A rich history

The London Chest Hospital is an important historical landmark in the heart of Bethnal Green.

Proposed designs to transform the main hospital building and deliver new public spaces

1848: The Hospital is founded

A group of Quakers, including the physician Thomas Bevill Peacock (pictured) established the Hospital. With funds raised from Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, they opened a dispensary at 6 Liverpool Street, while construction works commenced on the main Hospital.

1855: The Hospital opens

The Hospital was built on the site of the former Bishops Hall. The foundation stone was laid by Prince Albert in 1851 and the Hospital opened in 1855, at a cost of £30,000.

The London Chest Hospital has far-reaching significance beyond the local community.

LCH Porter, 1980

The quality of care was excellent; other hospitals used to call on us for expert support.

LCH Nurse, 1986 – 2015

1914 – 1918: First World War

Lillian Grace, matron of the Hospital, was awarded the Royal Red Cross for her services to civilian nursing.

As matron of the 4th London General Hospital, a territorial Hospital for the treatment of military casualties, Dalton had responsibility for the care of over five hundred officers and soldiers.

During this time, the London Chest Hospital treated servicemen returning from the Western Front who had experienced gas poisoning.

1937: Renamed to London Chest Hospital

A new surgical wing was constructed to allow for major surgery of the chest to be carried out. New treatments available at the time included thoracoplasty for tuberculosis and lobectomy for bronchiectasis.

In the same year, the hospital was renamed the London Chest Hospital.

We kept ourselves busy when not on duty. Dances, fayres and pantomimes were held in the hospital grounds. We used to take part in charity runs and visit local working men’s clubs to collect money.

LCH Nurse, 1986-2015

The mulberry tree was always there in the background. Nurses held barbecues underneath it and fayres around it.

LCH Nurse, 1986 – 2015

1939 – 1945: Second World War

The Hospital played its part in serving soldiers during the Second World War. The buildings themselves were damaged by enemy bombing during The Blitz in 1941.

Staff continued to treat patients around the rubble of the destruction, despite the Hospital being bombed again throughout the year. Members of the public generously contributed to the cost of repairs.

2012: Fabrice Muamba treated for cardiac arrest

After collapsing on the pitch during an FA Cup quarter-final match against Tottenham, the Bolton midfielder was admitted to the London Chest Hospital.

(Image copyright: David Brookes, PHA Media)

Muamba spent a month in the Hospital following his cardiac arrest. His recovery was described as “incredible” by Bolton’s club doctor, Jonathan Tobin.

I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to every single member of staff who played a part in my care.

Fabrice  Muamba, former Bolton midfielder and LCH patient

The hospital staff were great. I have fond memories of nurses that I worked with.

Unmesh Desai, City & East Assembly Member and LCH Porter in 1980

2015 – The Hospital closes

On 17 April 2015, the Hospital closed, with resources redirected to the creation of the Barts Heart Centre, one of Britain’s leading cardiac centres.

2016 – 2021: Planning application to redevelop the site is approved, then overturned by the High Court

Plans to previously redevelop the former London Chest Hospital site were approved by Tower Hamlets Council. These were however overturned by the High Court in 2021, after a ruling that the relocation of the historic Mulberry Tree was illegal.

The LCH buildings are iconic and were built at a time when the NHS was still evolving. The hospital buildings remained even as the community saw great change.

Unmesh Desai, City & East Assembly Member and LCH Porter in 1980

2022 – Present: Clarion Housing Group acquires full control of the site and progresses new plans as the lead developer.

Latimer, Clarion Housing Group’s development arm, has been speaking to local people for over a year about their proposals to create new homes and public spaces at the former the London Chest Hospital site.

Visit our proposals page to find out more about our vision, and the contact us tab to share any comments or questions you might have.

Proposed designs for a new dedicated woodland playing area