ANNIVERSARY Celebrating infirmary’s 250th year
EVENTS BEEN HELD TO MARK
THIS month marks 250 years since the opening of Leicester Royal Infirmary.
Staff and patients have been working together to celebrate the long history of the hospital as it embarks on expansion projects over the coming years.
Celebrations this year will include a special service at Leicester Cathedral, the sale of prints of the hospital to mark the anniversary and free photography courses for staff so they can take part in putting on exhibitions at the city’s three hospitals later this year.
Playing such a key role in our city you might think we all know all about the infirmary.
But here are a few things you might not have known about the city’s hospital:
The original infirmary was built on its current site in 1771 with 40 beds and was outside the city and surrounded by fields at the time.
For most of its life it was just
Leicester Infirmary and had Royal added to its name 109 years ago. King George V agreed to grant the hospital royal status in 1912
The cost of building the original structure was £2,762. The building had no running water when it was completed.
But the site did have its own brewery, as well as a vegetable patch and animals that were all taken care of by the hospital porter. Alcohol was used for treatment for quite a few conditions back in the earlier days of medicine.
In 1808, by which time the hospital had grown to 60 beds, the patients consumed 946 pints of wine, 987 gallons of ale, 38 pints of brandy and 14 pints of gin over the year. Admission was on Tuesdays and only after the board had met in the pub and approved patients.
All of those who were granted admission had to have a sponsor in place to stump up the one guinea deposit that would be returned on discharge but kept to cover funeral and burial costs in case of death.
By the start of the 20th century, the infirmary had 300 beds and was pioneering new medical techniques and training nurses, which helped it earn its royal status
In 2000, 100 years later, Leicester Royal Infirmary merged with Leicester General Hospital and Glenfield Hospital. By then there were a total of 15,000 staff and 1,000 beds across the three hospitals.
The infirmary’s Chapel of St Luke - which closed five years ago to make way for the new A&E department had a 125-year-old church organ with 500 pipes.
The patients consumed 946 pints of wine, 987 gallons of ale, 38 pints of brandy and 14 pints of gin over the year