Paddington Children's Hospital, Paddington Green, 1895
St Mary's has a world-wide reputation, built up over years of excellent work in many fields. The hospital expanded as and when it could into the surrounding buildings, many of which were of a completely unsuitable nature. For example, there are sets of two-storey stables, built for 19th century railway horses, with floors in blue brick setts, laid in falls to allow the urine to run away. Long slopes up the sides, used to allow the horses to reach their first floor stables. These stables were converted into part of the hospital complex, so that today consultants trip lightly up slopes where shire horse once plodded. Other old industrial buildings were converted until the site is a warren of corridors and internal passages, with departments in outmoded buildings and awkwardly situated in relation to each other.
Architects Skidmore, Ownings & Merrill were asked to consider the redevelopment and upgrading of the whole site, without disrupting the work of the hospital.
The New, Bigger St Mary’s Hospital
It was planned for the Royal Brompton & Harefield Hospital and the National Heart and Lung Foundation, all to move to the site in the first decade of the new century. The existing Clarence Wing in Praed Street would be retained and the two areas on either side developed. Departments wouldl be moved into the new buildings as they are completed and the vacated sites redeveloped in their turn. In this way the gradual transformation of the site would be carried out with the minimum of disruption to both patients and staff.
The site plan shows the triangular St Mary's site. The existing Queen Elizabeth/Queen Mother building and the Clarence wing were to be retained, The sites on either side of the QE/QM building would be demolished and rebuilt, one as an extension for St Mary's and the other for the Harefield & Brompton. Next to the Clarence Building would be the Imperial College School of Medicine and its new extension. At the west end of the site a new square, to be called Paddington Square, would open into the new Paddington Station concourse, with a certain amount of office building with retail development on the ground floor to help finance the work.