On a March evening in 1867, seven gentlemen associated with the brewing trade met in The Bank House, High Street, Burton on Trent, to discuss proposals for an infirmary in the town. The idea of building a hospital to serve local people had been mooted for some time, only now the sum of £450 was available, thanks to the legacy of a Mr Brough of Winshill.
Two-and-a-half years later, in October 1869, the original Burton Hospital was opened in Duke Street. The Infirmary and Dispensary had cost £2,300 to build and contained 22 beds, together with accommodation for nurses, domestics and the house surgeon. Despite plans for an official opening by the Marquess of Anglessey – a hero of The Battle of Waterloo – circumstances conspired to prevent this. Instead, in the words of surgeon and hospital historian Robert Bewick: “There were no fanfares, no civic receptions and no Marquess; the Infirmary simply opened its doors”.
A second infirmary was opened 30 years later, complete with 72 beds. Though of modest appearance, it contained every modern development of its day, including new casualty, outpatient and dispensary facilities.
wpe1.jpg (38640 bytes)In October 1942, during the World War II, Burton’s third infirmary was opened at a cost of £167,000. The war not only restricted the new hospital’s facilities (The only priority was beds – other accommodation had to wait) but it also affected staffing. Newly qualified doctors were allowed just six months in hospital before being called into war action. (Picture to the left is the entrance to the now demolished General Hospital).
The fourth hospital – Burton District Hospital – was opened in June 1971 on our present Belvedere Road site, just 102 years after the original Infirmary came into being. According to Robert Bewick, the new development was based on the vision that “the complete hospital requirements for the people of Burton from birth to death could be sited at a single location.”
It took a further 32 years for that vision to become reality. From 1971 to 1993 the district hospital in Belvedere Road, situated two miles north west of the town centre, comprised an outpatients department, accident and emergency, day treatment centre, orthopaedic wards and x-ray, together with maternity and care of the elderly services on the adjacent Outwoods site. These were complemented by the remaining general hospital facilities in the town centre (now closed), which included the majority of inpatient medical, surgical, eye, and ear, nose and throat services.
In 1990, a £34 million capital development was commenced, to replace all the general hospital facilities and provide all district general services on a single, modern site. The result was the new Burton Hospital, completed and commissioned by the end of 1993, and opened officially by Her Majesty The Queen on December 7, 1995. The following year the hospital changed its name to Queen’s Hospital.