The London Chest hospital – Bethnal Green – Various 2018

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mockney reject

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The history

The London Chest Hospital was founded in March 1848 by a group of men, predominantly Quakers, who included bankers, merchants and the physician, Thomas Bevill Peacock. They wished to build a hospital to deal with diseases of the heart and lungs, particularly tuberculosis. By June the group, with the patronage of Prince Albert, had raised enough money to open a public dispensary at 6 Liverpool Street, while the hospital was being built.

In 1849 a site in Bonner's Fields, part of Victoria Park was purchased and in 1851 Prince Albert laid the foundation stone. The Hospital opened in 1855 at a cost of around £30,000. Until 1923 it was known as the City of London Hospital for Diseases of the Chest, then it was renamed the City of London Hospital for Diseases of the Heart and Lungs, although it was popularly known as the 'Victoria Park Hospital'. A Pathological Laboratory & Research Institute was opened in 1927 funded by the Prudential Assurance Company. In 1937 a new Surgical Wing was added to the Hospital and the name was changed to the London Chest Hospital. The Hospital was badly damaged by bombing during the Second World War and in 1948 it became part of the National Health Service. In 1994 it became part of the Royal Hospitals NHS Trust together with the Royal London Hospital and St Bartholomew's Hospital.

On 17 April 2015 it closed due to a reconfiguration of specialist cardiovascular services in north and east London. This enabled the creation of the Barts Heart Centre, one of Europe's largest cardiac centres. Local campaigners opposed the closure which was approved by NHS England in October 2014.

Barts Health announced in April 2015 that

'The hospital is no longer up to the demands of rigorous specialised 21st century medicine and is now closed.'

Services moved from the London Chest Hospital (Barts Health) and The Heart Hospital (UCLH) to the Barts Heart Centre at St Bartholomew's Hospital in April and May 2015. On 28 August 2015, Barts Health NHS Trust sold the premises to Circle Housing with the proceeds reinvested into the Barts Heart Centre.

This website covers the redevelopment of The London Chest hospital and is worth keeping an eye on

The London Chest Hospital - Public Consultation

This pictures show the hospital how it was when it still had the TB balconies

And how they plan to restore it and once again add the balconies to make the hospital look as it once was.

Although I’m sure they are seeing the addition of the balconies as a unique selling point.

The Explore

I first visited The London Chest Hospital back in September of 2015 with @urban_diaries however this particular evening was short lived as once we jumped over the hoarding we were confronted by two secca guys.

One screaming that if we moved he was “going to fucking hurt us”

The other guy was a gent and proper placid.

Couldn't help ourselves but childishly snigger at the one who was losing his rag, only to be made worse by us snap chatting videos of him and taking selfies with the two of them in the background.

The placid one however found it quite funny

The lairy guy called the police, screaming at them down the phone that he had intruders, just two of us lol.

Mr Lairy was telling us how good he was at his job and how nobody had ever got in, this only made us snigger more, Urban_Diaries had been in there the night before lol

Eventually 7, yes 7 of the Mets finest turned up, they had a good ole giggle and a laugh with us and walked us off site with much eye rolling and belittling of the other enthusiastic member of site security.

That was then.

Whenever I was in the area I had a look at The Chest but general consequences was that it was locked up tighter than a tight thing and just not doable.

Then back in May this year I was hanging out in “that London” with @Rapid_ascent and we decided to have a look.

We had a nose around the Nurses block.

We had the main hospital in our sights and were soon checking it out. Every window was closed tight and those that were open had limiting straps on them to stop them opening wide enough for us to get in.

Then we spotted what looked like a rather sketchy but doable way of getting in.

A few cuts and bruises later and we were inside and standing in one of the many awesome operating theatres.

Moving around the hospital we managed to snap a few corridor shots, the wards and some shots of the hexagonal tower which for some reason still had the lights on.

All the time we were in the chest we were well aware that secca are still on site and not hoping for a repeat performance with Mr Angry.

We worked out way away from secca with a plan of finding a way out and hopping the fence to get out the easy way.

We got to the furthest end and walked into this

A nice wooden chapel.

However outside the chapel was this

Yup a body lift

Kind made sense, they had to get the bodies in the chapel somehow.

At the end of the chapel are two wooden doors. Fully expecting there to be storage space behind them, imagine our shock at this

Yup a six person body fridge.

Thinking that the doors at the opposite end of the fridges may lead to a decent mortuary we gave them a shove and nothing happened.


So we packed up and left for the evening.

However it bugged me for a few weeks as to why we couldn’t access the mortuary.

With the aid of google and google earth I could see that there had been an external “porta cabin” style
Mortuary outside the chapel back in 2008 however it disappeared in 2014/5 around the time the hospital closed.

From what I had already read the hospital originally had an external chapel.

Now this was all getting a little confusing until I came upon an articles that explained it all.

The mortuary was originally inside the hospital, the article described the odd shaped window you can see in my pictures.


What is now the chapel was once the hospitals mortuary and had been repurposed at some point. The wood panelling it over the top of the original mortuary walls, this also explains the sealed off fridges in the cupboard. Good ole google….

I have since visited The Chest a couple more times with @Urban_Duck and @Mk2 Smiffy and some of the pics in this report are from those visits.


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May 9, 2017
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Man, finding those body fridges must have been spooky as hell. I love it :D Thanks for the accompanying exploration story, was very enjoyable.