The Wokingham Memorial Clinic
DescriptionA plaque can be found on the outside of the Red Cross centre situated at the bottom of Denmark Street on a building which started life as a Methodist chapel. In 1902, a small annexe was built to house a Sunday school which is now the only part of the original building left. However, eight years after the Sunday school had been built, the chapel was closed.
Late in 1920, the Wokingham Red Cross Committee discussed with the local community the idea of setting up a clinic in Wokingham to deal with ‘deformed’ children who were of school age. On 9th October 1920, an orthopaedic clinic was opened in two rooms inside Wokingham Town Hall. The rooms soon proved too small with little privacy for patients and no waiting area so in 1922 the Denmark Street chapel was bought by the town to be its memorial to all who had served in the war, starting a new life as a Health and Red Cross Centre.
The Red Cross had rent-free use of the building, in recognition of the service they had given during the war and were still giving. Orthopaedic work continued there until 1981 when it transferred to better equipped facilities at Wokingham Hospital.
During the war itself, volunteers for the Wokingham and District detachments of the Red Cross (VADs) provided all the nursing care in Church House (Easthampstead Road) which opened in January 1915 and served as a hospital, with 17 beds to care for the sick men from the New Army and the Berkshire Yeomanry. Today the Red Cross centre on Denmark St. is still used by volunteers to provide short-term loans of medical equipment, such as wheelchairs for people with a disability or illness.
“The Wokingham Memorial Clinic,” Wokingham's Virtual Museum, accessed December 12, 2019, https://wokingham-tc.gov.uk/museum/document/WTH0596.