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 4,000 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 Wellbeing Centre 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 access specialist nursing and medical care, benefit from treatments and therapies, meet with our social workers and take part in workshops and activities. In 2024, the Day Care Unit reopened as the St John’s Wellbeing Centre following a £3 million refurbishment project.


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 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 as well as end-of-life care.

The updated Inpatient Unit in 199.


We launched our Lymphoedema service in 2011, providing specialist treatment to people living with lymphoedema within Brent, Camden, Harrow, Hammersmith & Fulham, Kensington & Chelsea, and Westminster.

This care is provided free of charge and is provided within St John and St Elizabeth Hospital under the hospice and at Charing Cross Hospital.


Our Palliative Care Ambulance service launched in October 2012. The service, which was the first of its kind in London, enables us to safely transport our patients to and from our hospice as well as any of their external medical appointments.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, our wonderful ambulance team acted as our eyes and ears, serving as an early warning team for particularly vulnerable patients, as they continued to make house calls, dropping off shopping, prescriptions and lateral flow tests.

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. In 2024 the garden is being revamped to improve accessibility.


Our bereavement services, as they are known today, 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 a loss has been 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 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.

2024 and beyond

Today, we care for more than 4,000 patients with life-limiting illnesses and their families across North London each year.

At the beginning of 2024, our Day Care Unit reopened as the new St John’s Hospice Wellbeing Centre following a £3 million refurbishment project generously funded by our donor community. The new centre enables us to support even more patients and cater for a broader range of conditions.

Learn more about the new St John's Hospice Wellbeing Centre.

The main multi-functional area of the St John's Hospice Wellbeing Centre.Wellbeing Centre Manager, Julie, sits with a patient in the new Wellbeing Centre they are chatting and smiling.
Click to return to the top of the page