Richmond Park has been the scene of many military-related developments over the years, not least during the First World War. This antique postcard from the Hearsum Collection shows one such instance, the military hospital built for South African troops, located between Conduit Wood and Bishop’s Pond.
The hospital was opened on 16 June 1916 by Princess Christian (that is Helena, third daughter of Queen Victoria) on a 12-acre site. To provide access a new park gate was opened at the end of Cambrian Road. The hospital initially had 300 beds but this was later increased to over 600. Following the end of the war the hospital closed in 1921 and was demolished in 1925.