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Bishop's Stortford and District Hospital

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Alternative name(s):
  • Bishop's Stortford Hospital (Later known as)
  • Bishop's Stortford Cottage Hospital (Formerly known as)
  • Bishop's Stortford General Hospital (Formerly known as)
Date: 1893-1948
History: Through the efforts of a local landowner, Mr Bartle Frere, and following his death in 1893 his son and daughter to provide a hospital for Bishop's Stortford and the surrounding area, Bishop's Stortford Cottage Hospital was erected on Rye Street and opened on 26 January 1895. The hospital consisted of a two storey building, with a ward of four beds on each floor, an isolation ward with one bed, a small operating room, and living quarters for the matron and nurses. On 27 November 1897, a meeting was held which decided to change the name of the hospital from Bishop's Stortford Cottage Hospital to Bishop's Stortford Hospital, as it was felt that the latter would be more prestigious. In 1898 a new general ward was added to the ground floor and some more rooms on the first. In 1902 the staff increased from one matron and a probationer to a matron, a staff nurse, a nurse and one probationer. In 1912 a new wing was built bringing the total accommodation up to twelve beds and one cot. In 1920 the hospital was given X-ray equipment. The children's ward was built in 1925, and in 1927 the grounds were extended and the men's ward enlarged. In 1932 new buildings were erected offering accommodation for 61 patients. A contributory scheme by patients to the hospital was established in 1927. On 15 May 1929, the new nurses home opened and in 1936 the hospital became an official school of nursing.

On 5 July 1948 control of the hospital passed to the Minister of Health. It was administered by the Hertford Group No. 1 Hospital Management Committee and the North East Metroplitan Regional Hospital Board from 1948 to 1974. In 1949 it held 67 beds for patients, a total which it still had in 1972. From 1974 it came under the North East Thames Regional Health Authority. It was successively part of Harlow District Health Authority (1974-1982) and East Hertfordfordshire DHA (1982-1985). It was closed and offered for auction in 1983.
Places:
  • Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire
Functions, occupations and activities: Health and social care > Hospitals
Historical context: The first voluntary hospitals came into being in England to provide care for the poor after the Reformation, taking over the role previously performed by the monastic orders. Voluntary hospitals were privately endowed, often by a local landowner, but subsequently maintained by subscriptions and donations. Anyone was open to subscribe, and then became known as a governor or subscriber which entitled them to certain privileges. A Board of Management was appointed from the governors to administer the daily running of the hospital, usually with the help of a House Committee and a Finance Committee. Many local organizations adopted the hospitals and held fetes, garden parties and other fund raising events to raise money for the maintenance of the hospital and especially for the purchase of equipment. Many of the hospitals had contributory schemes which entitled a member of the scheme to medical treatment. The voluntary hospitals, unlike the large sprawling workhouse infirmaries, were usually small, containing as few as six or seven beds in some cases, and served the "deserving" poor of the immediate area. Voluntary hospitals would not generally admit the destitute or "undeserving" poor. In the early days of the voluntary hospitals the medical staff were usually unpaid, but it was considered to be prestigious to be appointed to the medical staff, who often maintained themselves by private practice. The nursing staff were on the whole either "Nightingale" nurses or had been trained at other nursing establishments. Voluntary hospitals could chose which patients to admit (then referring all other cases to the workhouse), and if their beds were full they could refuse to admit patients altogether. They did not take the chronic infirm, infectious cases or long term sick patients. Most of the voluntary hositals started life in cottages or other buildings, which were either bought by the governors or left by the benefactor. As the hospitals became more financially stable and more prestigious they were able to finance larger, purpose built buildings, often in the pavilion style with high ceilings and lofty corridors. On July 5th 1948 control of the voluntary hospitals passed from the Board of Management and therefore the local community to the Minister of Health.
References: Hosprec database; A2A catalogue; Burdetts and Hospital Yearbooks 1901-1984
Name authority reference: GB/NNAF/C26629 (Former ISAAR ref: GB/NNAF/O91885 )
Collections
  Description Held by Reference Further information
1
1893-1948: records incl various committee minute books
Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies
NRA 11973 Hertfordshire

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Related record creators
  Record creator Description of relationship Dates Category of relationship
1
Bishop's Stortford and District Hospital was part of North East Metropolitan Regional Hospital Board
1948-1974
Hierarchical