Birmingham Children’s Hospital started life in the heart of Birmingham, opening in January 1862 in the former Eye Infirmary in Steelhouse Lane.
Thomas Heslop, 19th century physician and reformer, founded the Birmingham and Midland Free Hospital for Sick Children because he was convinced that children could not be treated adequately in adult general hospitals.
In 1869, financed by charitable donations, BCH transferred to a former lying-in hospital in Broad Street. Nearly fifty years later, in 1913, the foundation stone of a purpose-built hospital in Ladywood was laid, funded by a Public Appeal. The Children’s Hospital Brick League was inaugurated. For every guinea from a child, the donor’s initials were carved on a brick.
The new Hospital opened in 1917. Led by Leonard Parsons, England’s first Professor in the Diseases of Childhood, the Hospital was established as a leading centre for paediatric medicine. When the NHS started in 1948, the Hospital became part of Birmingham United Hospitals Teaching Group. By the 1990’s, to remain at the forefront of paediatric healthcare, a larger home was needed.
In 1998, more than 130 years after it began, the Children’s Hospital returned to Steelhouse Lane, moving into the century-old former Birmingham General Hospital. Less than one hour after opening, the first emergency patient was admitted. Birmingham Children’s Hospital is a Centre of Excellence and has been awarded Foundation Trust status.
It is easy to see why Birmingham Children’s Hospital is such a focal point in the community. It has touched the lives of numerous families and deserves its outstanding international reputation. Our aim now is to ensure that the future of the Hospital reflects and enhances its past successes.