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October 2012: Good Works in Clewer

Interior of St Andrew's Hospital, Clewer

This month’s highlight shows the interior of the chapel at one of Berkshire’s lost buildings.

St Andrew’s Convalescent Hospital was built in Clewer between 1865 and 1866. It was one of a number of structures connected to the convent Community of St John Baptist.  It stood between the west side of Hatch Lane and the south side of the Dedworth Road.

The convent had been established by Thomas Thellusson Carter, rector of Clewer.  St Andrew's Hospital became one of a number of its good works. As well as a House of Mercy for fallen women, there were also orphanages, schools and missions as well as convalescent homes.  All of these were pitched at helping those too poor to help themselves.

With the development of workhouses into the local hospitals which formed a mainstay of the NHS, the need for institutions like St Andrew’s gradually diminished. The Hospital itself was closed in 1939 and demolished around 1950.

The Community continued its work in Clewer until the Sisters moved to Oxfordshire in 2000. Its archive is also at the BRO.


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12 response(s) so far…

Jane Angell
Posted on the : 9 Oct 2012

I believe my relations may have been residents of the House of Mercy. their name was Udell. I am looking at 1870 onwards.

Posted on the : 8 Jun 2014

It was actually on the south side of Dedworth Road and west side of Hatch Lane.

Posted on the : 11 Jun 2014

Thank you John you're quite right - have amended

Martin Cook
Posted on the : 8 Apr 2015

My 2nd great grand Aunt, Rhoda Elizabeth Wrenn was a Sister of Mercy and a patient at St. Andrew's Convalescent Hospital, Clewer in the 1891 Census.

Beth Hancock
Posted on the : 16 Apr 2017

on the 1901census our relative Priscilla Brightwell is shown to be living at the Sisters of Mercy Hospital at Clewer. Are there any admittance and discharge and reason for being there records available to the public ? Please

Posted on the : 18 Apr 2017

Hello Beth Hancock We hold the records of the Community of St John the Baptist (ref. D/EX1675) who established the House of Mercy in Clewer in 1852. It was set up to rescue 'fallen women' and the records include admission records covering 1849 to 1955. One specifically covers 1907 to 1916 (ref. D/EX1675/2/10/5). You can find out more on these records from our online catalogue, but this comment box won't allow web links. Please go to our home page, then click on 'Search the catalogue' and enter the references supplied above. You can also look at what else is in the collection - but only in terms of the catalogue information. We do not have images of the records online. If you would like to look at the records yourself you can organise a visit. Please see our Using Us pages for details on how to visit. If you are unable to visit, we can carry out research for you for a fee. Again our Using Us pages provide details of our charges. If you intend to book to visit or to ask us to do research for you, please use the online Contact Us form to the left of the web page. We can then correspond more privately with you. Hope this helps. Regards, BRO.

Posted on the : 26 Aug 2017

Hello. I've been looking at the census for 1881 for the House of Mercy. Some of the residents are described as 'Magdalen' - presumably the so called fallen women, but there is another group who are described as 'Penitents'. Any idea what the distinction was?

Posted on the : 30 Aug 2017

Hello Ann Women who had fallen into drunkenness and prostitution were taken in at the House of Mercy, Clewer run by the Community of St John Baptist. They followed a regime involving training in domestic work, which would give them the skills to find work. They also received religious instruction intended to encourage them to repent their past lives. These women were called Penitents. A small minority of Penitents who wished to make a permanent commitment to become part of the Community, could be accepted as Magdalens, the name recalling that of St Mary Magdalen. Hope this explains the difference on the names in the census for you. If you have not already seen it, our newsletter (the Berkshire Echo) from January 2017 is all about the Community and the recently catalogued collection. Follow the links on the left hand side of the webpage under The Berkshire Echo and click on 2017, then January (number 78). Regards, BRO.

Joan Letsos
Posted on the : 4 Jul 2018

My ancestor Elizabeth Bulpitt passed away in 1868 in Clewer Green. Is it possible to check the records to see if did pass away in that hospital. Thanks

Joan Letsos
Posted on the : 4 Jul 2018

It is possible that my ancestor 3x great grandmother was a patient in this hospital and wonder if you have any records of this. Also I would like to find out where she might be buried. Her death certificate says she died on February 18, 1868 in Clewer Green, Clewer at the age of 79.

Posted on the : 6 Jul 2018

Hello Joan Letsos We have received your emails as well as your comments and are dealing with your queries via email. Kind regards, BRO.

Selina j nisbett
Posted on the : 27 Aug 2018

I have a photo on my dining room wall of the first young ladies to be admitted at Clewer. From that eventually grew the school which i attended in broadstairs Kent, hence having the photo on my wall. It is very precious to me. We had such happy times!


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