Our History Northampton is one of the oldest towns in the country and the first hospital, St. John’s in Bridge Street, was founded in 1138. This establishment cared for the poor and needy, but was more of a hostel and almshouse than a hospital as we know them today.
In 1743 Dr James Stonhouse came to town and in partnership with the Reverend Philip Doddridge founded the first infirmary in George Row. The first annual report in 1744 stated, “Here are now admitted the Poor, Sick, Lame and no money, gift or reward is taken of them or their friends on any account whatever.” This infirmary was one of the first six voluntary hospitals established in England.
By 1790 it was obvious to Dr William Kerr that a new hospital was required and by 1793 a new infirmary had been built in Northampton Fields on the edge of town. That original hospital has now developed over a 44 acre site and employs 4,000 staff.
The medical library was founded in 1790 with 33 books and today that collection now has around 2,500 books and journals. We do not hold any patient or staff records, for confidentiality reasons, in the archive.
History does not stand still and we are regularly given items to add to this hospital’s long history in the form of books, photographs, letters and medical artefacts.
St Johns Hospital
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