There have been many changes at Bradford Teaching Hospitals over the last century and more, but our roots still firmly lie in the heart of West Yorkshire. Delve deeper into our long and distinguished history in the timeline below.

Timeline:

  • April 1825: Bradford Dispensary founded. During its first year, the dispensary’s trustees congratulated themselves on being able to bring medical relief to many in need during a period of political unrest when an abnormal number of Bradford families were left destitute and deprived
  • 1826: A four-bed ward is built at the dispensary and reserved for patients needing operations or those who require in-house treatment
  • 1827: A new dispensary building is built in Darley Street, Bradford at a cost of £3,500
  • 1833: The dispensary’s annual report states that thanks to “increased annual subscriptions and liberal donations” up to 12 beds will be installed and the dispensary will become known as Bradford Infirmary
  • 1843: The new Bradford Infirmary officially opens for outpatients at Westgate, Bradford
  • 1848: Surgeon Edward Casson becomes the first to operate on a patient in Bradford using a new wonder drug – chloroform
  • 1898: Accommodation is provided at the workhouse infirmary for children’s and convalescent wards as well as a new women’s hospital. But within a year a sub-committee discusses the prospect of a new infirmary at a 26-acre site at Daisy Hill and Field House (later the site of the new Bradford Royal Infirmary).
  • 1906: A children’s convalescent home is acquired in Morecambe, Lancashire
  • 1907: The workhouse infirmary or Bradford Union Hospital is singled out as a ‘model union’, after increasing its medical expenditure from £4,000 in 1896 to £17,000. Nursing staff had increased from 12 to 60, treating 3,000 patients per year
  • 1907: The pioneering Bradford Education Committee establishes the first school clinic in England
  • 1908: Medical Superintendent of Schools Dr James Kerr leads to the establishment of England’s first open-air school (for anaemic and consumptive children) at Thackley
  • 1912: The Board of Guardians resolves to separate their administration of the Bradford Union Hospital from the affairs of the workhouse, and renames the infirmary St Luke’s Hospital
  • 1915: St Luke’s Hospital comes under the control of the War Office. By the end of WWI, St Luke’s has 1,700 beds
  • 1920: Field House, on the intended site for the new Bradford Royal Infirmary, is converted into a nurses’ hostel
  • 1927: Work begins on architect Eric Morley’s first block of buildings at Duckworth Lane for the new BRI
  • 1849: The Bradford Guardians buy 14 acres of Horton Park to build a new workhouse and infirmary
  • 1851: The new Bradford Union Workhouse, the precursor to today’s St Luke’s Hospital, opens with accommodation for 350 paupers and a spacious and detached infirmary equipped with every medical convenience of the day, giving Bradford two hospitals
  • 1857: The Bradford Board of Guardians appoint a workhouse medical officer and their first proper nurse, after pressure from Whitehall regulations
  • 1870: The first nurses of some ability and training – eight in total – are employed at the Bradford Union Workhouse infirmary on a salary of £25
  • 1872: Bradford Fever Hospital opens
  • 1876: The Bradford Union is divided into six medical districts, each with its own medical officer
  • 1882: The Bradford Infirmary on Westgate plays a major part in treating the injured during Bradford’s worst disaster in Victorian times. A strong gust of wind causes Newlands Mill in Bowling to collapse leading to 54 fatalities, many of them children
  • 1883: Bradford’s Children’s Hospital opens
  • 1891: Henry Ripley gifts Woodlands Convalescent Home in Rawdon to Bradford Infirmary
  • 1892: The first officially-trained nurses are appointed
  • 1897: On the 60th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s reign, Bradford Infirmary is given permission to use the word ‘Royal’ in its title
  • 1897: Work on a new nurses’ home for 55 nurses begins in the north-east corner of the infirmary’s grounds in Ivegate
  • 1928: The Duke and Duchess of York lay the foundation stone for the new Bradford Royal Infirmary
  • 1936: Work is completed on the new BRI after stalling due to a lack of funds exacerbated by the worldwide economic depression
  • 1937: Bradford Royal Infirmary relocates from Westgate to Duckworth Lane
  • 1939: BRI and St Luke’s join the Emergency Medical Service as WWII dawns
  • 1940: 192 badly wounded servicemen are brought directly from the beaches of Dunkirk to be treated at St Luke’s Hospital
  • 1948: BRI and St Luke’s become part of the new National Health Service
  • 1950: A school of physiotherapy and a thoracic surgical unit open at BRI while St Luke’s launches a chest clinic and obstetric operating theatre
  • 1960: BRI makes international headlines following pioneering work in the fight against breast cancer by George Whyte Watson and Professor Robert Turner. Their research into chemotherapy gives the hospital a worldwide reputation for cancer treatment and changes the management of the disease forever
  • 1962: Owls nesting above the entrance to the extension block at St Luke’s have to be removed by the RSPCA because they are swooping on night sisters during their rounds
  • 1963: St Luke’s opens a new chapel and medical photography department
  • 1973: Of the original 1851 buildings at St Luke’s, only the administration and extension block are still in use.
  • 1985: A £30 million redevelopment of St Luke’s is given the green light
  • 1991: As part of government health reforms, BRI and St Luke’s become part of Bradford Hospitals NHS Trust
  • 2004: Bradford Teaching Hospitals becomes one of the first foundation trusts in the NHS on April 1
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