Blackburn Royal Infirmary, March 2011
The Infirmary officially opened its doors in 1864 with a patient capacity of 32 beds and staff to deal with a total of 516 admissions and out patients.
Over the next 10 years the number of patients being cared for rose to 1’768 inpatients and 6’121 outpatients.
In 1893 a Nurses Home was erected in the grounds. The Infirmary was further extended in 1897 when the Victoria Wing was built to commemorate the diamond jubilee of the Queen. The Mayor, Fred Baynes, laid the foundation stone for this building. This new wing contained, among other things, an Operating Theatre and Sterilising Room, Anaesthetic Room, Recovery Room, and a new ward on the first floor. Further extensions were made in 1908, which included space for 14 more beds, the total number of beds had now reached 130.
On the 21st of April 1914 by a decree of King George V, the word Royal was officially added to the title, it was, in future to be known as The Blackburn and East Lancashire Royal Infirmary.
In later years many alterations took place and the look of the Infirmary changed dramatically. However there was no more room for expansion and it was decided that the Infirmary would have to move from the site it had occupied for almost 150 years and a new super complex began to be built at Queens park on the site of the old workhouse. By July 2006 most of the services had moved to the new Hospital, which was to retain its Royal status and be known as The Royal Blackburn Hospital the building was officially opened on 8th July 2006.
The site of the Infirmary was sold to Barratt Homes, who got planning permission to build 253 homes on the site, at first it was thought that much of the old part of the Infirmary would be retained and turned into apartments but an Heritage Assessment deemed that the early buildings had been so much altered and built upon resulting in a loss of both external and internal detail that they do not warrant retention in any future development scheme.
It was decided that The War Memorial wing would be the only portion that would be retained.