Frenchay Hospital

Frenchay Hospital was a hospital in the village of Frenchay, north-east of Bristol, England. The hospital was founded in 1921 and closed in 2014.

The hospital was established in the grounds of Frenchay Park, a Georgian mansion purchased by the Bristol Corporation in July 1921. With the support of the Ministry of Health, the Corporation transformed the mansion into a sanatorium and orthopaedic hospital for children with tuberculosis. The site had space for 35 beds, and children received a combination of treatments including rest, fresh air, improved diet, and sunlight therapy. In 1931, with growing patient numbers, the sanatorium was expanded beyond the mansion with the building of purpose-built wards and accommodation.

Anticipating the imminent outbreak of war in the late 1930s, the Corporation began planning for the provision of hospital beds for air raid casualties. In 1938, plans were drawn up to construct an Emergency Medical Service hospital on the Frenchay site. New wards and facilities were completed in early 1942 but remained empty for several years. The site was then handed over to American Medical Units as a station hospital and training centre and began receiving casualties following the D-Day landings in June 1944. American units expanded and reorganised the hospital site, creating specialist sections for neurosurgery, orthopaedics, and plastic surgery among others.

After the war, responsibility for the hospital was handed over to the Bristol Health Committee on behalf of the Ministry of Health, and plans were put forward to transform the site into a civilian general hospital under the newly created National Health Service (NHS). Tuberculosis patients were transferred to other sites in 1947. In the late 1940s, it was agreed to build a permanent neurosurgical theatre on the site in an attempt to establish the hospital as a leading site of neurosurgical expertise. The Neurosurgical Unit was opened in 1953. In the subsequent post-war decades, the hospital’s other wartime facilities underwent a slow and uneven process of modernisation.

In 2004, the reorganisation of NHS services in Bristol into two major centres brought the future of the hospital into question. With an extensive redevelopment of the Bristol Royal Infirmary already underway, it was decided that services at either the Frenchay or Southmead Hospitals would need to be relocated. In 2005, it was determined that Southmead would become the major hospital site, and the Frenchay would be redeveloped into a smaller, community hospital. However, these plans were delayed in 2012, before being cancelled entirely in 2014, despite community campaigning. In 2014, services were progressively transferred to the Southmead Hospital and Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, with only brain injury services remaining onsite. In 2016, the Frenchay site was sold to a housing developer.