30th April 1888

Finishing touches put to new hospital

With one day to go until its official opening, staff were making sure everything was ready for the Victoria College Hospital, on Candie Road, to welcome its first patients. It was declared operational the following day – 1 May – by the Bailiff, Sir Edgar MacCulloch.

As its name might suggest, the hospital was much smaller than the then General Hospital, having just five beds accommodated in a rented house. The men’s ward, on the ground floor, had two beds, which had been named Willie and Bankipore after the people in whose memory they had been given, according to a report in The Star of 28 April 1888. The women’s ward, upstairs, had beds named The Dobree, Lady Carey and Indiana, as well as a cot.

A hospital for the needy

The hospital had been set up to cater for those who could not afford to meet the costs of their own treatment and, said The Star, “admittance is obtained by a certificate, signed by a Doctor and counter-signed by an annual subscriber or donor – who shall guarantee for the patient’s weekly payment, which we are informed are only 3s or 4s per week for the labouring classes.”

The hospital grew quickly, and it moved to new premises in 1891. At the outbreak of the First World War, by which point it had more than two dozen beds, it dropped the word ‘Cottage’ from its name. Victoria Hospital closed at the start of the Occupation, and, following liberation it was decided not to reopen the facility. Its buildings were sold to the States of Guernsey and the proceeds used to establish a charitable fund that would continue to provide financial assistance to patients unable to meet their own medical expenses.

Guernsey’s main hospital is now the Princess Elizabeth Hospital, which was opened by its namesake, later to become Queen Elizabeth II, when she visited the Channel Islands in 1949. The private ward at the Princess Elizabeth Hospital is called the Victoria Wing.


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Other events that occured in April