IN 1952, the year of the Queen’s coronation, the health service in Sheffield was unrecognisable compared to today’s juggernaut system.
Sixty years ago the new National Health Service was just four years old - and Aneurin Bevan’s dream of free universal care was starting to take shape.
Whereas, previously, patients had to find money for a visit to a doctor, or hoped for a place in one of the voluntary hospitals built in the 18th and 19th centuries, the NHS meant they had automatic access to healthcare, free at the point of use.
The NHS in Sheffield had taken over the old voluntary general hospitals, which had been built by donations, subscriptions and charitable fundraising.
These included the Royal Infirmary on Infirmary Road and the Royal Hospital on West Street.
There was also the Jessop Hospital, now home to Sheffield University’s music department; Middlewood mental hospital, which in 1952 housed more than 1,000 inmates; Lodge Moor infectious diseases hospital, now the Westminster estate; Winter Street geriatric unit, now the university’s law faculty.
There was also a large hospital at Nether Edge and of course Sheffield Children’s Hospital, which remains on its Western Bank site today.
The only other hospital which is still in use today was the Northern General Hospital - but in 1952 many people were reluctant to go there, its reputation as a workhouse surviving its original use.
Today the city has six NHS hospitals - the surviving Northern General and Sheffield Children’s Hospital, and the new Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Weston Park cancer unit, Charles Clifford dental, and the Jessop wing maternity unit, which is on a different site to the original Jessop Hospital.