Stepping back in time on the wards to mark 70 years of the health service

The first patient arrives at the Victoria Hospital on September 29th 1936.
The first patient arrives at the Victoria Hospital on September 29th 1936.
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As the NHS turns 70, we take a look back at some of the Fylde coast’s hospitals over the years.

Our wonderful archive pictures capture the every-day work and dedicated staff in the hospitals in the last century, as well as showing some of their landmark occasions and of course, some famous faces who have received treatment on their wards.

The old Victoria Hospital on Whitegate Drive, Blackpool, was opened on August 25, 1894. The first patient was a four-year-old holidaymaker from Oldham who had fallen off a hobby horse at Uncle Tom’s Cabin and broken her leg. The hospital was closed when the new one opened at Whinney Heys Road in 1936. Our archive picture shows the first patient being taken in to the new hospital, on September 29, 1936.

Our photos also show Wesham Hospital, on Derby Road, in 1934 – which started out life as a workhouse for the poor. When it first opened its doors, inmates had to scrub floors, break stones or chop wood before they were fed, and had to be destitute and homeless to go in.

It was built between 1903 and 1907 and opened in 1907. It was used as a military hospital in both the First and Second World Wars.

In 1948, it was taken over by the newly-formed National Health Service, and then started to develop as a hospital.

And Lytham Hospital (Lytham Cottage Hospital and Convalescent Home), opened in 1871, for the relief of the poor when suffering from sickness or accident – funded by Colonel John Talbot Clifton, Squire of Lytham.

Following transfer to the National Health Service in 1948, the hospital expanded in size and capacity to offer more services to the community. At the time of NHS transfer, the governors and trustees of the hospital formed a Hospital League of Friends, which continued to raise funds to support the work of the hospital.