St. Gerard's Hospital & The Old Wards
St. Gerard’s Hospital
St. Gerard’s Hospital (first photograph only) was built as a hospital originally serving the recently established Boys’ Home and all poor Catholic children in the Birmingham Diocese, after it became clear that many of the children in the home were also in poor health due to their backgrounds.
Designed by Henry Sandy, it opened in 1913. The Hospital was used in the First World War as a VAD hospital for wounded soldiers; after the war it specialised in TB and orthopaedic services and eventually became established as the Warwickshire Orthopaedic Hospital, finally closing in 1998.
Photographing internals was not possible due to its recent use as offices for the Society.
The Old Wards
The Old Wards complex to the east of the main hospital complex was built shortly after the rest of the hospital as an open air ward. It was clearly influenced by the ‘fresh air’ movement then current in hospital design, pioneered by medical people like Dr. Robert Jones .
The Old Wards complex is all single storey and consists of a main ward section with a service wing which contained the sanitary facilities for the wards and the nursing stations – as well as, presumably, additional private areas for patients. This range is of some interest as a surviving example of an early-20th century open air ward but is otherwise very plain. The patients would have spent much of their time outside the main wards – their beds being wheeled through the double doors onto the veranda. Even if the beds were kept within the building, the idea was that the doorways were generally left open. Obviously, this would rely on the weather. The central section between the two wards may have been the nurses’ station with possible communal facilities for the patients as well.
It has been suggested that the side elevation was made of wood in order for it to be burnt down in the event of a TB epidemic, however no official record of this fact can be found.
Both the main building along with the Old wards are also recommended for demolition.