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Repository Cheshire Record Office
Level Collection (Fonds)
Reference ZHI
Title Chester Royal Infirmary
Date 1755-1976
Description The records include minute books; annual reports; registers of patients; accounts; plans and photographs.
Extent 130 volumes, 64 documents, 13 bundles, 51 plans, 113 other items
Location Please note that parts of this collection are held offsite. Please contact Cheshire Archives and Local Studies in advance of your visit if you wish to view these records.
Access Conditions Access to records containing personal information is subject to the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018.
Administrative History Chester Infirmary was founded in 1755 for the treatment of the sick poor, largely owing to a bequest of £300 from Dr. William Stratford. In 1756, the Infirmary was officially opened in an unoccupied part of the Blue Coat Hospital. Upper Northgate Street, but this accommodation soon proved to be inadequate. Work on a new building at St. Martin's Fields, near the City Walls was started in 1758, and this was opened in 1761, with accommodation for 100 patients.

The Infirmary was supported by subscriptions and donations, and admitted patients from Chester and the surrounding area. Each patient had to be recommended for admission by a subscriber. The Infirmary was one of the most progressive hospitals of its time. For example, Dr. John Haygarth (1740-1827), who was appointed physician in 1766, pioneered the isolation of fever patients.

In 1829, a building committee was appointed to consider alterations to the original design. These were implemented in 1830, and included the construction of small rooms for patients suffering from hysteria, epilepsy, and smallpox, whom it was advisable to isolate. In 1859, five acres of land for outdoor amenities were purchased from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners.

In 1868, an isolation hospital for treatment of smallpox and other infectious diseases was opened on a site on the east side of the Infirmary, and this was in use until 1899, when Chester Corporation opened an isolation hospital at Sealand. Other improvements included the opening of a sanatorium at Parkgate in 1882, which cared for convalescent men for more than forty years, and the building of the Humberston Wing in 1892.

In 1913, work began on the new Albert Wood Wing, which was officially opened by King George V and Queen Mary on 25 March 1914. At the time of the opening, it was announced that the Infirmary be known henceforth as 'Chester Royal Infirmary'. Following the First World War, there were various improvements and developments, including new ophthalmic wards, a new operating theatre, and children's department, as well as provision for treatment of venereal diseases.

Proposals for further new departments were put forward in 1938, but the outbreak of war prevented their realisation. However, in 1963, a new out patient and accident wing was opened, by HRH Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent. The hospital closed in 1993.
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Chester Royal Infirmary

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