Running the New Peace Memorial Hospital

The new Peace Memorial Hospital, which opened in 1925, was largely funded by public subscription and the Board developed a contributory scheme for workers, a strategy for the poor and a schedule of services that were charged for and services that were free.

Nurses’ sitting room

Common illnesses treated at the hospital were measles, whooping cough, diphtheria, influence, rickets, tetanus, with the main killer being heart disease, then cancer, bronchitis and tuberculosis. Health advances in the 1920s included insulin treatment for Diabetes, the introduction of catgut as a surgical thread, stick on band aids were invented, a whooping cough vaccine was developed, hearing aids were being introduced, iron lungs were being developed and penicillin was discovered.


Patient being treated with Ultra Violet Light for Rickets.

Rickets was common in people with a vitamin D deficient diet. A lack of sunlight also contributed to the condition. At Peace Memorial Hospital, people with rickets were treated with light from ultraviolet lamps. Patients and staff wore green plastic goggles to protect their eyes.

This post is part of information gathered during Peace Hospice Care’s oral histories project 2014-16. The project captured 25 years of Peace Hospice Care and explored the legacy of the Peace Memorial Hospital. It was funded by the Heritage Lottery Foundation.

Find out more about Peace Hospice Care by visiting or the online project archive  Oral histories from the project will be deposited with Hertfordshire Archive and Local Studies by end 2016.


This page was added on 09/11/2016.

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