Victorian Stained Glass Restoration
The Stained Glass at the Heart of Our Victorian Heritage
When The Assembly Room was built it had the most exquisite stained glass installed. The windows were destroyed in bombing raids in the Second World War. After the war limited funds meant that we had to replace the broken windows with plain glass. The windows and frames have become worn and they are now so badly in need of repair that they are boarded up.
Working with the Heritage of London Trust and Chapel Studios, the foremost stained glass specialist in Europe, we are planning to return stained glass to the Assembly Room, restoring this once grand Victorian Hall to its former beauty, so that it can be enjoyed by patients, residents and the wider community. To do this we need to raise £108,000.
Please help us with the restoration by donating here.
When the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability (RHN) was established in 1854 our founder, Dr Andrew Reed, was determined to provide the best environment possible for people living with severe disability. For this reason The Assembly Room was added in the 1870s to provide a day room for patients and their families, and for over 150 years it has been at the heart of the hospital.
Track our progress as the stained glass gets coloured in
More about our Victorian history
Established in 1854 as the ‘Hospital for Incurables’, the RHN is firmly rooted in Victorian philanthropy. Our close association with high profile Victorians Charles Dickens and Florence Nightingale is something of which we are immensely proud. You can download a PDF of one of Florence Nightingale’s letters to the RHN using this link.
Andrew Reed was a prolific Victorian philanthropist was moved to establish the hospital following an appeal by Charles Dickens in 1850
‘It is an extraordinary fact that among the innumerable medical charities with which this country abounds, there is not one for the help of those who of all others most require succour, and who must die, and do die in thousands, neglected, unaided. There are hospitals for the cure of every possible ailment or disease known to suffering humanity but not one for the reception of persons past cure. There are, indeed, small charities for incurables scattered over the country…but a large hospital for incurables does not exist.’
Charles Dickens – Household Words
Responding to this call to action, we were the first hospital in Britain, and one of the first in the world, to offer long-term care for people who were living with chronic or incurable illness.
Dickens went on to write the first fundraising campaign for the hospital and in 1863 the hospital’s board of management secured the purchase of Melrose Hall, an 18th century villa on West Hill in Putney, to establish a permanent home for the hospital and its patients.
The building was extended in 1868 and again in 1879, the year that the Assembly Room and the wing in which it sits were built. Nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale advised Reed on how to layout and staff the hospital wards These buildings remain in use today.
The Assembly Room, past and present
For over 150 years, the Assembly Room has been at the heart of the hospital and its community. It is the location of the twice weekly Christian service presided over by the RHN’s chaplain, Geoff Coyne.
The Assembly Room is still used daily as a space for meeting, socialising and being entertained. The vast range of activities and clubs for patients that take place in this room, include the Saturday morning boccia group with an additional sports group on Mondays; Making Music involving singing and dancing for people in wheelchairs; weekly film screenings, comedy club and regular live music. When not in use for an activity, the room is used by patients and family members as a place to relax and spend time together.