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A short history

With thanks to Congleton Chronicle for all images and information

The idea of a Congleton War Memorial Hospital came about because townsfolk wanted to build a lasting tribute to the fallen of World War One. A meeting was held on 15th December 1918 to discuss how Congleton could remember the men and women who had fallen in the war. It was proposed that a new hospital should be built to replace the existing 10-bedded Cottage Hospital situated on Park Street.

It had been established in the 1870s and had no room for further expansion. A new larger hospital would be a fitting memorial to those who had served the Colours in the Great War.

A sum of £11,000 would be required which roughly equalled £1 per head of population. Very shortly after the motion was made public, a Mr. Henry Goodwin, a Manchester fruit importer who originally hailed from Congleton, made a donation of £1,000, provided it was used to build a new hospital.

By early 1919, £3,000 had been collected, and an endowment of £4,000 to the Cottage Hospital was promised to the new hospital. It was proposed that the new hospital should have 25 beds and three wards, for males, females and children.

A public meeting was held in Congleton Town Hall in the week commencing 6th December 1920 to discuss worker subscriptions, and a scheme whereby each adult worker would contribute 10/- per annum and juniors 5/- was agreed.

In November 1920, donations had reached £7,200 and the present site on Canal Road, Congleton, was purchased. Mr J. H. Walters was commissioned to design the new hospital and he published his proposals on July 30th 1921 with a view to commencing building in 1922.

Thanks to further donations from a range of other methods, a total of £14,000 was raised which provided enough to build the hospital. Foundation stones were laid in August 1923.

Following the design of Mr. J H. Walters, the new hospital was built in 12 months by J. Taylor & Sons of Basford. The first matron, Miss P. S. Anderson, transferred from the Cottage Hospital. Other staff included one sister, one nurse, two probationers and one ex-serviceman Porter.

It was officially opened at 2.30 p.m. on Thursday 22nd May 1924 by H.R.H. the Duke of York. There was to follow in the evening a Grand Ball in the town hall organised by the Eaton Lodge of Freemasons at a guinea per ticket. However the Lodge cancelled the event but a dance was held organised by Mr & Mrs Warrington at 5/- a head.

On the opening of the hospital, the Duke said: "I am very pleased to open the Congleton War Memorial Hospital today. You have every right to be proud of the fruits of your labour. This building will always be a reminder to the generations to come of the provident and generous instincts of you and the townspeople of Congleton.

"And it is my earnest hope that it may be regarded by those who follow in your footsteps as an inspiration to them to profit by your example by directing their energies to other equally valuable projects for the advancement and well being of your fellow men. Thank you for the welcome on my first visit to this town. I wish the Congleton War Memorial Hospital every success."

Major extensions and renovations were opened in August 1954, including an x-ray department, physiotherapy department and a pathology laboratory. Further additions to the hospital occurred in 1965 when a maternity department was opened.

More recent extensions were an impressively equipped physiotherapy department, together with a ward for elderly sick patients built in 1981. In 1984 a new out-patients' department was added while most recently the x-ray department was refurbished and re-equipped in 1990.

Today, despite being a small hospital, it continues to provide key services to the community. As well as providing a wide range of local healthcare outpatient services to the residents of Congleton and surrounding areas, it has a specialist inpatient intermediate care unit. This helps people who no longer need the more acute wards of Macclesfield District General Hospital and can recover in a homely and relaxed environment.

A new Community Diagnositics Centre is also due to be built on the hospital site following the exciting news in 2023 that East Cheshire NHS Trust recieved significant funding to provide a 'one stop shop’ offering patients with NHS diagnostic tests, scans and checks closer to home.