Coed Bel VAD hospital, Chislehurst

Learn more about this VAD hospital

Joanna Friel

Coed Bel house

Coed Bel VAD hospital, Chislehurst

Before the First World War

Coed Bel had been built in 1865 for Welshman, William Mostyn and his wife. A substantial house with large grounds, specimen trees and a tennis court, standing proud above Lubbock Road, it lent itself superbly to institutional use. It had been a school since 1877.

During the First World  War

The slighter cases from the church hall were sent over the road to the sanatorium of Coed Bel private girl’s school. The facility was lent by the headmistress Miss Fox. There were only 8 beds but the little house cared for the wounded until March 1919.

Mrs Gibson acted as a trained nurse during the day and Miss Gibson by night.

During the Second World War

The house became a prisoner of war camp during the Second World War and then under the ownership of the Ministry of Defence it was run as a hostel for apprentices from Woolwich Arsenal.

The site today

The house no longer exists having become derelict and several detached houses now stand on the site. The little sanatorium is still standing however, known now as Willow Lodge. It was quite clearly the coach house of the original big house with its upstairs accommodation above a large ‘garage’ space. When the current owners were remodelling the house they even found a small clay pipe and a horseshoe amongst the sand at ground level.

This page was added by Ian Grant on 07/07/2014.

Comments about this page

  • My mother was a matron at this establishment for about two years as a Matron age 23. her name was Kathleen Joan Baker

    By Nigel Robert Baker Linwood (28/12/2017)
  • I was a schoolgirl at Coed bel in 1938 while Miss Fox was still alive and in 1940, when Miss Cawley was the headmistress,
    We (my sister Sheila) and I were evacuated to Seavington in Somerset under Miss Cawley’s care, with Miss Lack and Miss Ridsdale.
    We stayed there for only a few months, I have idyllic memories of living in the old rectory, when a stray bomb
    fell in a field, and that was the beginning of the end for
    Coed bel as a school. We all scattered .
    I have deep felt memories of that time and have often
    wondered what became of my friends there from before the war.
    barbara whyte ray
    June 2015

    By barbara (whyte) ray (24/06/2015)

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