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Birmingham General Hospital

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Title: Birmingham General Hospital  
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Subject: Birmingham Accident Hospital, Hospital buildings completed in 1897, John Hall-Edwards, Salts Healthcare Ltd, Samuel Garbett
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Birmingham General Hospital

Birmingham General Hospital
The Steelhouse Lane building in November 2010
Location Birmingham,, England
Care system NHS
Hospital type Teaching
Emergency department Yes
Helipad Yes
Founded 1779 (1779)
Closed Yes
Lists Hospitals in England

Birmingham General Hospital was a teaching hospital in Birmingham, England, founded in 1779.

Summer Lane

Drawing from William Hutton's 1809 book An history of Birmingham, showing the original building
A blue plaque on Centro House
Victorian-era cast iron name plate on Hospital Street

In 1765, a committee for a proposed hospital, formed by John Ash and supported by Sir Lister Holte, 5th Baronet, the Earl of Bradford, Samuel Garbett, Sir Henry Gough, Charles Adderley, Matthew Boulton, John Baskerville, Sampson Lloyd and others,[1] purchased:

all those four closes, pieces, or parcels of Land, Meadow, or Pasture Ground, situate, lying, and being together near a place called the Salutation, in Birmingham aforesaid, containing, by estimation, eight Acres or thereabouts, be the same more or less, adjoining at the upper end or part thereof into a Lane there called Summer Lane, and at the lower end or part thereof unto a way called Walmore Lane

from a Mrs Dolphin, for £120 per acre.[1][2] (Walmore Lane is now Lancaster Street[2])

However, work to erect the new hospital on that land stopped through lack of funds in 1766.[1] Eventually, much of its funds came from the Birmingham Triennial Music Festival, the first of which was held over three days in September 1768,[3] and which continued to fund the hospital into the 20th century.[3]

The hospital finally opened on 20 September 1779,[1][4][5] giving its name to Hospital Street.[2] About 200 patients were treated in its first three months of operation,[5] even though the 40 beds were fewer than half those aimed for.[1]

Two, two-storey side wings were added in 1790.[6] Further extensions were made in 1857 and 1880.[6]

Eventually 235 beds were provided on the site.[1]

The site was later used for a tram, then bus, depot and is now occupied by Centro House, headquarters of the West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive, where there is a blue plaque (at ) commemorating the hospital.[7]

Steelhouse Lane

The hospital relocated to Steelhouse Lane in 1897,[1][5] on a site formerly occupied by almshouses provided by Lench's Trust.[6]

Neville Chamberlain became an Official Visitor and then a director of the Hospital. He advocated a larger facility, a cause in which he was eventually successful, though building did not commence until 1934. He was still fundraising while he was Prime Minister.

On 5 July 1948 the hospital became part of the new National Health Service.

Until 1964 the hospital was a training centre for nurses, who, on qualification, became members of the General Hospital Birmingham Nurses League.[8] After 1964, training switched to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in the nearby suburb of Edgbaston.[8] The league was wound up in 2000, due to its remaining members' increasing age.[8]

The Birmingham pub bombings, the worst terrorist attack on the mainland until 2005, occurred within a mile of the hospital, on 21 November 1974. Taxi cabs and all available ambulances ferried victims to either the General or to the nearby Accident Hospital.[9]

In later years, a helicopter landing pad was marked near the road in front of the hospital, for use by air ambulances.

The General closed in the mid-1990s. Its Grade A locally listed, red brick building has been used as Birmingham Children's Hospital since 1998.

Notable staff

A Blue plaque paced in the on the Steelhouse Lane building in 1987 commemorates John Hall-Edwards

Notable births


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Ash's deed for our General wellbeing".  
  2. ^ a b c "Garden of Eden in Summer Lane.".  
  3. ^ a b Elliott, Anne. The Music Makers - a Brief History of the Birmingham Triennial Music Festivals 1784 - 1912.  
  4. ^ Wilson, Adrian (2002), "The Birmingham General Hospital and its Public, 1765–79", in Sturdy, Steve, Medicine, Health and the Public Sphere in Britain, 1600–2000, Routledge Studies in the Social History of Medicine 16, London: Routledge, pp. 90–91,  
  5. ^ a b c "Expressions of care; A new book has been published on the history of hospitals in Birmingham. Chris Upton delves into its pages.".  
  6. ^ a b c Thornton, Roy (2009). Lost Buildings of Birmingham. The History Press. p. 75.  
  7. ^ Plaque #1565 on Open Plaques.
  8. ^ a b c "Millennium marks end of an era for nurses".  
  9. ^ Alan Stuart Hill. "Birmingham Pub Bombings November 21st 1974". Retrieved 2009-08-03. 


  • Reinarz, Jonathan (2009). Health Care in Birmingham: The Birmingham Teaching Hospitals 1779-1939. Woodbridge: Boydell Press.  
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