The entrance way to the hospice on Grove End Road, St John's Wood. The exposed brick wall on the left features the Giving Tree.

Our history

Our hospice first opened its doors in 1984 with 10 inpatient beds in St John’s Wood. In the almost 40 years that have followed our community and services have grown, enabling us to support more than 4,500 people each year.

The Queen Mother visiting the hospice in 1984.


In May 1984, St John’s officially opened its doors. At that time, our hospice had 10 inpatient beds and was situated where our Day Care Unit now stands. A month after we had officially opened, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother was invited for a tour of the new hospice.


Our Day Care Unit was opened in 1987, enabling us to provide care for more patients and to enhance our services. At our Day Care Unit in St John’s Wood, patients can now access specialist nursing and medical care, benefit from treatments and therapies, meet with our social workers and take part in workshops and activities. In 2022 we announced exciting plans to transform the unit into the first of our community hubs.


We launched our community specialist palliative care services in 1987. Our Community Specialist Palliative Care team work alongside our social workers, occupational therapists and physiotherapists to provide our quality, holistic care to patients at home. This includes providing pain and symptom management as well as practical and emotional support.


Our Hospice@Home services were launched in 1994, enabling patients to receive end-of-life care, on their terms, in their own homes. Today, we remain one of only two hospices in the country to provide one-to-one 24 hour care in the home through our team of specialist and dedicated professionals.

The charity shop on St John's Wood High Street in 1998.


Our flagship charity shop on St John’s Wood High Street first opened its doors in 1998, selling pre-loved and unwanted items to the local community. Our shop’s fascia may have changed many times over the years but we’re still situated in the same spot, do pop by to say hello!


In 1999 our refurbished Inpatient Unit was opened. The new unit increased capacity from 10 to 19 beds, enabling us to support more patients and provide more services including; carer respite, pain and symptom control management, rehabilitation and end of life care.

The updated Inpatient Unit in 199.


Our Palliative Care Ambulance service launched in October 2012. The service, which was first of its kind in London, enables us to safely transport our patients to and from the Inpatient Unit and day services, as well as any external medical appointments. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic our wonderful ambulance team acted as our eyes and ears, serving as an early warning team, as they continued to see our patients in person when dropping off shopping and prescriptions.

St John's Hospice ambulance drivers, Hossien, Kevin, Richard and Ewa stand in front of the ambulance.
The hospice garden as it was at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2016.


In 2016, award-winning horticulturalist Jekka McVicar transformed our hospice garden into an urban apothecary for the 2016 RHS Chelsea Flower Show. The garden received a Silver-Gilt award from the RHS judges and thanks to the generosity of our supporters it was meticulously re-planted on-site at our hospice. The garden, located just outside of our Inpatient Unit, has provided a tranquil space for our staff, patients and their families ever since.


Our bereavement services were launched in 2018, to support the loved ones of our patients throughout their journey. We continue to be the only hospice in many of our boroughs that offers bereavement support for the whole family. Our support begins from a patient’s initial referral and continues throughout their care – not only once loss has experienced.

A hospice bereavement specialist reads a book to a child which talks about some of the emotions they might be feeling. Each emotion such as 'disbelief', 'sad', 'angry' and 'confused' is written on the leg of a friendly looking octopus.
The modernised Inpatient unit which was refurbished in 2020.The brand new and modern Children's Room which is attached to the Inpatient Unit.


In October 2020, our new state of the art Inpatient Unit was opened. The new space reflects the high levels of care we provide at St John’s and puts the needs of both our patients and staff first, with refurbished patient wards and private rooms, and the addition of a brand-new staff hub and Children’s Room.

2022 and beyond

Today, St John’s provides care to more than 4,500 patients with life-limiting illnesses and their families across North London each year. At the beginning of 2022 we announced our exciting plans to transform our Day Care Unit into the first of our one-of-a-kind community hubs. This transformative project which will take place in 2023 will enable us to reach more people and provide levels of care that will be unique within the hospice sector.

Day Care Unit Manager, Julie, sits with a patient in the hospice garden, they are chatting and smiling.
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