16 March 2012
Last updated at 15:29
Birmingham Children’s Hospital is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. It is one of four specialist children’s hospitals in England - the others being Great Ormond Street in London, Alder Hey in Liverpool and Sheffield Children's Hospital.
The hospital started life in the heart of Birmingham, opening in 1862 as the Birmingham and Midland Free Hospital for Sick Children. It was based in the former Eye Infirmary in Steelhouse Lane and in the first month, just two children were admitted.
Physician and reformer Thomas Heslop (1823-1885) founded the hospital because he was convinced children could not be treated adequately in adult general hospitals.
The beer allowance for nurses was abolished in its first year. Water supplies before the mid-19th Century were notoriously unreliable and workers would often be allowed a beer ration because it was safer than the local water. A Nurses Training Institution was opened in 1869 and in 1884, the first nurses' home opened.
The construction of an isolation block was completed in Broad Street in 1877. The block consisted of two six-bed scarlet fever wards and a four-bed diphtheria ward.
By 1908 the children's hospital had outgrown its premises so the governors resolved to build a completely new hospital. However World War I frustrated plans for the new building at Ladywood.
In 1913 a Children’s Hospital Brick League was set up to help fund the new building. Any child who gave one guinea could have their initials cut into a brick, and attend a brick-laying ceremony for it at the hospital.
The hospital moved to this purpose-built site at Ladywood in 1917. But more than 80 years later, it moved back to its original location in Steelhouse Lane. The Ladywood site became a bowling and cinema complex.
More than 130 years after it left Steelhouse Lane, the hospital returned to the site of its first home to what had been the General Hospital's buildings. The new hospital treats nearly 250,000 children a year from all over the UK.
There was a party atmosphere to celebrate the hospital's 150th anniversary with festivities that included face-painting and dancing. There was also an all-day Alice in Wonderland children’s tea party. A giant cake by Fiona Cairns, who was responsible for the Royal Wedding cake, was baked for the event.