Liverpool Infirmary

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Coordinates: 53°24′32″N 2°58′05″W / 53.409°N 2.968°W / 53.409; -2.968

Liverpool Infirmary
Royal Liverpool Infirmary 1.jpg
General information
Town or city Liverpool
Country England
Construction started 1743
Completed 1749
Demolished 1842
Cost £2,600

Liverpool Infirmary was founded in 1743, took 6 years to build, was opened by the Earl of Derby on 25 March 1749. The first Infirmary stood on the site of the present day St George's Hall, and cost £2,600 to build. It was expanded in 1771.

The Infirmary was brought about due, in part, to the unsanitary conditions of the town at the time. In 1700 the population was about 5000, by 1749 it had quadrupled to 20,000. With the population growing fast the people were housed in ill drained streets. The unsanitary conditions led to widespread illness and it was decided to open the Infirmary.

William Rathbone V set up the world's first ever district nursing service in Liverpool. Initially with only one nurse, he asked Florence Nightingale’s advice on how to expand. At her suggestion, Rathbone persuaded the Infirmary to open a nurse training school based at the Royal Infirmary, to train both hospital and district nurses. This was established in 1862 and was the second only Nightingale nurse training school in the United Kingdom, after the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery in London.

The Infirmary was built of brick and faced with stone. It was three stories high. On the ground floor there were two exam rooms, a lodging room, an apothecary, and the Hospice Chapel. The second floor held four wards, an operating room and two bedrooms for nurses. The kitchen, wash-house, laundry and laboratory were situated in the cellar.

Liverpool Royal Infirmary[edit]

In 1823 a new hospital and lunatic asylum was built on Brownlow Street and renamed the Liverpool Royal Infirmary in 1851. The old Infirmary was closed in 1826 and eventually demolished in 1842 to make way for St George's Hall.

Waterhouse Building[edit]

Royal Liverpool Infirmary

In 1890 a new Infirmary building by Alfred Waterhouse was constructed on the Brownlow Street site. The building is an impressive example of Victorian design, in red brick. In 1978 the building closed and was replaced by the Royal Liverpool University Hospital. In 1994 it was bought by Liverpool University and was restored after being left empty since its closure, and is now used by the University of Liverpool School of Medicine for clinical skills teaching and examinations. The Royal Infirmary has since been used by the BBC for 'Casualty 1907' in 2006/2007.

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