The Richmond Red Cross hospital receives its first patients
The Richmond Red Cross Hospital was established in Old Friars, which had previously been the Richmond Liberal and Reform Club. The large, double-fronted property was lent to the Red Cross for the duration of the First World War. The first patients were admitted on the 6 November 1914.
The hospital had 45 beds and a large garden where recovering patients could relax or play ball games. When the War Office requested that the hospital be enlarged to 100 beds in 1915, Mrs Cockburn agreed to vacate her house next door, Abbotsdene, so that it could be used as an extension. An opening was made in the wall dividing the two properties.
By 1917 the staff included a Matron, a radiographer, two masseuses and 45 members of the V.A.D (Voluntary Aid Detachment). By the end of the war there were 100 V.A.D nurses working at the hospital.