Radcliffe Infirmary

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Radcliffe Infirmary
Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals NHS Trust
Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford - geograph.org.uk - 82358.jpg
Location Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, United Kingdom
Care system Public NHS
Hospital type Specialist
Affiliated university University of Oxford
Emergency department n/a
Beds 275
Speciality Oxford Eye Hospital
Founded 1770
Closed 2007
Website www.oxfordradcliffe.nhs.uk
Lists Hospitals in England

The Radcliffe Infirmary was a hospital in central Oxford, England, located at the southern end of Woodstock Road on the western side, backing onto Walton Street. The Radcliffe Infirmary, named after physician John Radcliffe, opened in 1770 and was Oxford's first hospital. It was finally closed in 2007.[1]

In 1758, the initial proposals to build a hospital in Oxford were put forward at a meeting of the Radcliffe Trustees, who were administering John Radcliffe's estate. £4,000 was made available for the new hospital, which was constructed on land given by Thomas Rowney, one of the two Members of Parliament for Oxford.

The fountain in front of the main infirmary building was introduced in 1858 and is of the Greek god Triton.[2]


A number of pioneering moments in medical history occurred at the hospital. Penicillin was first tested on patients on 27 January 1941. The first Utah Array (later known as the BrainGate) implantation in a human (Kevin Warwick) took place on 14 March 2002.[3]

The site was also the location of the Oxford Eye Hospital and the Nuffield Laboratory of Ophthalmology (NLO).[4] Both were transferred to the John Radcliffe Hospital in 2007, and are now located in the West Wing complex.

The Infirmary was acquired by the University of Oxford in 2003 and closed for medical use in 2007[5] with services being transferred to purpose-built buildings at the John Radcliffe and Churchill Hospitals in nearby Headington. The site was earmarked to consolidate the senior administrative offices of the University of Oxford.[6] It was redeveloped by the university as the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter, with planning permission approval in 2009. It now forms the Philosophy Library, replacing the old library on Merton Street. The Mathematical Institute and the Blavatnik School of Government are now located on the site.

The Woodstock Road entrance of the hospital was frequently seen in the ITV television series Inspector Morse.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust". Oxfordradcliffe.nhs.uk. 2015-08-13. Retrieved 2015-08-24. 
  2. ^ "Radcliffe Observatory Quarter (ROQ) | University of Oxford". Ox.ac.uk. Retrieved 2015-08-24. 
  3. ^ "SCI/TECH | Cyborg study draws fire". BBC News. 2002-03-22. Retrieved 2015-08-24. 
  4. ^ [1] Archived October 2, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ [2] Archived July 22, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ "Radcliffe Observatory Quarter (ROQ) | University of Oxford". Ox.ac.uk. Retrieved 2015-08-24. 

Further Reading[edit]

  • Gibson, Alexander (1926). The Radcliffe Infirmary. Oxford University Press. 
  • Moss, Andrew (2007). The Radcliffe Infirmary. History Press. ISBN 978-0752442488. 
  • Robb-Smith, A.H.T. (1970). A Short History of the Radcliffe Infirmary. Church Army Press/United Oxford Hospitals. ISBN 978-0950167404. 
  • Selby-Green, Jenny (1991). History of the Radcliffe Infirmary. Image Publications. ISBN 978-1873241059. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°45′37″N 1°15′43″W / 51.76028°N 1.26194°W / 51.76028; -1.26194