Dr Steevens' Hospital

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Dr. Steevens' Hospital, Dublin

Dr Steevens' Hospital (also called Dr Steevens's Hospital) in Dublin was one of Ireland's most distinguished eighteenth-century medical establishments. It was founded under the terms of the will of Dr Richard Steevens (1653-1710), an eminent physician in Dublin, and designed by Thomas Burgh.[1]


Griselda Steevens was left an income by her brother Dr Richard Steevens. This was from an estate in Westmeath and King's County (now County Offaly) which gave her £600 per annum for her life. It was to be used after her death to found a hospital. She, however, decided to use the money during her life, and founded, in 1720, the hospital near Kilmainham, which bears her brother's name. One condition that she attached to her donation was that she should be allowed to live there, which she did for the rest of her life. She was often to be seen walking the grounds closely veiled, which led to speculation among the local populace. The hospital was for long known as "Madame Steevens' Hospital".[1]

Dr. Steevens' Hospital in 1800

In 1732, Edward Worth, one of the most eminent Dublin physicians of his day, died and bequeathed to Steevens' Hospital £1,000 and his library, then valued at £5,000, together with £100 for fitting it up. The hospital built a specially designed room to house the Edward Worth Library, where it remains to this day under updated protective conditions.[2]

In 1803, in the run-up to Robert Emmet's rebellion, the victims of a powerful explosion at his ammunition depot in Patrick St. were brought to the hospital. They were M'Intosh, the Keenans, Arthur Develin, George M'Donald and a few others, who were blown up at the time of the explosion, some of whom expired in the hospital afterwards.

In 1857 the Dublin School of Medicine was transferred to Dr. Steevens' Hospital and renamed Steevens' Hospital Medical College.

It no longer functions as a general hospital and is now an administrative centre for the Health Service Executive. The renovated and redecorated building faces the south side of Dublin's main railway terminal, Dublin Heuston (former Kingsbridge Station).

Notable physicians[edit]

Dr. Proby (1661-1729), a native of Dublin, was a popular physician at the time of the foundation of Dr. Steevens' Hospital. To that institution he was devotedly attached, and in its chapel he desired to be buried. He left, on his death, a daughter whose husband, John Nichols (died 1767), was a doctor and who succeeded him in his office as first surgeon in the hospital. Nichols was also surgeon to the Dublin Hospital for Incurables as well as Surgeon-General of the Irish Army.

Abraham Colles (1773-1843) was appointed to the hospital in 1799, where he remained for 42 years.

Sir Henry Marsh was appointed physician at the hospital in 1820.[3]

Sir Charles Cameron, who later became Chief Medical Officer for Dublin, lectured for many years in chemistry and physics at the medical school in the hospital from 1857.[4]

Thomas Percy Claude Kirkpatrick (1869-1954) was appointed assistant physician at Dr Steevens's Hospital, which remained central to his medical practice and to his work as an historian. In 1908 he was appointed registrar of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland.[5]

Edward Worth was a governor of the hospital and left his library to it.[2]

Further reading[edit]

  • Kirkpatrick, Thomas Percy Claude (2008). The History of Dr Steevens' Hospital, Dublin 1720-1920. Dublin: University College Dublin. ISBN 1-906359-16-4.  (Originally published: Dublin : University Press, 1924.)


  1. ^ a b Craig, Maurice (2006) [1952]. Dublin 1660-1860. pp. 122–124. ISBN 1-905483-11-2. 
  2. ^ a b "The Edward Worth Library". Edwardworthlibrary.ie. 2015. Retrieved 2015-12-20. ...[T]he website of the Edward Worth Library (1733). 
  3. ^ Alfred Webb: A Compendium of Irish Biography. Dublin, 1878
  4. ^ Cameron, Sir Charles (1913). Reminiscences of Sir Charles Cameron, Chief Medical Officer of Dublin Corporation. Dublin: Hodges & Figgis. 
  5. ^ Kirkpatrick, Thomas Percy Claude (2008). The History of Dr Steevens' Hospital, Dublin 1720-1920. Dublin: University College Dublin. ISBN 1-906359-16-4. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 53°20′43″N 6°17′32″W / 53.34528°N 6.29222°W / 53.34528; -6.29222