Southampton General Hospital began life as the infirmary for the inmates of Southampton workhouse. The new infirmary was built in 1900 on a site that had previously been part of the Hollybrook estate. The Board of Guardians purchased the site for £4,400 from the owner of the estate, Alfred Seymour. The new red-brick building standing in grounds of about 36 acres was officially opened in 1902. It was enlarged in 1914 at the outbreak of World War One.

In 1930 the local council took over the running of the hospital from the Board of Guardians and renamed it the Borough Hospital. In 1937 a new maternity unit was opened. In 1948 the National Health Service was created and the state took over the running of hospitals and the Borough Hospital became Southampton General Hospital. In 1965 the Wessex Neurological Centre was opened and in 1967 a medical school was established. The seventies saw major developments on the site. In 1974 the Queen opened the new East Wing. Later, the Accident and Emergency Department was transferred from the Royal South Hants Hospital and the children’s unit moved from Winchester Road. In 1977 the Centre Block was built and in 1980 the Princess Anne Maternity Unit was opened. The West Wing followed in 1983.

Southampton General Hospital

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The original infirmary building nearing completion in 1900.

Further reading:
‘A History of Southampton General Hospital’, by M. Lyne, in Essays on the History of Southampton, p154-163. (HS/h)


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