Frenchay Hospital was a former A&E hospital in North Bristol that closed in May of this year after the creation of the new ‘Super Hospital’ at Southmead. During the construction of Southmead’s new ‘Brunel Building’ it was the main A&E hospital for the North Bristol Health Trust.
The hospital, situated in the grounds of a Georgian mansion, Frenchay Park, started life as a TB hospital (Frenchay Park Sanatorium) in 1921, when Bristol Corporation acquired the land. In 1931, five purpose-built buildings were constructed to extend the hospital beyond the original house. Until the closure of the main hospital the mansion was still used as the NBHT headquarters.
Concerns about the possibility of heavy bombing casualties led to the hospital being greatly expanded between 1938 and early 1942. Although Bristol was severely bombed, the new facilities remained unused.
When US forces arrived in 1942, the city handed the new hospital facilities over to the Americans, as a sort of reverse Lend-Lease. The initial units of the Medical Corps were the 2nd and 77th Evacuation Hospitals and the 152nd Station Hospital. Further expansion to the facilities including 27 wards, occurred in late 1942 and it was occupied by the 298th General Hospital. Initially, the Americans used the hospital mainly as training facility for their medical staff. After D-Day, however, the hospital was used in earnest, the processing of casualties becoming a very slick operation under the control of the 100th and then 117th General Hospitals. Casualties were flown into Filton or arrived by train from the channel ports. Between 5 August and 31 December 1944 a total of 4,954 patients were discharged from Frenchay.
Although the Frenchay Tuberculosis hospital operated as a separate unit throughout the war, the patients were transferred elsewhere in 1947.
New and World War II buildings in 2009
After World War II, the Americans handed the hospital back to the Corporation. The National Health Service acquired the hospital in 1948.
Some minor services remain on site but the majority will close by the year end. The site is earmarked for a residential development but with the prospect of a new 60 bed community hospital being built as well.