Frenchay Hospital, Bristol - July 2014
The area that Frenchay Hospital stands on (70 acres of land) was sold to the Corporation of Bristol in 1921 and for the next ten years it then became a children's TB hospital - Frenchay Park Sanatorium. In the late 1920s it was deemed that it was too small for all its patients, so, in 1931, five purpose built buildings were built, two ward pavilions, a treatment block, an admissions and observation block and a school. The estate so remained until 1940, but did also include a farm, which grew food for the children. In the late 1930s the Government feared that there would not be enough hospital beds to house the estimated casualties should the expected war break out. As such an emergency hospital was planned for the estate, with construction starting in mid 1940. Eventually 15 wards and supporting facilities were built, only to remain empty because the number of casualties was fewer than had been feared. In the meantime the children remained in their buildings. The US soldiers started to arrive in Britain in the 1942. As a form of reverse "Lease Lend" the emergency buildings were handed over to the US military and the first US troops arrived at the hospital in May 1942. As the amount of US soldiers grew, the hospital was extended by 15 wards and supporting departments. The hospital was known as the 298th General Hospital, United States Army. The Americans stayed until August 1945, when the whole of the site, including all the US equipment, was handed to the British.
Before the war it pioneered electroencephalograms to monitor brain activity. More controversially, it conducted the first lobotomy in Britain in 1941 and later used electroconvulsive therapy.
Some additional history and old photos can be found here - brief history.
We were heading down to Bristol for the recent meet up so naturally had a quick search to see what was about and spotted this place. It was well worth the trip, we spent a good afternoon having a wander around this place, a few humerous encounters with randomers and security but all went well. Sadly some of the older parts of the huge main corridor were locked up, but I think we saw the best bits on this trip. Plenty of operating theatres, xray machines, CT scanners and tonnes of beds resulted in lots of fun being had. It also featured a pretty awesome sorting system possibly for post or prescriptions??, a small bit of which I have photographed.