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Royston Isolation Hospital

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Date: 1899-1935
History: Royston Isolation Hospital was opened in about 1906 in Garden Walk, Royston. It was run by the Royston, Ashwell and Melbourn Joint Hospital Board which consisted of representatives from Royston Urban District Council, Ashwell Rural District Council and Melbourn Rural District Council (Cambridgeshire). It offered 8 beds for patients in 1911, a number which had risen to 12 by 1922. The hospital closed prior to 1937.
  • Royston, Hertfordshire
Sources of authority: Poor Law Amendment Act 1868; Public Health Act 1875; Isolation Hospitals Act 1893; Public Health Act 1936
Functions, occupations and activities: Health and social care > Hospitals
Historical context: Many towns had some form of isolation hospital from the eighteenth century, usually in the form of a pest house, where verminous or infectious people were treated. It was not, however, until the late nineteenth century that the formal treatment of infectious diseases, such as scarlet fever, typhoid and smallpox, was considered. The Poor Law Amendment Act of 1868 dealt briefly with the subject, since most patients with infectious diseases found their way into the workhouse infirmaries because voluntary hospitals could and did refuse to admit them. In 1875 the Public Health Act enabled any local authority to provide hospital accommodation for the treatment of patients with infectious diseases paid for by the rates. It also allowed for two or more authorities to combine to maintain a hospital. In 1893 the first Act relating solely to isolation hospitals was enacted, stating that, on the application of twenty-five or more rate payers, the local authority was to provide an isolation hospital out of the rates, to be run by an Isolation Hospital Committee. Those suffering from TB found themselves in specially appointed sanatoriums and those suffering from VD in the workhouse infirmary. Isolation hospitals were also permitted to open schools or nursing to train nurses specifically in the treatment of infectious diseases. A further Act was enacted in 1901 reinforcing the powers of local authorities to purchase land compulsorily for use as an isolation hospital. In 1936 a further Public Health Act abolished all Isolation Hospital Committees and replaced them with Joint Hospital Boards. Medical advances meant that in the years after the Second World War the need to provide such hospitals became redundant, and many of them were closed in the first years of the National Health Service.
References: Hosprec database; Burdetts 1901-1911; Medical Directories 1922-1928
Name authority reference: GB/NNAF/C22547 (Former ISAAR ref: GB/NNAF/O91876 )
  Description Held by Reference Further information
1899-1935: records incl misc minute books and financial records
Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies
NRA 11973 Hertfordshire

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Related record creators
  Record creator Description of relationship Dates Category of relationship
Royston Isolation Hospital was managed by Royston, Ashwell and Melbourn Joint Hospital Board