
OS Grid: TQ505775
Mapcode National: GBR RX.QMB
Mapcode Global: VHHNS.T4TZ
Entry Name: The X-Ray Department, Formerly the Underground Hospital, Erith and District Hospital
Listing Date: 27 November 2003
Source: Historic England
Source ID: 1393267
English Heritage Legacy ID: 501623
Location: Bexley, London, DA8
Electoral Ward/Division: Erith
Built-Up Area: Bexley
Traditional County: Kent
Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater London
Church of England Parish: Erith Christ Church
Church of England Diocese: Rochester
The X-Ray Department, formerly the Underground Hospital, Erith and District Hospital
Former underground hospital, later X-Ray Department. Built in 1938 by Erith Borough Council and opened in 1939 as a Civilian Field Hospital/Casualty Station for the imminent war. It was constantly manned by permanent staff and volunteers during the Second World War. In 1950 it was converted into an X-Ray department by the additional of some further partition walls and air-conditioning.
EXTERIOR: Semi-underground structure built of shuttered concrete to be bomb-proof. Roughly rectangular in shape with a curved roof with a thick covering of earth and grass designed to camouflage the building from enemy aircraft. Each of the long sides has four reinforced metal casement windows at a high level with horizontal glazing bars. The main entrance is now in the middle of the north front approached by a ramp with four small windows and a right side door with "X RAY DEPT" painted above. The original main entrances were at each end with ramps and doors suitable for stretchers and trolleys with separate entrances for men and women. The east side has five doors, the west side four doors and a double wooden door.
INTERIOR: Series of brick dividing walls probably doubling as load bearing walls and blast walls with flush-panelled doors. The building is divided into a large number of rooms with an almost identical layout at each end with separate departments for men and women. An open drainage gully running the length of the building close to the outside wall was intended to carry off water after hosing down patients caught out in an enemy mustard gas attack. Some wooden storage lockers survive in the side walls and an original stone sink to the rear of the new X-Ray room.
HISTORY: Built as part of the Emergency Medical Service introduced by the Ministry of Health to deal with the anticipated large-scale casualties from enemy bombing. The provision was mainly hutted accommodation and although another five of these concrete structures were planned no others are known to survive. The only other underground hospitals known are the one at Dover Castle built by the military as a Field Dressing Station as part of a combined HQ accommodation and the underground hospital at Jersey built by the Germans with forced labour for their defence from the allies. Neither of these examples are comparable with this structure at Erith.
This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.
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