London’s Screen Archives enables Londoners see their past come alive on film. Managed by Film London, we are a unique network of historic film collections that cares for, collects and screens heritage film across the city. Together we preserve London’s rich film heritage from feature films to home movies, public information films, newsreels, and records of the capital’s many different industries.
This film is part of Free
Royal Masonic Hospital, Ravenscourt Park
Fundraising film showing the inner workings of the Royal Masonic Hospital, from the gardeners to the consultants.
From the collection of:
This film celebrates the Royal Masonic Hospital in West London, which was founded in 1911 in Chelsea and moved to Ravenscourt Park in 1933. It thoroughly explores every aspect of the hospital from the gardeners growing 30,000 plants a year, the chefs filling vol-au-vent cases with prawn sauce, the student nurses (“usually daughters of Freemasons”) and the doctors and consultants. Ends with a plea for funds from patients: “It’s a lot of money, but it is up to us to find it.”
Made to raise funds for the Royal Masonic Hospital, this film consistently looks for support from the brotherhood. “The craft is proud of it,” the narrator insists, while a patient claims, “The fact we are all Masons makes a big difference to your spirits. It gives you a feeling of belonging, not like a lost soul in a hospital.” Towards the end, when the request for donations is made, a patient says they have been “looked after, just as a brother should be.” After protracted financial problems, the Masons sold the hospital in the 1990s.