The Princess Louise Hospital, to give its proper title, was the result of the Absent Minded Beggar Relief Fund which had been organised with the assistance of the Daily Mail during the South African War of 1899 – 1902. It was handed over to the War Office in 1902 and officially opened by Princess Louise, sixth child of Queen Victoria, the following year.
Sir William Purdie Treloar, a previous Lord Mayor of London and a long campaigner on behalf of crippled children, acquired the former Army hospital in 1907 for use as a hospital to treat children of both sexes up to the age of 12 who were suffering from tuberculosis disease of the bones or joints. The associated College aimed to provide ‘technical instruction to cripple boys of 14 years of age and upwards, as will enable them to earn their own living’. This institution was opened on 8 September 1908.
Within a few years children were arriving from all over the country and the hospital was fortunate to have its own railway platform on the Alton – Basingstoke branch line. The original hutted hospital was partly rebuilt between 1929 and 1937 and until the 1950s the hospital and college facilities were side by side. The Hospital had been taken over by the National Health Service in 1948 and the College acquired a site at Froyle Place and moved there in 1953. The Florence Treloar School for Girls was opened at Holybourne in 1965.
In 1978 the boy’s college at Froyle and the Florence Treloar School for girls were amalgamated to provide a co-educational establishment called Lord Mayor Treloar College with the Lower School at Froyle and the Upper School at Holybourne. In 1995 the Froyle site became the Lord Mayor Treloar School whilst the Holybourne site became a National Specialist College for Further Education. There are discussions taking place to move everything to the Holybourne campus in due course.
The Lord Mayor Treloar Hospital in Chawton Park Road was threatened with closure in the 1970s but survived to serve the community until 1994. A Community Hospital was opened on part of the site in 1992 when the former Alton General Hospital on Anstey Road closed.
Despite a seven year campaign to keep the Treloar Hospital open, closure was confirmed, the contents were sold by auction in 2001 and the remainder of the buildings were demolished the following year, the site being re-developed for housing. The street names of the area provide a reminder of the people associated with the former hospital.
A plaque on the site was unveiled by Alan Titchmarsh on Saturday, 5 July 2005 commemorating the history and achievements of the Lord Mayor Treloar Hospital.
The bust of Sir William Treloar (decorated for the centenary of the opening of the Hospital and College in 2008) outside the Community Hospital on the corner of the original site