North of England Children's Sanatorium, Hawkshead Street, Southport, 1867 -1960
Immediate source of acquisition:
These records (with the exception of some of the papers of Miss Blumberg) are of the pre National Health institution. They were deposited on 7 February 1977, on permanent loan, by A W Cunliffe, District Administrator, District HQ, Sunnyside Hospital, Knowsley Road, Southport (as HRSH/1977 .84).
Administrative / biographical background:
The foundation of the Sanatorium is not altogether clear as no records now exist (or were never kept) of its inception; this uncertainty is reflected in the slightly differing accounts given in reports, newspaper cuttings and so on; there are in any case no surviving records before 1867.
The need for a Sanatorium was perceived in the 1850s and Miss Mary Smith rented a house in School Street, Southport for the purpose. This venture lapsed around 1858, but as the need remained, Miss Smith rented a further house in Hawkshead Street, and requested Dr John D'Arnin Blumberg, a Hungarian homeopathic doctor, to become its medical officer. He accepted, but remained there only until 1862 and the work of the Sanatorium was again in jeopardy until the management was undertaken by the Misses Marriots. They in turn handed it over to Board of Management in 1868. (Dr Blumberg eventually returned to the Sanatorium and Southport, dying in 1894.)
As this time the Sanatorium was still in the rented house in Hawkshead Street with accommodation for just 30 children, but much larger purpose-build accommodation was opened in 1878 - (?partly) funded by the Cotton Districts Convalescent Fund - and further extensions in 1938 allowed for the treatment of about 150 children at the same time. Although the intake was mainly from the North of England, patients from all over the country were admitted.
The hospital was funded by subscription and donation until its assimilation into the National Health Service in 1948. After this date it underwent many changes which were especially criticised by Miss Rosa D'A Blumberg (daughter of Dr Blumberg) (see her correspondence at 5/.) (There had been earlier pre-War controversy concerning the extent to which the hospital should be run on homeopathic lines, and whether there was any constraint on the Board to run it in this way.) By the time the sanatorium closed in 1971 it had radically changed its function, and was acting as a geriatric hospital.