Lytham St.Annes Coat of Arms
Lytham St.Annes, Lancashire, England


Bannister House Hospital, Lytham


Bannister House Hospital (a.k.a. Bannister House Military Hospital) was set up in the first few months of the War. This was Lytham's response to the Belgian refugee crisis in the winter of 1914-15 which, in Blackpool alone, saw an influx of 2,000 destitute Belgians.

Little is known about Bannister House Hospital or who was treated there and it may only have existed for six to nine months. It appears to have been organised by Rev. John Dean O'Reilly of St Peter's R.C. Church, working in conjunction with the Manchester Refugees' Committee, and a Mr. & Mrs. Price of Mythop Road. A hospital committee was elected and it was funded by public subscription.

Two separate properties, nos. 13 & 15 East Beach, Lytham, were converted into a hospital which was operational by October 1914. The buildings housed Belgian wounded soldiers and probably civilian refugees. It isn't known whether this hospital treated British wounded soldiers but some were sent to Lytham Cottage Hospital. Miss Mary Barwick, who had been Matron at Lytham Cottage Hospital for about a decade, became Matron at Bannister House Hospital. 

"Welkom naar Lytham"

L'indépendance belge 12 fevrier 1915

List of Belgian servicemen sent by "The Wounded Allies Relief Committee," currently in the care of Bannister House, East Beach, Lytham.

Jean-Baptiste Belsack, Torley Huyssghen, 19 Artillerie.
Belsack De Vleesehouver, Malines, 2 Carabiniers.
Sebastien Deblunder, Alsemburg, 2 Batt. Génie.
Jean-Baptiste Eggerix, Chausée-Notre-Dame, 10 Ligne.
Félix Frenau, , Limbourg, 14 Ligne.
François Maes, Volon., Gand, 14 Ligne.
Petrus Rottier, Ivruibeke, 26 Ligne.
Gustave Vanrysselberjhe, Laerne, 14 Ligne.
C. Arthur Vermeulen, Anvers, 27 Ligne.

Bannister House probably closed about July 1915.  By this time work was well advanced for the conversion of the Clifton Park Racecourse at Squires Gate (now Blackpool Airport) into the 2,000-bed King's Lancashire Military Convalescent Hospital. Other hospitals were Chaseside, St Annes, Pembroke House, Ansdell and Starr Hills, Ansdell.

The buildings used for the Bannister House Hospital may have been owned by the Clifton Estate because in August 1915 the Estate Office advertised Bannister House for rent.

Mary Barwick was appointed matron at Whitworth Military Hospital, Mount Pleasant, Studd Brow, Facit, near Rochdale in December 1916.