A brief history of the Royal Hospital Beginning of the Royal Hospital in 1845 The beginning of the Royal Hospital starts appropriately enough, with an accident. Mr. George Briscoe, a local businessman, fell from the chair he was standing on to clean a painting. As he lay with a broken leg, he started to wonder […]
A brief history of the Royal Hospital
Beginning of the Royal Hospital in 1845
The beginning of the Royal Hospital starts appropriately enough, with an accident.
Mr. George Briscoe, a local businessman, fell from the chair he was standing on to clean a painting. As he lay with a broken leg, he started to wonder what others less fortunate than himself would do if they were in his situation but could not afford the medical treatment.
Together with Mr. Henry Rogers, a friend and business associate of Mr. Briscoe, they donated £1000 towards funding for a new hospital. Four years later on 1 January 1849, the South Staffordshire General Hospital and Dispensary, as the Royal was originally known opened it's doors. The hospital started with 80 beds and cost almost £19,000 to build.
Becoming the Royal
His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales visited the hospital and awarded it the Royal Charter of Incorporation. Five years later on 28 December 1928, His Majesty King George V decreed that Wolverhampton and Staffordshire General Hospital should be known as the Royal Hospital, Wolverhampton.
A year later the Hospital Board was granted permission for the hospital to have its own Coat of Arms.
The Royal Hospital grew to become a nationally recognised centre for excellence in many areas and played a vital part in not only Wolverhampton's history but in national history. The hospital also played an important role in both World Wars and in other times of need.
Change to the
With the growth of the National Health Service, the Government of the time passed an act that all voluntary and local authority hospitals like the Royal Hospital would now be run by the Ministry of Health.
Just a few months away from its 100th year of service to Wolverhampton, the Royal Hospitals Management Board presented the 99th and final voluntary hospital annual report.
A plaque was put up to honour all the voluntary work and contributions that had been given to the hospital since it began.
Transfer to New Cross begins – October 1991
Over the last decade New Cross Hospital had seen massive expansion and with plans being drawn up and millions of pounds being spent to develop the site further, the closure of the Royal seemed inevitable.
Despite protests and petitions the Health Authority said the town could not afford to keep investing money into the ageing Royal Hospital and that keeping things the way they were was not an option.
Closing the hospital down was never going to be simple and the transfer of the hospital equipment, patients and staff to New Cross cost around £13 million pounds.
The largest and most complicated move was that of Accident and Emergency on January 27th taking over 200 people around six hours to achieve.
Hospital doors close
Staff, past and present, friends and family of the Royal Hospital gathered at St. Peter's Church to celebrate 148 years of service that the Hospital and its staff had given to Wolverhampton. Finally on Tuesday 24 June 1997 the hospital closed its doors forever.
Leave your own memories
Everyone’s story about the Royal Hospital is important and there is a real need to identify, record and preserve stories, documents, photos and artifacts which are currently held by individuals and organisations.
ASAN will organise all these contributions into permanent displays in the Porters Lodge Café.
Memories of the Royal
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