The hospital was located on Tonbridge Road, around 0.5 kilometres (0.31 mi) to the north-west of Pembury, close to the A21 trunk road. It is surrounded by woodland on three sides.
The site was first developed in 1836 by the Tonbridge Poor Law Union as a workhouse (a place where those unable to support themselves were offered accommodation and employment). The building was designed by John Whichcord to accommodate 400 inmates. The two-acre site at Sandhill, Newbars Wood was chosen after the preferred site at Bo-Peep, Pembury was considered too expensive.
Further buildings and extensions followed, including:
- an isolation block added in an unknown location in 1838, following a smallpox epidemic;
- a hospital block added in 1856 to the north of the workhouse (later used as a nurses' home);
- a chapel added in 1870 to the north-east of the site;
- a school block added the same year to the east;
- an entrance block added in 1872 to the south;
- an extended infirmary added to the east of the hospital block in 1890;
- an entrance lodge added to the south.
The workhouse became Pembury County Hospital in 1938.
All of the existing hospital buildings have been demolished as part of the development of the new hospital, except for the Grade II listed chapel.
- Higginbotham, Peter: Tonbridge Workhouse, www.workhouses.org.uk
- Holmes, Kelly (2011). Kelly Holmes (Kindle Edition). Virgin Digital. p. 338. ISBN 075351317X.