Industrial record MCC5212 - Essex County Hospital, Lexden Road, Colchester


Early C19 hospital by Mark Greystone Thompson with later additions.


Grid reference TL 9892 2488 (point)
Map sheet TL92SE


Type and Period (6)

Full Description

The Essex County Hospital was built in 1819-20 on the western side Colchester and to the south of Lexden Road. Erected to plans prepared by M. Greystone-Thompson, the original hospital is a two- and three-storey symmetrical building built in grey gault brick in a late Georgian style (1). A portico with Ionic columns fronts a three bay central block containing the board room, physicians room, administration offices and kitchens; two-storey ward wings flank the entrance range. The building was enlarged in 1839 and again in 1879-80 to designs by J.H. Wyatt at a cost of £7,000; the latter included four two-storey diagonally set sanitary blocks each built onto the ends of the ward wings and a single-storey laundry block (5). Standing to the rear of the hospital the laundry adopts a simple architectural style with red brick elevations and a hipped slate roof surmounted by a large central brick cupola flanked by ventilation ridges. Two further ranges to the rear of the main building appear to have been demolished or incorporated into later fabric. The fever block of 1848 is no longer extant.

To commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria the hospital was again extended in 1898; these works included the construction of a nurses home (7). Designed in a similar style to the main block by architects Goodey and Cressall, the original nurses home is a 2½-storey, four-bay building with a canted porch extending from its north facing facade; this was considerably enlarged in 1932 with an extension to the south and three symmetrically placed projections extending to the west (7a). Using the same style of brick and erected in an Art-Deco style, the hostel was built on three levels to plans prepared by D.W. Clark. The central projection has a one-bay recessed balcony, low railings with geometric designs on all three levels and a parapet wall. The projections form two courtyards; the southern example has a stone porch with the engraving ‘NURSES HOME’ on the lintel and iron railings above. Contemporary perimeter walling survives to the west together with iron gates that open into the courtyard.

A small single-storey red brick range (6) of 1911 stands at the south-east corner of the site; the building contains south-east facing bay windows (now over-shadowed by a later perimeter wall) and pavilion roofs surmounted by a large roof lantern. This may have served as an isolation, pathology or mortuary block.

Hospital accommodation was increased to 120 beds following the opening of the east wing (2) on July 14th 1924 by A.W. Coats Hutton J.P. Fronting Lexden Road the extension was built using similar bricks with a cornice and dentilation below the parapet, a stone first-floor band and projecting brick quoins. The elevations beside Hospital Road contain two bridged gable-ended projections and the foundation stone; a modern addition including an out-patients department has been added to the west side. The hospital was again extended with the addition of a two-storey ward block (3) opened on the 30 September 1936. Although the block is unremarkable its southern bays contain large sun lounges with metal framed floor to ceiling glazing on both floors. Immediately to the west is a boiler house (4) that is predominantly modern but appears to have an older red brick building with a roof lantern at its core. The remaining buildings are mostly modern. <1>.

Sources/Archives (2)

  • --- Photograph: Garwood, Adam. 1999. Essex County Hospital, Colchester.
  • <1> DESC TEXT: Garwood, Adam and Gould, Shane. 1999. Essex Hospitals 1800-1948: a study of their history, design and architecture.

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Record last edited

Feb 6 2017 7:57AM

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