Frenchay Hospital's final patients leave hospital site

Frenchay Hospital by Jaggery Image copyright Jaggery

The final patients have started leaving Frenchay Hospital near Bristol ahead of the site's permanent closure on Friday.

Those needing treatment will now be taken to the £430m "super-hospital" at Southmead. Frenchay's A&E department moved to Southmead on Monday.

Frenchay first opened in the 1920s and was used by American troops during the Second World War.

Image copyright Frenchay Village Museum

The hospital is based on the site of a Georgian mansion and has been owned by the NHS since the 1940s.

But it started life 1921 as a children's Tuberculosis (TB) hospital, known as Frenchay Sanatorium.

Then, the only treatment for TB was fresh air, sunshine, and good food. Much of the food was grown on a farm on the estate.

Image copyright Frenchay Village Museum

In 1925, the then Minister of Health, Neville Chamberlain, who later become prime minister, came to see the facilities for himself.

New purpose-built buildings were constructed in 1931, which extended the hospital beyond the original house and almost doubled the number of beds to 100.

Image copyright Frenchay Village Museum

When the Americans arrived in the UK during in 1942, the city handed the hospital over to the US authorities to use as a military hospital until the end of the war.

Image copyright Frenchay Village Museum

After the Second World War, the Americans handed the hospital back to the Bristol Corporation which was then handed to the NHS.

Image copyright Frenchay Village Museum

The hospital was even visited by legendary crooner Frank Sinatra in 1953.

As Frenchay's reputation grew, especially in the fields of burns and neurosurgery, facilities at the hospital were improved.

Image copyright Frenchay Village Museum

Play facilities for the child patients, such as a seesaw, were also built at the hospital in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

In 1990, more than 200 new beds were opened and many of the war-time wards were replaced.

Image copyright North Bristol NHS Trust

Planning for the new Southmead Hospital started in 2005.

Work on the Brunel building, alongside the current hospital, was completed in March. It is due to be fully operational at the end of May.

Parts of the vacant Frenchay site will then be bulldozed to create a new housing development and a community facility.

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