In 1873 Miss Sparrow established a convalescent home for woman and children. Initially only children from the Wolverhampton and Staffordshire General Hospital were admitted. In 1885 Miss Sparrow presented the home to the hospital “on condition that it be used as a convalescent home for women and children”. The home was called St. Catherine’s Convalescent Home and a ladies committee were appointed to supervise it. Additional land was purchased from Miss Sparrow and extra buildings erected.

St. Catherine’s Convalescent Home.

In the course of time larger premises were required and the Board of the new Royal Hospital purchased a larger house with adjoining land called The Beeches.

After making the necessary alterations and adaptations it was opened in 1935. Thus making it an ideal home for women and children to convalesce in.

The location of St. Catherine's, and The Beeches.

The Second World War brought many changes and the necessity for the Royal Hospital to provide extra beds on Government orders for wounded soldiers. This resulted in The Beeches being converted to a children’s hospital of 30 beds.

Various alterations and modifications took place to improve facilities including a children’s bathroom and the provision of a ground floor sluice.

Another view of St. Catherine’s Convalescent Home.

The Beeches.

The attic rooms provided staff accommodation. A classroom and two school teachers ensured that the educational needs of the children were provided. The mid 50s saw the return of children to the Royal with the full provision of two children’s wards.

The Beeches was closed for many years but is now in renaissance and being converted into a training centre for psychiatric staff. The early well which provided water for the unit was recently uncovered.

In 1908 the rotating shelter shown in the photograph on the right, was installed at St. Catherine's Convalescent Home. It was described as follows:

"The most recent innovation at Penn Home is a rotating shelter, which allows patients in many needful cases to remain the greater part of the day in the open air, protected from wind and rain, and secures them much more speedy progress towards recovery than could otherwise be attained." 


The Sparrow family has a long history of residency and business association with Wolverhampton, and as such had a major contributory effect to the charity and running of the Victorian Hospitals in the City.

Roy Stallard. TD.

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