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Our History

Greater Manchester and the North West has long-since been renowned for its commitment and high standard of medical care for children. When the new Royal Manchester Children's Hospital (RMCH) opened, we bid a fond farewell to Booth Hall Hospital, and the old RMCH at Pendlebury. Both hospitals have fascinating and inspiring stories, and have played a fundamental role in healthcare in Manchester during the last two centuries.

Booth Hall Hospital

1581 was a significant year for the city because not only was it the year that Humphrey Booth was born, but with it a caring nature that has passed through generations which has turned Booth Hall Hospital into one of the most talked about children's hospitals in the country. In fact the inscription on Booth's headstone that reads 'love his memory, imitate his devotion' perfectly sums up the Hospital's continued devotion to patient care.

Booth bought a piece of land in Blackley before 1907, when the building was demolished to make way for the new Hospital. The infirmary opened in 1908. Costing £70,000 to build from the remains of Booth's house, it occupied a 34 acre site, and was built in a two-storied pavilion style. By February 1909, 151 patients had been moved from the Work House to the Infirmary and by March that year, there were more than 30 staff. Influenced by Booth's reason for helping the destitute after the devastating effects of the plague, Booth Hall cared for those who were poor, but sick until 1914 when wounded soldiers from World War I were admitted.

On the day after World War II broke out, all patients were removed from Booth Hall. Those who were well enough were sent home and the rest to other hospitals or convalescence homes in the North West. The empty hospital was made ready for the casualties of expected air raids, and a decontamination unit was even installed for the victims of gas attacks. However, the anticipated conflict never materialised and within six months the Hospital reverted back to caring for sick children. At that time, it had 525 beds, 227 of which were occupied. In the first three weeks of June that year there were 1,092 out-patient attendances and 143 operations carried out.

When the NHS was born in 1948, Booth Hall, Monsall and the Duchess of York Hospital were grouped under Manchester babies and Children's Hospital Management Committee, and he Hospital was incorporated into the NHS. From the vision of one man in 1907, the hospital has grown, yet its principles have remained constant throughout. This approach and dedication to caring for the children of the North West, and the UK as a whole, continued with the opening of the new Royal Manchester Children's Hospital in 2009.

Royal Manchester Children's Hospital, Pendlebury

The hospital at Pendlebury was the first in the UK to treat only children when it opened in 1829. It began as a small dispensary at 25 Back King Street in Central Manchester, and from the time of its inception to the mid 20th century, its size grew ten-fold. By 1852, the hospital was receiving so many patients, it was necessary to amass donations to move to a larger building, enabling the Royal at Pendlebury to care for at least 7,000 patients a year.

In the first century after opening, the hospital at Pendlebury treated in excess of 80,000 patients. Locating the dispensary onsite allowed hospital staff to give patients quick access to the medical care they needed, and prevented the onset of disease by distributing information on hygiene and health.

Through its commitment to stalling the onset of disease, Pendlebury became recognised in 1924 as the leading institute for nursing training- trainee nurses all had to gain certification attained only by being taught at the facility at Pendlebury.

The hospital continued to thrive after the birth of the NHS, expanding to host over 250 beds, adding teaching units and theatres to the building. The hospital has maintained its commitment to caring for the local and wider community, and it is this ethos which drives Royal Manchester Children's Hospital.