St Helier has a rich history, starting in 1938 when Queen Mary laid the first foundation stone at the site. This year it celebrates its 75th Year.
The first patients were admitted in 1941 and the building was completed in 1942. The cost of the rent at the time was just £1 a year.
Sadly, less than a month after completion, the hospital was damaged by a bomb dropped during an air raid in World War Two. Further damage was caused throughout the war, and the hospital was struck by two flying bombs in June 1944. However, St Helier remained open and continued to grow after the War. The whole hospital was eventually camouflaged to prevent the Luftwaffe using the hospital as a landmark for sighting runs into central London or being targeted following aborted air-raids over the capital. When finally completed, St Helier was one of the first buildings in the United Kingdom to have underfloor heating throughout the main structure and patient areas and was used as a template for further hospital buildings due to its success.
During the 1960s and 1970s, the hospital was extensively underpinned due to excessive subsidence due to the topography and structure of the surrounding land and the naturally high water table of Carshalton. The works were completed by Cementations Ltd and the work on the hospital became a textbook entry for the industry.
In 1974, St Helier Hospital accommodated the first kidney transplant: a 24-year-old man had an operation at the hospital where he received a kidney from his sister. In 1977, the A&E department was opened for the first time following an investment of £200,000.
St Helier Hospital has also played host to royalty in the past. During the hospital’s Jubilee year in 1963, the Queen Mother visited the hospital to give nursing awards to staff. In 1987, the Princess of Wales officially opened the new maternity unit.