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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: Blair Hospital, Bolton

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

Name

 

Present name

Blair Hospital 

Previous name(s)

Blair Convalescent Home
Blair Convalescent Hospital (by 1929 - 1948 at the latest)  

Address

Hospital Road Bolton BL7 9PY 

Foundation Year

1887 

Closed

Yes 

Closure year

c1991 

Administrative authorities

Regional Hospital Board (1948-74)

Manchester 

Hospital Management Committee (1948-74)

Bolton and District 

Regional Health Authority (1974-82)

North Western 

Regional Health Authority (1982- )

North Western 

District Health Authority (1974-82)

Bolton 

District Health Authority (1982- )

Bolton 

County (before 1974)

Lancashire 

County (1974-1996)

Greater Manchester 

County (after 1996)

Not applicable 

Status

Pre 1948

Voluntary

Post 1948

NHS

Type

Pre 1948

Post 1948

OTHER: Pre-convalescent.

Other information

Bolton Royal Infirmary was the parent of this hospital. Patients admission and discharge registers 1. May 1889 - May 1903 2 May 1903 - Nov 1914 3 4 Nov 1919 - Dec 1923 5. Jan 1924 - Dec 1933 6. Jan 1934 - Dec 1942 7. Jan 1943 - April 1952 8. April 1952 - Jan 1960 9. Jan 1960 - Jan 1970 10 Dec 1969 - Dec 1974 11 Dec 1974 - Apr 1990 No Public Access to Items 4 to 11 inclusive Blair Hospital is accepted into the life of Bolton and district, but only to those who have benefited by receiving treatment and renewed health there has it become intimate. Somehow this hospital, almost of the northern moorlands themselves, has succeeded in keeping part of its individuality even in these days of state controlled hospitals. Blair hospital was a gift to the sick people of Bolton from Stephen Blair, built expressly for that purpose, and was never, as is the popular belief, the former home of the Blair family. A painting in oils of Stephen Blair looks down from the dining room wall on the convalescents. His childhood cot, too, was preserved in Blair, but when the trustees handed over the hospital to the State two years ago, that cot, along with other relics, was removed to Turton Tower for eventual inclusion in the museum Turton Council may some day establish there. Stephen Blair, who died in 1870 aged 67, left 20,000 for the erection and furnishing of a "free hospital for sick persons without restrictions to sect" and another 10,000 for investments to form an endowment. It was not until some years after his death that Mr James Knowles presented the site on the hills above Toppings Road, Bromley Cross, and the building was not completed until 1887, James Knowles's contribution is commemorated in the naming of one of the biggest wards. One can visualize the army of workmen needed in those days to pick, shovel and wheelbarrow away the hillside before the work of erection could be started. The hospital comprises three blocks, east and west wings with a centre block which houses the administrative offices, matron's apartments, staff bedrooms and dining rooms. The two wings were thus effectively separated to conform with conventions of the period, for women patients occupied one wing, men the other. Even when convalescent, in those days the sexes were not allowed to intermingle, and when patients sunned themselves in the spacious gardens a member of the staff zealously guarded the moral niceties of the times. Early in the first world war the governing body of trustees placed the hospital's facilities at the disposal of the British Red Cross Society, and soon even the long corridors of the centre portion held wounded soldiers. After the war Blair Hospial reverted to its normal conditions but accepted only male patients. A billiards and recreation room and, for summer, a bowling green were provided for those able enough to while away their convalescent hours. Religious facilities were met by the provision of a hospital chapel, whose alter must have an interesting history of its own, for it was used in the past aboard several ships. The Vicar of Walmsley, the Rev H Nightingale, as chaplain of Blair, ususally conducts a weekly service and makes a round of the wards. Before the days of State control a specified number of beds were allocated to nearby hospitals, the Bolton Royal Infirmary among them, whilst some beds were retained for paying patients. One ward, for instance, was almost entirely devoted to the recuperation of sick employees from a large motor engineering works near Southport. At the inception of the present Health Service the trustees of Blair Hospital handed over investments totalling 40,000, and the direction passed to the Bolton Hospital Management Committee, through whom the Royal Infirmary virtually has taken over control of all the beds, numbering around 40. The Management Committee is mindful of several improvement schemes suggested by the present matron, Miss Farquharson. One is been carried out now - an extension of the central heating installation to the west wing. For the future, Matron Farquharson, who has already had a physio therapy room set up, envisages the whole of the west wing block, as well as the east, as wards. Her plans would reduce the present too-capacity dining room in order to house the recreation room and would provide small tables for the "up-patients" meals. A whole article could be devoted to Stephen Blair. He was head of the bleaching firm of Blair and Sumner, one-time councillor, mayor and MP for the borough of Bolton, and well known as a generous benefactor to all deserving causes. A descendant of his is Ald T Glaister, JP, deputy mayor, who was one of the last trustees of the hospital. Suffice it to say that of all Stephen Blair's charities the greatest and most lasting memorial is the hospital that bears his name.

Records can be found at:

Blair Hospital

Record type

Date range

Clinical & Patients

1889 - 1914

Finding aids

Finding aids

Brief Guide(BG)

Location of finding aids

Details

WIHM: BG: 1981 UMIST survey of the North West.

Notes

Hospital closed: records possibly now at Bolton Archives and Local Studies

notes

  Bolton Archive and Local Studies Service

Record type

Date range

Administrative

1889 - 1990

   Admission & Discharge

1889 - 1990

Finding aids

Finding aids

Location of finding aids

At Repository(AR)

Details

 
 
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