Grumpy old fart!!!

"If you talk to God you're religious. If God talks to you, you're psychotic."

Bristol General Hospital, Hare Ward


In February 1831 a committee of benevolent individuals met, conscious that the Bristol Infirmary could no longer cope with the demands upon it. By the autumn things had gone so well that a “general meeting of subscribers and friends to the new general hospital” was held on 21 September. A property in Guinea Street was purchased and refurbished, and the hospital was formally opened on 1 November 1832.

In 1850 the rule excluding non-Bristol patients was abolished. The hospital was so successful thereafter that demand grew and thanks to donations, construction of a new building began in 1853. In 1858 the new building on the site of the Bathurst Ironworks was opened, and the patients were transferred on 3 August.

Further additions came in 1867 when a fire next door allowed the hospital to purchase the site for out-patients, the opening of a children’s ward in 1871 and an out-patients building in 1873.

Between September 1882 and March 1883 the Hospital closed for major sanitary work to alleviate defects in the flooring and ventillation of the wards which had caused incidences of ill health amongst staff and patients. The out-patient department was transferred at this time to premises in Counterslip.

Between 1910 and 1914 the King Edward VII Wing was built at a cost of £45,000, which was erected to alleviate the problem of providing beds for ever increasing numbers of women attending the hospital. The new wing contained a female medical ward, maternity ward, dental department, sitting-rooms and bedrooms for Resident Medical Officers and students, and further accommodation for night nurses. Each ward was provided with a large sun balcony, a novelty at this time. They were subsequently named Fenwick Richards and Hare Wards, and meant an addition of 50 beds to the 180 already available.

During the First World War, the Committee initially set aside 50 beds for the care of sick and wounded soldiers. This was later increased to 100 beds, which were restricted as far as possible to severe surgical cases. The new Fenwick Richards Ward was given up to this purpose between 4 May 1915 and 31 March 1919. In total 964 soldiers were admitted to the General Hospital during this period.

A new chapel was erected in 1915 and between 1916 and 1919 sun balconies were added to all of the wards in the old buildings.

In 1940 the Bristol General Hospital was amalgamated with the Bristol Royal Infirmary to form the Bristol Royal Hospital. The departments of Medicine, Surgery, Orthopaedics and Fractures were to be concentrated at the Infirmary. Gynaecology, Oto-rhino-laryngology, Dermatology and Radiology were to be concentrated at the General Hospital. This division of responsibility is reflected in the case papers in this collection, with some pre-amalgamation records of the Infirmary being included. The reverse is also true, with some General Hospital records included in the Bristol Royal Infirmary catalogue (see collection 35893).

On 4 April 2012 the Bristol General Hospital was closed. The site was sold and renovated by a developer into apartments for sale to the public.

Bristol Archives catalogue

March 1, 2023 Posted by | Deltiology, Social History, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments