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Bristol Hospitals & Medical Institutions | by brizzle born and bred
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Bristol Hospitals & Medical Institutions

1696 A bill (the Bristol Act), promoted by John Carey, for the erecting of Hospitals and Work houses, in the City of Bristol, for the better employing and maintaining of the Poor became law. The Corporation empowered under the Act rented Whitehall, a building adjoining Bridewell, to house 100 girls. Dr. Thomas Dover was appointed physician. The house was far too small and at the end of the year the Corporation rented The Mint for the purpose


1697 The Mint St. Peters Hospital opened as a workhouse and Infirmary for the sick poor. It kept that function for 200 years and also became an Asylum for pauper lunatics.


1736 Subscription opened in Bristol for the erection of an infirmary. The site chosen was houses on the corner of Marlborough Street and Maudlin Lane : there was formerly a brewery here. Georges Brewery supported the BRI and up to the Second World War junior medical staff at the hospital were supplied with free beer.


1736 Infirmary opened to outpatients and then on December 13th to inpatients; initially 34 beds.


1740 Apprentices taken by the Apothecary and by the Surgeons, who had their own pupils. A new post of Infirmary Surgical Pupil was soon established: Thomas Davies, apprenticed to all five visiting Surgeons, paid each of them two guineas every half year. For 80 years the Infirmary was considered a school for surgery only and there is no record during this time of any Physicians pupils. However, for the first 50 years or so, the admission of every surgical patient had to be approved by a Physician.


1746 First recorded lectures given by Infirmary staff. Mr. John Page gave a Course of Anatomy


1762 16,634 gallons of ale and beer consumed at the Infirmary annually.


1755 First separate Operating Theatre at Infirmary number of beds increased to 132.


1775 Bristol Dispensary, Castle Green, opened. This continued until the advent of the NHS. It was started by the Shaftsbury Society for some of the poorer people in Bristol.


1786 Need for new Infirmary buildings urgent. Red Lodge Estate suggested as being a healthier location. Mr Tyndall objected; too near his Park. Infirmary rebuilt on original site but not finished until 1814.


1797 Series of Anatomy lectures given at the Red Lodge: open to anyone.


1804 Dr. Edward Long Fox, a physician at the Infirmary, built an Asylum at Brislington for the treatment of the insane.


1807 Mr. Thomas Shute started lecturing in Anatomy to Medical Students only. He built an Anatomy Lecture Room in Lower College Street. His subjects were sent to him regularly by the Waggon from London and cost him six guineas each.


1810 Bristol Eye Hospital founded in Lower Maudlin Street : extended in 1886. Also a Bristol Eye Dispensary in Frogmore Street.


1811 Clifton Dispensary opened.


1813 A rival, Mr. Francis Gould , established a school for the teaching of Anatomy near the Cathedral Cloisters (see engraving in Skelton). Gould lectured here until 1819.


Thomas Shutes Theatre of Anatomy was continued after his death in 1817, by Dr. Wallis. He extended the scope of the lectures until they were an almost complete medical curriculum: School of Anatomy and Medicine.


1816 Dr. J. C. Pritchard and Dr. J. E. Stock gave a course of 60 lectures in a room at the Infirmary, on the Institutes and Practice of Medicine. it is an object of ambition to both to attempt to lay the foundation of a Medical School. In the same year, Mr. W. D. Rolfe, one of the founders of the Bristol Lying -in Institution for poor women, lectured on the Principles and Practice of Midwifery, illustrated by an ingenious machine and apparatus contrived for the purpose.


1817 Gas lighting introduced in Bristol, but not for some years to Infirmary


1818 Gallery made around operating room at Infirmary for use of students and other spectators.


1825 An old chapel in Orchard Street was rented by Drs. Kentish and Davies and Mortimer, who fitted it out as a Medical Library


1826 Henry Clark started a Theatre of Anatomy and this soon became the Bristol Medical and Surgical School.


1830 The Bristol Hospital and Surgery opened in Prince Street. It remained open until the General Hospital started functioning and its funds were transferred there.


1830 Candles replaced by gas lighting at the Infirmary.


1831 Bristol riots. Mr. William Hetling gave a series of lectures in the Infirmary Museum on The Principles, Practice and Operations of Surgery. These lectures were recognised by the College of Surgeons.


A committee of citizens, several of whom belonged to the Society of Friends, met to discuss the inadequacy of the citys medical charities. A general meeting of subscribers and friends to the proposed new Bristol General Hospital took place. The chairman, Dr. Thomas Stock, was physician to St. Peters Hospital and was a fervent Whig. The Infirmary was a stronghold of Toryism and these political differences were a great influence for the setting up of the new hospital, which opened in 1832. The site, in Guinea Street on the South side of the city, was chosen to serve the populous parishes of St. Thomas, Temple, Redcliff, St. Nicholas and Bedminster. .between the New River and the premises there is no building to intercept the fresh air which accompanies every influx of the tide..


1831 Medical School premises in Old Park. First prospectors for the Bristol Medical School. Dreadful \"cholera visitation\". St Peters grossly overcrowded. Old French prison at Stapleton bought. In 1865 this was rebuilt and became the nucleus of Manor Park Hospital


1832 An amalgamation of the two Schools of Medicine led to the formation of the Bristol Medical School, although each component carried on its separate existence for a few years.


The date 1828 appears on the seal of the new School (see figure): this was probably the date on which Henry Clarks School was first recognised by the Examining Board of the Apothecaries Society Students apprenticed to doctors at the new General Hospital heard the following charge read to them by the Committee :you are recommended as pupils of this charity by..and. and although you will as their pupils be under their special care and superintendence, I must state that you will be also under the direction of the other gentlemen in your department of the profession, as well as the House Surgeon Apothecary : to all of whom, as well as towards every other person connected with this establishment, you will be expected to behave with gentlemanly propriety: and further you will be required to conduct yourself with tenderness and delicacy towards the patients, and to observe good order and decorum in the wards and wherever else your duty may call you: to be punctual in your attendance at the specified times, and not to remain at the Hospital after your business is completed: not to obtrude yourself in any part of the premises where your services are not needed; and in general to conform to all the rules and regulations of the Institution. Should your conduct be satisfactory, you will at the end of your term, receive from this Committee a certificate of attendance, and of their approbation. The fee for apprenticeship to the General Hospital at the time was £260.


1833 Dr. Henry Hawes Fox, son of Edward Long Fox and a Physician also at the Infirmary, built a lunatic asylum at Northwoods, Winterbourne.


1838 Rules for medical education at Infirmary instituted that each physician was to have six pupils and each surgeon three assistant pupils or dressers and three non-assistant. Rule XV: That the Surgeon for the week appoint an Assistant Pupil to be provided with board and lodging in the House for that week: who shall not leave the Infirmary till another take his place, in order that at least one Assistant Pupil may be present at the admission of every Casualty Patient and Case of Emergency: and who shall act entirely under the direction of the House Surgeon, till the Surgeon for the Week or one of his Colleagues appointed by him, shall arrive. At this time a library and reading room for students was opened.


1842 Clinical lectures to be given at least once a week at the Infirmary by the Physicians and once a week by the Surgeons in rotation.


1843 Consumption of beer at the Infirmary 28,000 quarts per annum and milk 20,000 quarts. 15,000 leeches bought in the year and three and a half tons of linseed meal used for poultices.


1850 General Hospital in a dilapidated state. Rebuilt and new building opened in 1858.


1850 Chloroform first used at the Infirmary, for the operation of lithotomy.


1850 Queen Victoria gave permission for the title Royal Infirmary


1851 Ear Dispensary opened in Berkeley Place.


1857 Land bought at Stapleton for the erection of an Asylum. The building opened in 1861 and 113 pauper lunatics were transferred from St. Peters Hospital. By 1885 there were 430 patients, insufficient for need, and money was granted to provide accommodation for 679 inmates.


1860 Chapel and Museum opened at Infirmary.


1861 Fishponds Lunatic Asylum built, to replace the inadequate accommodation at St. Peters Hospital. By 1907 there were 927 residents.


1863 General Hospital enlarged. Recognised then by the examining bodies as a suitable place for clinical students. Infirmary lecturers outnumbered General Hospital lecturers in the Faculty. Following dissatisfaction of the Infirmary members with teaching arrangements and lack of knowledge among Medical Students, a separate Infirmary teaching school was proposed. Eventually it was agreed that a Governing Body of 19 members elected by the Infirmary and the Hospital, representing their committees and Faculties, should be set up and the Chairman, Vice-chairman and Treasurer of the Council of University College (1876) to be ex-officio members. This Governing Body would oversee clinical teaching.


1864 Appeal opened for funds to build a Childrens Hospital. A house at the Royal Fort was first used: it took over the work of the Free Institution for the Treatment of Diseases peculiar to Women and Children, in St. James Square.


1865 Typhus fever was rife in the city. The City Health Authorities asked the General Hospital Committee to open wards solely for typhus patients. They refused, so the city established its own fever hospital. The Temporary Home opened (later the Bristol Maternity Hospital).


1866 Royal Hospital for Sick Children founded (9 cots). The site at the top of St Michaels Hill was bought by Mark Whitwill.


1868 A form of telegraphic apparatus was fixed at the Infirmary, at a cost of £250, for communication with the wards. In the same year, W.G. Grace entered as a pupil.


1869 The Little Sisters of the Poor bought a house on Cotham Hill to use as a Convent and in association with this opened an Asylum for 100 sick and aged poor.


1870 Medical School premises in Old Park inadequate. Suggestion that the Medical School should become part of a School of Science: appeal launched for public subscriptions. Resulted in proposal to found University College, Bristol.


1874 The Read Dispensary, to enable women to consult doctors of their own sex, was opened. It moved in 1907 to new buildings in Anchor Rd./ St. Georges Rd.


1875 Orthopaedic Hospital and Crippled Childrens Home opened in Grove Rd. Redland.


1876 Medical and Surgical Pupils : regulation that the Clinical Clerks keep accurate records of the cases of the patients under the care of the Physicians and Surgeons to whom they are attached.


1876 The Medical School was affiliated to the newly formed University College of Bristol. A plan to incorporate them was supported by Infirmary staff but bitterly opposed by the General staff. Agreement reached in 1878. Companys water installed at the Infirmary in place of well-water and new drains and ventilation constructed.


1877 Medical School moved to new premises in Tyndalls Park.


\"The amusement of the patients in the ward has been the subject of many experiments and in 1878 a lady was appointed to read aloud and to amuse them generally.\" (BRI)


1879 Specialist teaching proposed at Infirmary, in Diseases of the Eye, Diseases of Women, Diseases of the Skin, Diseases of the Throat and Ear, and Dentistry but initially with no designated beds.


1880 Visit by Lister to both the Infirmary and the General; demonstrated his carbolic spray. Technique adopted by Surgeons over the next few years.


c.1880 Hahnemann Hospital opened in Brunswick Square. Homeopathic treatments, inpatient and outpatient.


1882 The Telephone Company offered to install an instrument at the General and provide a night and day service free of charge. The offer was rejected but was finally accepted three years later.


1883 Bristol Medico-Chirurgical Journal founded to be the published organ of the medical profession in Bristol and the neighbourhood


1884 Stalls erected at the General Hospital for the horses and men of the staff.


1885 Ophthalmology allocated 12 beds at Infirmary.


1885 Childrens Hospital moved to a new building on St. Michaels Hill, with a convalescent home at Weston-super-Mare.


1886 New accommodation for nursing staff at Infirmary opened in Terrell St. ophthalmology then occupied the former Nursing Staff Dormitories on top floor of Infirmary building.


1888 Department of Dentistry established at Infirmary.


1892 Obstetric ward opened at Infirmary: 6 beds, then a further 6.


1892 Bristol Sanitary Committee purchased land at Novers Hill for a 58 bed Isolation Hospital for smallpox cases. Prior to this, the only hospital for the isolation of infectious disease cases consisted of two small buildings each with twelve beds, in St. Philips Marsh.


1896 Land acquired at Ham Green for a hospital for infectious diseases other than smallpox. Ham Green opened in 1899, with 76 beds in four pavilions. The accommodation was doubled in 1901.


1897 Department of Bacteriology opened at Infirmary: one of the very few in the country at the time.


1898 X-ray apparatus bought for Infirmary: became a department soon after


1899 Faculty recommended that Medical Students be allowed to attend either the Infirmary or the General or both for their clinical studies.


1899 Queen Victoria Jubilee Convalescent Home opened on the Downs by the Queen. Beds for 80 convalescents.


1901 Electric lighting introduced at Infirmary.


1902 Southmead Infirmary opened as a Municipal Hospital and Workhouse. At this time it was outside the Bristol boundary. 68 beds. This hospital was surrounded by fields.


1903 Homoeopathic hospital opened.


1906 Nose and Throat Department opened at Infirmary: 8 beds at first. Became Ear ,Nose and Throat Department in 1910.


1907 Cossham Memorial Hospital opened: endowed by funds left in his will by Handel Cossham, colliery owner, MP and philanthropist.


1908 A Preliminary Training School for Nurses opened in Berkeley Square: the first of its kind in the provinces.


1908 Territorial Forces Act. 2nd Southern General Hospital formed on paper and staff appointed. Set up to be a 520-bedded hospital and Infirmary undertook to meet this need in event of war.


1909 University of Bristol receives its Charter absorbing the University College.


1911 The Edward VII building was opened at the BRI. This was funded largely by George White who had made his fortune in engineering.


1912 New Surgical Wing opened at Infirmary by King George V and Queen Mary.


1914 Start of World War I. Infirmary could only offer 260 beds in the newly opened wing , for casualties. Southmead, now with 260 beds, placed these free-of-charge at the disposal of the War Office. Five temporary wards quickly added and by 1917 Southmead had 1,040 beds, and a further 300 in tents. Also providing beds for 2nd Southern General Hospital were Bishops Knoll, Cossham Hospital, Cleve Hill, Almondsbury, Kingsweston, Homeopathic Hospital, Bruce Cole, Eye Hospital, General Hospital, Queen Victoria Hospital and Ashton Court Hospital and many others in Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire. In 1916 the Red Maids School was converted into a 200-bed hospital. In 1915 the Bristol Asylum at Fishponds was converted into the Beaufort War Hospital. Together with the Female Infirmary block at the Workhouse(200 beds) the Beaufort hospital provided 1,640 beds. 500 of these became an Orthopaedic centre of international excellence. When the hospital closed in February 1919 it had treated 29,434 patients with only about 130 related deaths.


1918 Southmead Hospital became a special centre for orthopaedic treatment.


1919 The Southmead section was detached from the 2nd Southern General Hospital and became the Special Military Surgical Hospital. By May 1919 most of the emergency beds were disbanded and the 2nd S.G.H was closed down over the next few months. In all the 2nd S.G.H. had treated 88,966 inpatients and 42,380 outpatients.


1920 A proposed amalgamation of Bristol hospitals and other medical charities was attempted. But the scheme did not go through. It was discussed at great length at a combined meeting of the Staff and Committee, the only occasion in the history of the General Hospital when such a meeting has been held. George Wills offered to build a new united hospital for Bristol to amalgamate the Bristol Royal Infirmary and the General Hospital, on a site now occupied by St. Monicas Home of Rest. The strong sectarian differences made agreement impossible. In 1919 Sir George Newman, Chief Medical Officer, surveyed medical schools. He reported that the Bristol school was having trouble because of continuing rivalry of the two hospitals. It was not until 1940 that full clinical amalgamation could take place.


1921 A long-term deficiency of income led to the General, in conjunction with the Royal Infirmary, introducing charges to patients. An Almoner was appointed to reduce the fees to those unable to afford them. The charges were one guinea a week for inpatients for maintenance only: no payment was made for medical services. Outpatients paid sixpence for each attendance and sixpence for medicines or dressings. In 1930, 33 per cent of all patients were assessed as unable to pay any contribution. Frenchay Park Hospital opened for orthopaedics and children with TB.


1927 Department of research into cardiac disease set up at the General Hospital under Dr Carey Coombs. Antenatal clinics were started by Mr. Drew Smythe.


1939-1940 Blood Transfusion Service set up at Southmead by the army. Lionel Whitby was the Colonel in Charge. He had a team which included Geoffrey Tovey who was a Lieutenant. The Unit was initially housed in tents and huts in the grounds of the hospital.


1938-1940 Construction of Emergency Service Hospital at Frenchay.


1939-1945 Second World War. Several medical establishments destroyed including St Peters Hospital, Castle Street.


1941 onwards - American Army Units occupy Frenchay Hospital which serves as an Evacuation Hospital. Later it becomes a Training Centre.


1943 Dr Beryl Corner appointed to the Newborn Unit at Southmead.


1946 Thoracic and Neurosurgery Units established at Frenchay/Burden Hospital.


1947 Board of Governors of the BRI established.


1948 Establishment of the NHS. Southmead ceased to being a municipal hospital. It became the centre for 12 hospitals including Berkeley and Clevedon. Emergency Admissions Bureau for the Bristol area established at Southmead.


1949 Plastic Surgery Unit opened at Frenchay.


1951 Ashton Court was put up for sale. Bill Adams, a physician, proposed that the BRI and the central Bristol hospitals should move to Ashton Court. This proposal was strongly supported by the medical staff. However Philip Morris, the Vice Chancellor of the University, had other ideas. He was committed to the idea of rebuilding the Medical School in the centre of Bristol and considered that the hospital would be an important part of this. The proposal ultimately abandoned largely because of the intervention of Morris.


1961 Burns Unit set up at Frenchay,


1970 Renal Dialysis Unit opens at Southmead.


1973 Phase 1 of the BRI opened.


1974 First EMI (CT) scanner in Bristol at Frenchay. Radiotherapy Centre (later the Oncology Centre) opened. Hospital Management Committees and Boards of Governors disbanded. Regional Hospital Board renamed Regional Health Authority. Establishment of Avon Health Authority and District Health Authorities. Southmead Health Authority proclaimed its teaching status by becoming SHA (T).


1990 Opening of new 258 bedded unit at Frenchay.


1991 Establishment of Trusts.


1993 Avon Orthopaedic Centre opens at Southmead. Winford closes.


Bristol Medical Institutions

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Taken on November 12, 2010