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Our history

Our hospitals have a rich history of breaking the barriers of modern medicine and providing compassionate care for our community.

The old Addenbrooke's site based on Trumpington Street, Cambridge
The old Addenbrooke's Hospital site based on Trumpington Street, Cambridge

Our hospitals' story

1719 John Addenbrooke died and left £4,500 to found a voluntary hospital in Cambridge.

1766 Addenbrooke’s Hospital opened 13 October on Trumpington Street, with 20 beds. During the first week, 11 patients were treated. Ann Perry was the first matron. The first three physicians were Plumptre, Glynn and Collignon. The first three surgeons were Hayles, Hopkins and Thackeray Lefebvre.
1838 Cambridge Union Workhouse built on Mill Road (later a general hospital, became Mill Road Maternity Hospital in 1948).

1839-84 George Paget (1809-92): Physician to Addenbrooke’s Hospital.

1842-94 George Humphry (1820-96): Surgeon to Addenbrooke’s Hospital (Paget and Humphry were instrumental in the nineteenth rise of the Cambridge Medical School).

1842  Paget initiated clinical examinations in the final MB. A few years earlier (by 1839) AH appears to have become a recognised School of Medicine. Clinical lectures were being delivered in the Board Room. Relations between University and Hospital were informal and dealt with almost solely by the medical staff.

1846 First general anaesthetic at Addenbrooke’s, two weeks after in was first used in the  USA (performed by George M Humphry).

1864-65 The hospital was enlarged and largely reconstructed, from designs drawn up by George Humphry and the architect Sir Matthew Digby Wyatt (1820-87, architect of Paddington Station in London).

1876 – 82 Alice Fisher (Nightingale nurse) – Matron of Addenbrooke’s Hospital started nurse training in Addenbrooke’s.

1877  First ‘probationers’, or student nurses, enter Addenbrooke’s.

1899 Hunstanton House of Recovery opened as a convalescent Home for Addenbrooke’s patients.

1905 The hospital stared to pay Nurse Probationers

1909 Radiotherapy begins at Addenbrooke’s.

1918 First woman medical student at Addenbrooke’s Hospital

1919 Cambridge University established Diploma in Medical Radiology and
Electrology, first of its kind in Britain.

1931  Mrs Douty, widow of former surgeon, funded Douty X-Ray clinic.

1932 New block of children’s and paying wards opened1935 Preliminary Training School for Nurses opened.

1948  Mill Road Maternity Hospital opened. Chesterton Hospital became a geriatric hospital. NHS: The United Cambridge Hospitals were to be administrated by a Board of Governors accountable to the Minister of Health. Addenbrooke’s became a Designated Teaching Hospital. The Board of Governors of the United Cambridge Hospitals responsible for Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Mill Road Maternity Hospital, Brookfields Hospital Mill Road,  Chesterton Hospital, and The Home of Recovery Hunstanton.   

1951 Hills Road site purchased for £4,350.

1959 New Addenbrooke’s Hospital landscaping started.

1962 Stage I opened by the Queen on 28 May.

1966  Medical Sciences Tripos introduced in 1966. First kidney transplant in Cambridge at The Douglas House Renal Unit.

1968 Prof Roy Calne first liver transplant. 

1972  Formal completion of Stage II of Addenbrooke's new site.

1974  March– end of Board of Governors of United Cambridge Hospitals.

1975  First Open Heart Surgery at Addenbrooke's (not the world).

1976 First students admitted to Clinical School.

1981  Addenbrooke’s first whole body scanner opened by Prince of Wales 8 Jul.

1982 Cambridge Health Authority formed.

1983 The Rosie Maternity Unit opened in October.

1984  Last patient moved from old Addenbrooke’s Hospital (October).

1988 (25 Feb) CHA and British Airport Services Ltd signed partnership deal. Official opening by Kenneth Clarke in Feb 1989.

1992  Addenbrooke's NHS Trust formed.

1995 MRC Cambridge Centre for Brain repair opened by Duke of Edinburgh (14 June).

1997 Sanctuary Housing to refurbish and manage residences Deal signed to give a £12m facelift to doctors and nurses accommodation (May).

2004 Addenbrooke's Hospital becomes a Foundation Hospital as is known as- Addenbrooke’s Hospital Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

2005 New Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) (May). New birth unit officially opens at the Rosie Hospital (20 Jun) New nursery officially opens at Addenbrooke's by Dr Mary Archer.

2006 Emergency Assessment Unit opens (18 Apr). Officially opened by Prof Sir George Alberti on 29 Jun. 100th kidney transplant is a first for Addenbrooke's. Over 100 kidney transplants in a year (10 Nov).

2007 The Queen opened the new Cancer Research UK Cambridge Research Institute Centre (2 Feb).Opening of Addenbrooke’s Treatment Centre (ATC) (November) housing research and clinical facilities for genetics and diabetes, plus theatres and wards for short-stay and emergency surgery plus endoscopy and sterile services facilities.

2008: Opening of the Institute of Metabolic Science (24 July 2008) by Dr Joseph L. Goldstein. The IMS is a joint venture between the University of Cambridge (opens in a new tab), The Medical Research Council (opens in a new tab) (MRC), Cambridge University NHS Hospitals Trust and Wellcome (opens in a new tab).

2010: Opening of the Gresham Wing in the Histopathology Department (26 February 2010) by crime writer P.D. James. Opening of the renovated Child Development Centre (4 June 2010) by Dr Mary Archer: Chairman, Cambridge University Hospitals.

2012: Opening of the Deakin Centre (8 May 2012) by Mrs Daphne Deakin. The Deakin Centre provides a state-of-the-art environment for delivering clinical skills training and learning and development courses to the CUH workforce. Opening of the Teenage Cancer Trust Unit at Addenbrooke’s Hospital (17 December 2012) by Special Guests: Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York; Princess Eugenie, Princess of York; and Harry Judd, from pop band McFly.

2013: The Queen opens the new Rosie Hospital (23 May 2013)

2013: Opening of the Cambridge Haemophilia and Thrombophilia Centre (21 June 2013) by Dr William Wetherell, Clinical Fellow at St Bartholomew's Hospital London and haemophilia patient.