Hospital for Incurables

  • Reference
      GB 133 MMC/9/14
  • Former Reference
      GB 133 J b 10
  • Dates of Creation
      1872-1934
  • Physical Description
      9 items

Scope and Content

Note: the Medical Collection does not include any official records of this hospital.

The collection includes annual reports (incomplete) and a newspaper cutting relating to the Hospital.

Administrative / Biographical History

In 1872 a hospital for incurables was opened in Ardwick Green. The establishment of this Hospital may have been connected to the Manchester Chronic Diseases Hospital (MMC/9/57) established in Hyde Road, Ardwick Green in 1871; the same individuals sat on both committees and the original objectives of the Hospitals were similar. The full title of the Hospital was the Northern Counties Supplementary Hospital for Chronic and Incurable Diseases, but was known as the Northern Counties Hospital for Incurables. Like other such projects, there was much local controversy surrounding this opening. The hospital aimed to give permanent relief 'to such persons as are hopelessly disqualified for the duties of life by disease, accident or deformity'. The hospital would not take patients who would be taken elsewhere, for example lunatics, blind people or paupers. As its name suggests, the hospital was a regional charity, aimed at all the Northern Counties. However, as the only other hospital of its type was in London, the Northern Counties Hospital took patients from all over England. The charity was supported from the very beginning by an active Ladies' Committee, and also had close links with local churches. Within the first year, three adjoining houses at Ardwick Green had been opened. Like most voluntary hospitals, the Hospital for Incurables worked within a subscription and recommendation system. When the dispensary opened, no recommendations were necessary for out-patients. In-patients on the other hand, needed to be recommended and then stand for election to be admitted. By 1903, patients who could pay for themselves were admitted without election. The first six in-patients were women; by 1875 there were fifty beds and women tended to make up a large proportion of the in-patients. Patients who were admitted suffered from a variety of maladies, including paralysis, rheumatism, sciatica and 'deformity'. The Annual Report for 1876 shows a class discrimination which was not evident in the first reports. Subscribers are reminded that 'mere poverty is no recommendation for admission. The Home was established for those who had held respectable positions in life, and who could share the comforts which your bounty had provided without being constantly associated with those of a much lower class socially than themselves'. This resulted in a large number of applicants being turned away from the charity.

In the 1880s, the Northern Counties Hospital for Incurables established two homes, designed to be 'real homes' for the patients. The Mauldeth Home near Stockport was founded in 1882 for male in-patients and the Robinson Kay Home at Walmersley House near Bury in 1886 for females. By 1903, the Annual Reports define the two objects of the hospital, namely to give medical advice and treatment to out-patients at the Dispensary at Ardwick and to give in-patients a 'home for life'. Both of the homes for in-patients were large grand houses far from the city centre, and the in-patients were people who had 'led respectable and honourable lives'. By 1905 there were 125 beds in these homes. The Hospital also provided pensions for out-patients; like the in-patients these were decided by recommendation and election. The original hospital in Ancoats, which had probably served as the Dispensary in later years, was by 1934 no longer in existence. With the advent of the NHS, the Mauldeth Home became a home for the physically handicapped and the Robinson Kay Home became a geriatric hospital. Both closed in 1990.