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Hospital Histories

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Before the National Health Service was born in 1948, the healthcare of the majority of people was reliant on the generosity of the wealthier members of the community.

We have been working with local historian and Bury St Edmund tour guide, Terry O’Donoghue, to find out more and he’s come up with some interesting facts all the way back to Anglo Saxon times.

Here are just a few.

St Saviour’s, Fornham Road
Founded in late 1100s (possibly 1184).

Largest and best endowed of all the medieval hospitals. Founded by Abbot Samson who donated £12 per annum to the hospital 'for the good of his and the monks souls'.


Jankyn Smyth1481
Local businessman, Jankyn Smyth (right) died. He left a legacy to the Candlemas Guild, now known as the Guildhall Feoffment Trust, some of which was used to build the Suffolk General Hospital on Hospital Road in 1826.


Dr Poley Clopton set up Clopton's hospital, or asylum. This Georgian structure still stands in the Great Churchyard near St Edmundsbury Catherdral and above it's door is a plaque with the Clopton coat of arms. 


In order to use the hospital, subscriptions had to be paid. These were 2 guineas per annum and meant the person subscribing could recommend one inpatient and two outpatients per calendar year. 


Mr Mrs Washington Charters, Horringer Manor
After visiting hospitals in the north of England, Mr Washing Charters, of Horringer Manor,(pictured above) offered to pay for balconies to be fitted to the Suffolk General Hospital.


These balconies were used to treat patients with tuberculosis as fresh air was deemed imperative in their recovery.  

WSH 1973

 A new hospital was planned on land left to the State from the Cullum family. Bury St Edmunds was selected as one of two new type hospitals by the Ministry of Health.


If you have enjoyed these snippets of history do click here for the full tale of Hospital Histories.


Many thanks to Terry for sharing his work with us. It has been fascinating to read. 

To read the full story click here.





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