Webpage created: August 28, 2018
Webpage updated: February 02, 2022
Originally opened in 1858 as the Plymouth Workhouse, it was enlarged several times and eventually became the Greenbank Infirmary in 1909. Upon the workhouse system ceasing in 1930 it became the City Hospital. This was completely separate to The Prince of Wales's Hospital.
A new Nurses' Home was officially opened by Sir Edward Campbell MP, Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Minister of Health, at the City Hospital on Saturday November 7th 1936. The Lord Mayor of Plymouth, Mr H M Medland, unveiled a commemorative plaque. The building was built by Messrs Wakeham Brothers Limited and cost a total of £31,000 to construct and equip.
In November 1936 a five-year plan was put forward for the reconstruction of part of the City Hospital. Children's wards 12 and 13 were to be demolished, along with the nurses' extension, which also contained the X-ray department and the dispensary, wards 14 and 15, which included the infirmary and male medical quarters, ward 16, and the nursery for under 3-years-olds. The Public Assistance Offices were also to be demolished. Wards 1 to 8 and 10 and 11 were to be retained as well as the brand new Nurses Home, which would in future be for Sisters only. Once reconstructed the Hospital would have about 570 beds.
As from Sunday August 18th 1940 the visiting hours at the City Hospital were: to wards 1 to 8 inclusive, Tuesdays only, between 5.30 and 6.30pm; to ward 14 and the maternity and children's wards, Sundays only, between 2.30 and 3.30pm; to wards 15 and 16, Fridays only, between 5.30 and 6.30pm. Only one visitor was allowed per patient in the Hospital at any one time.
Being a rather distinctive building on the brow of a hill, it became an easy target for the air raids of the Second World War. Wards 6 and 7 were totally wrecked on the night of January 13th 1941, with the loss of 60 bed spaces. One 12-year-old girl was killed and five women were injured. Worse was to come during the night of March 20th, the beginning of the Plymouth Blitz. The brand new maternity block, built by Mr A N Coles and which had only been opened by Lord Astor, the Lord Mayor, on Saturday February 1st, received a direct hit, killing four nurses, nineteen babies and one mother.
After that the expectant mothers were sent to Flete House in the Parish of Holbeton, Devon.
In 1951 the City Hospital was combined with The Prince of Wales's Hospital to form the South Devon and East Cornwall General Hospital Group, of which the Secretary and Chief Administrator was Mr Arthur E Cash FHA, at 7 Nelson Gardens, Stoke, Plymouth. Within this Group it became known as Freedom Fields Hospital.