On the Feast of S. Michael and All Angels 1893, the window at the east end of the chapel was dedicated to the memory of Edward Thurston Holland. Constructed by Kempe of London, and costing £200, it was the gift of Mrs. Holland and represents S. Michael surrounded by eight angels. Herein probably lies the impetus for dedicating the chapel to S. Michael as this particular Saint was likely to have been especially dear to Mr. Holland and his wife. As long ago as 1884, the couple were actively involved in the formation of the S. Michael’s Club for Friendless Girls in South Wimbledon, and sadly it was whilst on his way to inspect the new premises that Mr. Holland met his untimely death.
The Ladies’ Association for the Care of Friendless Girls (LA) was founded in 1883 under the auspices of the Church of England, at the initiative of the women’s campaigner Ellice Hopkins. The LA’s formally declared object was ‘to prevent the degradation of women and children’, in other words to prevent girls and women from falling into prostitution because of their social, economic or family or other circumstances. The LA operated as a confederation of locally run Associations, which by 1885 numbered 106.
Edward Thurston Holland was born in 1836 and had been a Chancery Barrister by profession, but throughout his life this warm-hearted and sympathetic man had demonstrated wide compassion on behalf of his poorer brethren. The news of his sudden death caused consternation amongst the congregation at All Saints’ for he was well known to all of them, and to most a personal friend. Much of his work had centred on the establishment and promotion of the South Wimbledon Church Extension Fund under whose auspices the course had been set for the building of a new church to serve this rapidly expanding area. The congregation gathered in the school for his funeral in the autumn of 1884 would have prayed diligently that his work might continue.
He was also one of the founders of the Wimbledon Cottage Hospital, that had opened in 1870, and its first Honorary Secretary and Treasurer (Thurston Road is named after him).
By 1938 the Hospital had 74 beds – 18 for males, 26 for females and 18 for children, and 12 private rooms. At this time the cost of an in-patient per week was £3 11s 1d (£3.55), compared to £3 5s 7d (£3.20) in 1937. A new X-ray machine was installed and an appeal was launched to raise funds to modernise and extend the Massage and Electrical Treatment Departments. It was planned also to build a new female ward with 19 beds and to provide 10 more private patients rooms, as well as extending the Nurses’ Home to provide new accommodation for domestic staff.
During WW2 the Hospital became part of the Emergency Medical Scheme (EMS), with 30 extra casualty beds. By 1945 it had 93 beds, including the EMS beds (but these were reduced to 15, then 10, in 1946). The cost of an in-patient had risen to £9 1s 9d (£9.08) per week, which escalated to £12 15s 6d (£12.77) in 1947. In 1948 it joined the NHS, with 84 beds, as the Wimbledon Hospital, under the control of the South West Metropolitan Regional Health Board. It was decided to close the Hospital in October 1981 and its doors finally closed in 1983. Thereafter services moved to the Springfield Hospital.
Edward was married to Marianne Gaskell (1834 – 1920) in 1866. She was the eldest surviving daughter of Elizabeth Gaskell the English novelist, biographer, and short story writer.