Victorian London - Health and Hygiene - Hospitals - Lock Hospital

LOCK HOSPITAL, HARROW ROAD; CHAPEL and ASYLUM, WESTBOURNE GREE. Supposed to be so called from the French loques, rags, from the rags (lint) applied to wounds and sores; to lock of wool, lock of hair. The Hospital (the only one of the kind in London) was established in 1746, for the cure of females suffering from disorders contracted by a vicious course of life; the Chapel in 1764, as a means of income to the Hospital; and the Asylum in 1787, for the reception of penitent females recovered in the Hospital. A subscription of three guineas annually entitles to one recommendation; 50l. donation or 5 guineas annually, consistutes a governor.

Peter Cunningham, Hand-Book of London, 1850


LOOK HOSPITAL, removed, from its old habitat in Grosvenor Place, to a more appropriate position in the Harrow Road, discharges the functions both of a hospital (established in 1746) and an asylum (dating from 1787) for penitent Magdalenes afflicted with disease, or sincerely desirous of abandoning the "primrose path that leads to the everlasting bonfire."

Cruchley's London in 1865 : A Handbook for Strangers, 1865


LOCK HOSPITAL, Harrow-road; CHAPEL and ASYLUM, Westbourne-green: the Hospital established 1746, for the treatment of the peculiar disease incident to profligate women; the Asylum founded 1787 by the Bible commentator, the Rev. Thomas Scott, for the reclamation of the cured inmates to virtuous habits; and the Chapel in 1764, for the ministration to the unfortunate patients and inmates. The establishment was originally formed in Grosvenor-place, where the Chapel, by its popular preachers, became a source of income to the institution. This is the only Asylum existing in connexion with a hospital; all penitentiaries are necessarily shut against the sick and dying outcasts; and for such there is no complete refuge save "the Lock Hospital." (See Low's Charities, p. 99.) In 1842, the Institution was removed to its present site; in 1849, the success of an autograph appeal by the Duke of Cambridge provided for the admission of double the number of patients.    
    The Lock Hospital is so called from the Loke or Lock, in Kent-street, Southwark, a spittal for leprous persons of early date. The name has been referred to the old French loques, rags, from the linen applied to sores; "but otherwise, and with more probability, from the Saxon loq, shut, closed, in reference to the necessary seclusion of the leper on account of the infectious nature of his disease." (Archer's Vestiges, Part I.) We find Lock "an infirmary" in Bailey's Dictionary. Others trace the Southwark Hospital to the stream, or open sewer, called "the Lock," which divided the parishes of St. George and St. Mary, Newington, and is shown in Rocque's large map of Surrey. The Hospital known to have existed temp. Edward II., had a chapel dedicated to St. Leonard. (Tanner.) it came into the possession of St. Bartholomews Hospital, whence it received patients: falling into decay, it was let in tenements was taken down in 1809, and its site laid into the Dover-road; a portion of the site was, however, consecrated as the parish burial-ground more than a century since, and so continues.
    There were other "Locks" : - 2. Between Mile End and Stratford-is-Bow. 3. At Kingsland. between Shoreditch and Stoke Newington, the chapel of which, St. Bartholomew's, remained till 1840. (See CHAPELS, p. 209.) A sun-dial on the premises formerly bore this inscription, significant of sin and sorrow :- 
    "Post voluptatem misericordia."
    Prior to its alienation from the mother hospital, the house had a communication with the chapel so contrived that the patients might take part in the service without seeing or being seen by the rest of the congregation: and there was a similar arrangement in the Lock-chapel in Grosvenor-place. 4. At Knightsbridge, east of Albert-gate, was a lazar-house under the patronage of the Abbot and Convent of Westminster: the Hospital chapel (Holy Trinity) remains: it was rebuilt in 1627, by a licence from Dr. Laud, then Bishop of London, as a chapel of ease to St. Martin's-in-the-Fields, within the precincts of which it was situated; but it was subsequently assigned to the parish of St. George, Hanover-square, and now forms part of Kensington.-.Notes and Queries, No. 114.

John Timbs, Curiosities of London, 1867


see also William Acton in Prostitution - click here