Monday, November 7, 2011

UK: Last East London Jewish Hospital Demolished

Last East London Jewish Hospital Demolished

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Despite opposition, the last remaining Jewish hospital building in London’s East End will be torn down to make way for a five-story housing development. The Tower Hamlets council agreed for the Jewish Maternity Hospital on Underwood Road, Whitechapel, to be demolished because it does not have landmark status. It is neither listed by English Heritage, nor does it fall within a Conservation Area, according to a report in the East London Advertiser.

Those opposed to the demolition, including cultural and political leaders, are especially upset that the cottages next door to the hospital are also set to be taken down. They say that they are large single-family homes in good shape. “The Director of Jewish Heritage UK, Sharman Kadish, also wrote to Peabody [the real estate developer], saying the social and historic significance of the cottages next to the main hospital building have been overlooked while urging the trust to convert the cottages into residential use,” the article in the Advertiser said.

The developer contends that keeping the cottages would negatively affect the number of housing units needed to be built and would make its plan financially unfeasible.

The Jewish Maternity Hospital operated between 1911 and 1947 and had an attached midwifery school. It was built as a two-story building containing three maternity wards, an operating theater and several annexes and offices. Of its 12 beds, 4 were reserved for patients who could not pay for medical care. The building quickly became too small, and eventually additional wings were added on. The hospital also added on many other services, including pre-natal and post-natal care clinics.

Since WWII, and after the hospital moved to another site, the building has served as a nursery and childcare center, and more recently as a family welfare association for local residents in Tower Hamlets.


Save 'Mother Levy's' said...

Thank you for your post on the former Jewish Maternity Home on Underwood Road, Whitechapel, London, also known affectionately as Mother Levy's. The good news is that the Jewish Maternity Home (later Hospital) - the only Jewish Maternity Home in the United Kingdom - is not demolished. The developer, Peabody (what would the American philanthropist George Peabody think?) started demolition of the original 1911 Home but were forced to stop. A campaign: 'Save Mother Levy's' has an online petition which has hundreds of people from all over the world who have signed. Please, please sign it and send the petition on to others who might sign in the USA. We need your help to ask Peabody to retain the original 'cottages' of the Jewish Maternity Hospital, for possible conversion into residences. Please look at our Save Mother Levy's Facebook page where there are links to the petition and more on the campaign to save a part of the Jewish Maternity Home in Whitechapel, London:
A separate link to the petition is here:
Thank you so much for your help in publicising the plight of the unique Jewish Maternity Home in England, the only building that stands as a memorial to the work of Alice Model, Bella Lowy, Dr Muriel Landau (Oliver Sacks' mother), Dr Samuel Sacks, Dr Hannah Billig, John Myers (the young architect of the original 1911 'cottage' in the Arts and Crafts style) and the many others who created and worked at the "Oasis in the Ghetto" (1911 article.)

Save 'Mother Levy's' said...

Sad to report to you Samuel that the Jewish Maternity Home in Whitechapel, Tower Hamlets, London is now being demolished by Peabody Trust, the destruction going ahead on Friday, 13 January 2012. This Home was the only Jewish Maternity Home in the United Kingdom and the original 1911 building by Jewish architect John Myers (1888-1915) was the first building to be bulldozed. John Myers has also been erased from the history of this building by those who sought to demolish it. There are photos, comments and further background on the demolition of the Home on the Save Mother Levy's Facebook page:
Thank you for featuring the Campaign on your blog and sorry to bring this devastating news to you and your readers in the US who have followed and supported 'Save Mother Levy's'.
In memory of those who created the Jewish Maternity Home in Whitechapel, London; who worked there and were born there, we will continue to add tributes and discoveries on the Save Mother Levy's Facebook page.