Skip to main content

Historic Hospital Admission Records Project


The Ward Names at Great Ormond Street Hospital, 1852-1914

The first hospital at Great Ormond Street had only one ward, and later, when a second ward was added they were known simply as the Girls’ Ward and the Boys’ Ward. It was not until the new building was opened in 1875 that the wards were christened. As Queen Victoria was the hospital patron, the management committee decided to name the wards after her four eldest daughters and her daughter-in-law.

Victoria Ward

Named after Princess Victoria Adelaide Mary Louise, the Queen and Prince Albert’s oldest child, who was born in 1840. Known as Vicky within the family, the princess married the future Emperor of Germany, Prince Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia when she was 17. The couple had eight children. Victoria was much interested in health charities, active in support of the Red Cross, and she co-founded, with her husband, the Friedrichsheim hospital. She counted among her acquaintances Florence Nightingale and Robert Koch, who isolated the tuberculosis bacillus. She died in 1901

Alice Ward

Princess Alice Maud Mary was born in 1843, the third child and second daughter of her parents. At age 18 she married Prince Ludwig of Hesse (later Grand Duke Louis XIV). Their seven children included a daughter, Alix, who became the wife of Tsar Nicholas II. She had a lifelong interest in child welfare, and was the driving force behind the establishment of a national organization, the Alice-Frauenverein (‘Alice women's guild’) to train nurses, professional and auxiliary, for wartime and other emergencies. She nursed her brother, the Prince of Wales, through typhoid in 1871. Alice died of diphtheria in 1878 at the age of 35. Her sister, Princess Helena described her as ‘loving Daughter and Sister, the devoted Wife and Mother, and a perfect, true Woman’.

Helena Ward

Princess Helena Augusta Victoria was born in 1846.  In 1866 she married Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein, after which she was known as Princess Christian. It was a marriage that was to last over 50 years.  Helena was extremely active in charities, especially those with a medical emphasis, and was one of the founder members of the Red Cross, actively supported the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, and was a very influential president of the Royal British Nurses' Association. She died in 1923.

Louise Ward

Princess Louise Caroline Alberta was born in 1848. At the age of 23 she married John Campbell, Marquis of Lorne (later the Duke of Argyll). It was a troubled marriage, perhaps prolonged by long separations, and was childless. She was a gifted artist, she sculpted the seated marble statue of her mother that is in Kensington Gardens, and she also sculpted the South African colonial soldiers’ memorial in St Paul’s Cathedral. During the Great War, she served as a hands-on president of the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Family Association, the Ladies’ Work Society and the National Trust. She visited many hundreds of hospitals, canteens and servicemen’s associations, and served as president of twenty-five hospitals. The hospital most closely associated with her was the Princess Louise Hospital for Children, Kensington, founded in 1924. She was also active in housing charities in Kensington, dying in the royal borough in 1939.

Alexandra Ward

Named after Princess Alexandra of Denmark (1844–1925), queen of the United Kingdom  and consort of Edward VII. She was the eldest daughter of Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg and married the then Prince of Wales at Windsor in 1863. She performed the stone laying ceremony for the new hospital at Great Ormond Street in 1873, and was long associated with medical charities. Named in her honour, Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service was set up in 1902, and she presided over the first council meeting of the British Red Cross Society in 1905. Her support of the London Hospital caused her to refer to it as ‘my hospital’, and Alexandra Rose day in aid of hospitals was a major source of pride. During the First World War she concentrated on hospital visiting, although deaf and rapidly losing her sight by this time.

Dresden Ward

This ward has nothing to do with the German city, but was named after businessman Edmond Dresden of Curzon Street, Mayfair, who in 1904 left £25,000 to the hospital in his will. His bequest of pictures from his home to be hung in the wards was regretfully declined, but his executors were made life governors of the hospital.

Clarence Ward

Named after Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale (1864–1892). He was the eldest son of the Prince and Princess of Wales, the future Edward VII and Queen Alexandra. He was known as Eddy in the family, and served in both the Royal Navy and the Army. He died of Russian ‘flu on 14 January 1892.

Cohen and Rosebery Wards

These wards formed the Isolation Block (or North Block). Rosebery was named after Hannah de Rothschild (1851–1890), only child of Baron and Baroness Mayer de Rothschild, and wife of the statesman Lord Rosebery. The marriage was extremely happy, and provided a sure foundation for her husband’s political success. She died from typhoid fever in 1890 at the age of just thirty-nine. The ward was sponsored in her memory by her aunts, the Misses Cohen, of Park Lane, who also had a ward named after them.

Annie Zunz Ward

Wards named Annie Zunz can be found in several hospitals in London, but who was she? Annie Zunz was the Irish wife of a German iron merchant, Siegfried Rudolf Zunz, who had come to London from Frankfurt-am-Main in 1860 to make his fortune. The couple were married for 22 years, but were childless, and when Annie died in 1896 her husband was inconsolable. He died a broken man just three years after his wife.

Siegfried decided that after his death his fortune was to be used to perpetuate the memory of his beloved Annie. In his will he instructed his executors and trustees to give £25,000 (about £1.9 million today) to a London hospital to build and maintain forever a ward named “The Annie Zunz ward”, and that a life-sized photograph of Annie was to be hung in that ward. The surplus of his estate was to be given to other London hospitals to support Annie Zunz wards.

The lucky hospital to get the £25,000 was St. Mary’s Paddington, which was given the money to complete the Clarence Wing in Praed Street. Other London hospitals began to apply to the Zunz trustees for the rest of the estate, which was valued at £115,200 (£8.9 million at to-day’s prices).Great Ormond Street approached the trustees in 1910 for a donation, and received £3,000 (£210,000) to name the small isolation ward after Annie Zunz. Three years later the hospital asked the trustees if they would agree to increasing their donations if the hospital named one of the general wards “The Annie Zunz ward”. The trustees did not immediately agree, but, after Great Ormond Street had renamed the large Alice ward “Annie Zunz”, they did step up their payments.

Nine years later the Annie Zunz trustees asked the hospital to record their generosity by putting up a plaque in the ward, and suggested that the wording should be similar to that in the Annie Zunz ward at the Royal Free Hospital. Great Ormond Street contacted the Royal Free Hospital (which at that time was in Grays Inn Road) and the Middlesex Hospital, which also had a ward dedicated to Annie Zunz. The plaque at the Royal Free read:

“By the terms of the Will of Siegfried Rudolph Zunz Merchant of the City of London. His Trustees have made a grant of the sum of £10,000 to this Hospital in memory of Annie Zunz - The best of wives whose whole life was spent in helping and aiding others - 1901”

The Middlesex Hospital’s plaque was similarly worded, but Great Ormond Street decided that, as they had not received quite as much money as the other hospitals (and £1,000 less than the Evelina Children’s Hospital), the plaque here would be less fulsome in its praise of either Rudolf or his perfect wife. The GOS inscription simply stated:

“By the terms of the Will of Siegfried Rudolph Zunz - Merchant of the City of London - his Trustees made a grant of the sum of £3,000 in 1910 for the naming of this Ward and have since contributed towards its maintenance.”

The Royal Free, Bart’s, King’s College Hospital, the Bolingbroke and the Royal London all have Annie Zunz wards. Ironically, she has not been remembered by St. Mary’s, the biggest single beneficiary of her husband’s fortune. The £25,000 that had been given to the hospital to complete the Clarence Wing was not enough to ensure that the wards were opened. In 1909 some of the Annie Zunz wards were handed over to the Inoculation Department, and by the 1920s, the Annie Zunz wards became part of the maternity department.