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Montage of three nurses. All images © Wellcome Library, London. References: L0010490, L0018470, L0010789. Hospital Records Database
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Details: Saffron Walden General Hospital, Saffron Walden

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Go to:  Name  |  Administration  |  Status/Type  |  Other info  |  Records

Name

 

Present name

Saffron Walden General Hospital 

Address

London Road Saffron Walden CB11 3HY (Since 1867) 

Foundation Year

1866 

Closed

Yes 

Closure year

1988 

Administrative authorities

Regional Hospital Board (1948-74)

South East Metropolitan 

Hospital Management Committee (1948-74)

West Suffolk 

Regional Health Authority (1974-82)

South East Thames 

Regional Health Authority (1982- )

South East Thames 

District Health Authority (1974-82)

Essex Area 

District Health Authority (1982- )

West Essex () Essex and Herts () 

County (before 1974)

Essex 

County (1974-1996)

Essex 

County (after 1996)

Not applicable 

Status

Pre 1948

Voluntary

Post 1948

NHS

Type

Pre 1948

General

Post 1948

Acute

Other information

When local Quaker Wyatt George Gibson died in 1862 he left a sum of 5,000 for the purpose of building a hospital for the town of Saffron Walden. A meeting of the town's inhabitants appointed a committee to draw up a scheme for a hospital, and raise additional funds. A site near the Common was originally proposed, but Lord Braybrooke offered an alternative tract of land on London Road. Plans for the building were invited from several architects, which were submitted anonymously. The design chosen was by the London architect William Beck, whose works included an interesting housing development in Spicer Street, London, as well as The Vineyard in Saffron Walden. When tenders for construction were invited eight were submitted, and the contract was awarded to Messrs. Bell and Sons, of Cambridge and Saffron Walden. Bell were an inportant local building firm, responsible for many church restorations, including that of nearby Radwinter Church. After negotiation their original tender was reduced from 4,896 to 4,206. Building started in December 1864 and by September 1866 the Hospital was ready to receive patients. Sarah Ann Cogle was appointed as the Matron at a salary of 40 per annum. The total cost of building and equipping the Hospital is cited by C B Rowntree as 5,504 for construction, 600 for furnishings, and a further 100 for equipping the dispensary. This was raised by donations and public subscription. Ten people were elected to the first Management Committee including Lord Braybrooke as President, George Stokes, as Honorary Secretary, and George Stacey Gibson as elected Treasurer. The Medical Officers were the four Doctors practising in the town, Doctor Alfred James; Doctor Henry Stear; Doctor Francis Welsh and Doctor Edward Harley. The first patient admitted after the Hospital opened was William Haylock of Hempstead. A report in 1873 expressed concern about the low level of bed occupancy, and the rising costs, which had increased from 54 to 61 per patient per annum. A report from the following year notes that the existence of the hospital had helped check a serious ourbreak of fever. By admitting 13 patients from Littlebury free of charge the number of fatalities had been kept down to three. At first operations were carried out in the "Doctor's Room", next to the ground floor dispensary, and so in 1893 the Doctor's requested a new operating theatre. The alterations cost 151, but it was no longer necessary for patients to be "carried Upstarits by proters and Doctors". Other improvements included the purchase of a steriliser "not to cost more than 3" in 1894, and an "indoor ambulance" in 1899. Mrs Briscoe presented a horse-drawn ambulance to enable accident victims and seriously ill patients to be brought from the villages. Patients were admitted from as far away as Bartlow and Bishop's Stortford, and the Hospital was able to cover the upkeep of the horse by charging a fee for the use of the ambulance. in 1901 an X-ray "apparatus" was installed, at a cost of 50, and in 1904 the first House Committee was formed, to ensure cleanliness, completion of staff duties, and the regular saying of prayers. This committee was also responsible for enquiring who would pay the 1/6d weekly charge before a patient was allowed in. A hand-lift costing 215 was installed in 1909, which remained in service until it was replaced by an electric lift in 1963 at a cost of about 5,000. During World War One Twenty beds for the treatment of sick and wounded soldiers were placed at the disposal of the War Office, and although a local Red Cross Hospital was opened at Walden Place this number was increased to 30 in 1915. During the course of the war more than 750 military patients were treated at the hospital. Improvements continued after the War. An X-ray room, anaestetic room and new operating theatre were added in 1926. The nurses' house built in 1907 was extended in 1925. A sun balcony was added to the front of the Hospital, a boon to the patients, but disfiguring the fine gothic architecture of the building. In 1935 a new block was added to the west end, accommodating private patients and a children's ward. (The opening ceremony was performed by Gracie Fields). In that same year the Hospital admitted 570 patients, compared to the 284 addmitted in 1913. The Hospital Contributory scheme, which had ensured a steady income since its inauguration in 1929 ended with the establishment of the National Health Service in 1948. A Physiotherapy unit which had been set up in 1946 was supplemented by structural changes to accommodate an out patients department in 1954, and was soon dealing with thousands of patients each year. In more recent decades the services at the hospital were gradually eroded, some transferred to St James's Hospital in Radwinter Road, others transferred to larger hospitals. In 1988 the General Hospital closed, and was subsequently converted into the offices of Uttlesford District Council, 122 years after it first opened its doors.

Records can be found at:

notes

  Essex Record Office

Record type

Date range

Administrative

1926 - 1989

   Finance

1926 - 1949

   Admission & Discharge

1955 - 1967

   Ephemera

1966 - 1966

   Other

1976 - 1989

Finding aids

Finding aids

Brief Guide(BG)

Location of finding aids

At Repository(AR)

Details

Acc 10976

Notes

Some of the records listed under Saffron Walden Community Hospital may relate to this hospital: awaiting detailed listing

notes

  Saffron Walden Town Council

Record type

Date range

Administrative

1862 - 1948

   General

1862 - 1948

   Finance

1905 - 1948

   Nursing

1919 - 1946

   Admission & Discharge

1866 - 1949

Clinical & Patients

1905 - 1948

Finding aids

Finding aids

Brief Guide(BG)

Location of finding aids

At Repository(AR)

Details

Notes

Other Records Include: Entertainment committee 1922 - 1928; Annual Reports 1867 - 1948; Matrons Reports 1919 - 1946; Records of Operations 1905 - 1948

 
 
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