Beckett Hospital, Church Lane, Barnsley: opened 1865, closed 1977
Previous names: Beckett Dispensary, 1862-1869; Beckett Dispensary and Hospital, 1869-1872; Beckett Hospital and Dispensary, 1872-1948
The charitable institution originally known as the Beckett Dispensary was founded by trust deed dated 28 August 1862 by John Staniforth Beckett, whose endowment of £5,000 was to provide free medical and surgical assistance to Barnsley inhabitants too poor to afford it. No-one was eligible whose family earned over 18s. a week, unless the family numbered more than six; nor was any servant, apprentice or person in receipt of parish relief eligible.
Plans to build were submitted in November 1863 and the Beckett Dispensary was formally opened on 14 March 1865. It was managed by a committee of twelve governors who were elected annually, and who met monthly. Initially the Dispensary provided drugs, medicines and medical advice as it was not equipped for the admission of patients. There were, however, an honorary consulting physician, three honorary surgeons, one honorary surgeon-dentist and one house surgeon apothecary, who were all elected in February 1865. One in-patient was allowed accommodation in December 1865, 'but the permission must not be taken as a precedent'. In-patients were, however, soon regularly admitted and in 1870 the rule limiting admission to males was relaxed when four female patients were admitted, after several serious accidents.
Beckett died in 1868 leaving, in his will proved in January 1869, an additional £5,000 for the building and endowment of hospital premises adjacent to the Dispensary, with the desire that the institution should henceforth be named the 'Beckett Dispensary and Hospital'. Plans were drawn up by architect George Woodhouse of Bolton le Moor, and the first alterations and additions were completed in 1872, the additional funds necessary to complete the works having been raised by public subscription. Amended rules, approved by the governors in April 1872, designated the institution the 'Beckett Hospital and Dispensary'. In the year June 1872 to June 1873, 1,108 out-patients were treated, as were 73 in-patients, for whom there were 20 beds available, that number having risen from 14 in 1869.
In 1876 Mrs Lambert of London offered £2,000 towards a new wing for the hospital for the treatment of medical cases. Other donations followed, and the new Kendray Wing was opened in 1883, adding 36 beds.
Saturday and Sunday Fund Committees were established in 1881 and their continued efforts brought in more funding to add to the regular subscriptions. In 1902 a childrens' ward, containing 16 beds, was built on the strength of funds raised. More extensions followed, including the Moore Convalescent Wing, the Marshall Wing, that was formally opened in 1913 and cost £4,000, and the Cooper Nurses Home, named after trustee and benefactor Samuel Joshua Cooper.
In 1913, 4,876 out-patients and 1,043 in-patients were treated: 110 in-patient beds were by then available. During the First World War the hospital was placed at the service of the wounded and 1,115 soldiers and sailors were treated there, in addition to the many pensioners and demobbed men who received treatment from the Massage and X-ray Department.
By c.1940 the hospital (known locally as 'the miners' hospital') dealt principally with surgical emergencies and provided 154 beds. Surgeons from Sheffield visited weekly. The wards were all old in type and structure and many were overcrowded: so much so that the Cooper Art Gallery acted as an annexe to the hospital during World War II. The Beckett Hospital and Dispensary Act, 1944, provided for the removal of restrictions on St Mary's Church graveyard and for the sale of the ground for an extension to the hospital.
At the formation of the National Health Service (NHS) in 1948, the hospital's management was brought under the newly created Barnsley Hospital Management Committee of the Sheffield Regional Hospital Board. Its name was shortened at this time from the 'Beckett Hospital and Dispensary', the name in use since 1872. This administration continued until restructuring of the NHS in 1974 abolished the Hospital Management Committees and Regional Hospital Boards; the hospital's management thereafter devolved to the new Barnsley Area Health Authority of Trent Regional Health Authority.
Recommendations in the mid 1950s had urged that a new hospital (later known as Barnsley District General Hospital), to be developed on the St Helen Hospital site, should provide orthopaedic, out-patient and casualty departments, and that the Beckett Hospital should be used mainly for the chronic sick, possibly with psychiatric treatment units. When eventually completed, the new hospital was effectively a merger between the facilities formerly provided by the Beckett Hospital and the St Helen Hospital. Services in the original Beckett Hospital buildings were scaled down further and the hospital closed on 13 August 1977; the buildings were demolished two years later.
Records of the Beckett Hospital including:
Administration 1864 - 1975
NHS1/1/1/1 Governors' minutes, 1864 - 1948
NHS1/1/1/2 General committee minutes, 1864 - 1948
NHS1/1/1/3 House committee minutes, 1915 - 1948
NHS1/1/1/4 Finance committee minutes, 1920 - 1948
NHS1/1/1/5 Medical committee minutes, 1919 - 1948
NHS1/1/2 Committee papers 1919 - 1964
NHS1/1/3 Annual reports, 1869 - 1948
NHS1/1/4 Rules, 1865 - 1943
NHS1/1/5 Circulars and papers, 1929 - 1953
NHS1/1/6 Photographs, 1887 - 1969
NHS1/1/7 Brochures, historical notes and cuttings, 1910 - 1975
Land and Buildings 1864 - 1969
NHS1/2/1 Foundation and site, 1864 - 1969
NHS1/2/2 Architect's papers, 1931 - 1945
NHS1/2/3 Architectural drawings and plans, 20th century
Finance 1865 - 1959
NHS1/3/1 Land and buildings fund, 1865 - 1890
NHS1/3/2 Ledgers, 1930 - 1948
NHS1/3/3 Cash books, 1941 - 1948
NHS1/3/4 Balance sheets and statements, 1946 - 1948
NHS1/3/5 Endowments, 1919 - 1948
NHS1/3/6 Grants, 1938 - 1939
NHS1/3/7 Salaries and wages, 1958 - 1959
NHS1/3/8 Sheffield Hospitals Council 'Penny in the Pound' scheme, 1943 - 1947
NHS1/3/9 Correspondence and papers, 1926 - 1948
Stores and Equipment 1933 - 1949
NHS1/4/1 Inventory, 1949
NHS1/4/2 Medical equipment, 1933
Establishment 1919 - 1947
NHS1/5/1 Appointment and employment, 1944 - 1946
NHS1/5/2 Duties and bye-laws, 1919 - 1937
NHS1/5/3 British Hospitals Association: superannuation and other papers, 1940 - 1947
Patients 1936 - 1937
NHS1/6/1 Results of examination of specimens, 1936 - 1937