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Thursday, 14 February, 2002, 00:11 GMT
History of Great Ormond Street
Children queuing up for outpatients
Children queuing up for outpatients
Great Ormond Street Hospital - the first ever children's hospital in the UK - opened its doors 150 years ago with just 10 beds.

It was the brainchild of Dr Charles West, who worked in a London dispensary, who decided a specialist children's hospital was needed.

Two-year-old George Parr was the first child to be admitted. He was suffering from catarrh and diarrhoea - serious conditions for children at the time.

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150 years of Great Ormond Street

Although the hospital plan was backed by such social luminaries as Charles Dickens and Lady Byron, many felt the causes of death and disease, such as the extreme poverty, should be addressed instead.

The hospital was hit during a WWII bombing raid
The hospital was hit during a WWII bombing raid
Dr West also wrote a book called 'How to Nurse Sick Children' in 1854, five years before Florence Nightingale published her 'Notes on Nursing'.

The first purpose-built hospital building, designed by Edward Barry, was completed in 1875, and three years later, the Charles West School of Nursing was founded followed 20 years later by the Great Ormond Street Hospital Medical School.

In 1929 J M Barrie, the author of Peter Pan, donated the rights of the play to the hospital, which has brought in huge amounts of money to Great Ormond Street ever since.


In the early 1930s, Great Ormond Street was presented with an iron lung.

This was a state-of-the-art respirator for children suffering from infant paralysis.

If parents wanted to bring their children to the outpatients department of Great Ormond Street in the 1930s, they were seen on a first-come, first-served basis.

The iron lung treatment was used in the 1930s
The iron lung treatment was used in the 1930s
They had to queue outside before the Hall Porter opened the doors at 0830.

In1938, the Southwood Building opened, increasing the capacity of the hospital. Most wards were transferred to the new building

The hospital was damaged during a 1940 bombing raid but nobody was hurt.

Research centre

In 1946, the Institute of Child Health (ICH) was founded.

For over 50 years, the ICH has been an international centre for research into childhood diseases.

Care today is provided by a wide range of health professionals
Care today is provided by a wide range of health professionals
In 1987, the hospital launched its Wishing Well Appeal, under the joint patronage of the Prince and Princess of Wales.

The aim of the appeal was to raise money for a new hospital building to replace the out-dated Victorian building.

The fund resulted in the Variety Club Building, which opened seven years later.

Last year, Great Ormond Street saw the opening of its gene therapy laboratory, and clinical trials of gene therapy began at the hospital.

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