A perfect change over day when patients moved to Blackpool Victoria Hospital's new Whinney Heys site

It’s 85 years this month since Blackpool Victoria Hospital opened on its Whinney Heys site. We look back at how the special occasion was reported in 1936...

Tuesday, 14th September 2021, 3:45 pm
Updated Wednesday, 15th September 2021, 9:38 am
The first patient arrives at Victoria Hospital on September 29 1936
The first patient arrives at Victoria Hospital on September 29 1936

Doctors, nurses and 57 patients entered into the possession of Blackpool’s new £165,000 hospital on the uplands of Whinney Heys.

“The transfer from the buildings in Whitegate Drive, which have been in commission for 42 years, was completed in less than 10 hours.

“It was the most remarkable transfer in the history of the town and there was no hitch of any kind. Every move conformed to the strict timetable which had been compiled. The work went on from dawn onwards.

The old Victoria Hospital on Whitegate Drive which opened in August 1894

“Shortly after six o’clock, as dawn broke, a fleet of motor vans passed through the almost deserted streets of the town and entered the semi-circular drive leading to one of the side entrances of the hospital in Whitegate Drive.

“So early in the day there was movement in the corridors of the building.

“Several of the rooms were already at that time emptied of furniture for the vans had been calling for nearly a week. Five and a half hours later, at noon, the building which has been Blackpool’s hospital since 1894 was tenanted only by 57 patients and their attendants and except for the wards, was a building of bare, echoing rooms.

“An undisturbed peace attended the transfer from the time that the contingent of vans reached the doors. Meanwhile, out on the high plateau on the borders of Stanley Park, the new hospital had been completely equipped for the reception of patients and staff. The beds in the sunshine wards - whose tall high windows framed views of Stanley Park in the autumn sunshine - were warmed.

The new children's ward

“On the tables were flower vases. The children entered rooms where the walls are patterned with nursery rhyme frescoes, whose beds had on them quilts figured with cats and dogs and horses. There are 182 beds in 10 wards and 18 private rooms at Whinney Heys. At Whitegate Drive there were 132 beds in four wards. The bed of patients Mrs Hargreaves was wheeled out into the sunshine on the veranda and as the panorama of the Park unfolded, the she could not conceal her joy. ‘But this is glorious,’ she said.”