Monsall Hospital

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 133 MMC/9/46
  • Former Reference
      GB 133 J b 44
  • Dates of Creation
  • Physical Description
      13 items

Administrative / Biographical History

After the closure of the House of Recovery in 1852, Manchester Infirmary was forced to use special wards within the Infirmary. These proved insufficient and in 1868 a campaign was begun to increase hospital accommodation for infectious diseases. This campaign was led by John Leigh, the first MOH for Manchester. While the number of beds at the Infirmary and Manchester and Withington workhouses had appeared sufficient, this was because many people, especially children, were not admitted to hospitals. During an epidemic of scarlet fever in 1869, Leigh ensured that all infectious cases were admitted to the Workhouse Hospital or the Infirmary; this confirmed the need for more beds and MRI recognised the need for a new fever hospital. The Infirmary was given £9,000 by Robert Barnes to purchase an estate in Monsall. A cottage on the site was immediately adapted for use as a small-pox hospital, with 96 beds. The Barnes House of Recovery and Convalescent Home for Fever Patients (not Barnes Convalescent Hospital) opened in 1871, managed by the Board of the MRI. In addition to the fever patients of the MRI, Manchester Corporation also sent patients. Manchester Corporation paid for most of the cases admitted to the Hospital, but did not charge patients as payments to hospitals came out of rates. The House of Recovery also accepted paupers, paid for by the Manchester Guardians. However, the presence of paupers had to be concealed from the other patients and the public.

When the Public Health Act of 1875 permitted local authorities to build hospitals, Manchester Corporation rented some land next to the Barnes House of Recovery for smallpox and cholera wards. These were supervised by the staff of the House of Recovery, and this may have been when the name was changed to Barnes Fever Hospital. With additional building by MRI, the number of beds at the hospital had increased to 350 by the 1890s. In 1896 the Hospital was taken over by the Sanitary Committee of the Manchester Corporation, ending the management by MRI. The Hospital was renamed Monsall Fever Hospital. By the early 20th century, there were isolation wards and separate accommodation for different infectious diseases. The Hospital also had a laboratory and operating theatre, convalescent wards and activities for recovering patients. About 80% of patients admitted were under the age of 15. There was a growing emphasis on surgical cleanliness and investigation of patients, resulting in anti-bacterial treatment. This illustrates a move towards curative attitude to infectious diseases rather than just isolation. This development was reflected in a new change of name, to Monsall Hospital for Infectious Diseases, although it was also known as Monsall Isolation Hospital. The name changed yet again in the mid-1960s to Monsall Hospital. Monsall Hospital closed in 1993.

Related Material

The MMC does not include official records of the Hospital. The Hospital's archives are held by Manchester Archives and Local Studies, Central Library, St Peter's Square, Manchester (M297).