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A Brief History of Frodsham

Liverpool and Manchester Sanatoria

Two sanatoria were built at Kingswood, Delamere Forest, Cheshire, at the beginning of the twentieth century for treating pulmonary tuberculosis (TB).

  1. Crossley Sanatorium or Crossley (East) Hospital or the Manchester Sanatorium: opened in 1905 with accommodation for 90 to 100 patients. Redeveloped in 2007 as Kingsley Park.
  2. Liverpool Sanatorium: founded in 1901 with about 50 beds. Referred to as Crossley (West) Hospital when, after the introduction of the NHS in 1948, the two sanatoria were managed as a single entity.

Crossley Sanatorium

Built 1903–1905. Opened 31 March 1905 as part of the Manchester Hospital for Consumption and Diseases of the Throat and Chest. It was largely funded by Sir William Crossley of the Manchester carpets and motor businesses. It had 66 acres of grounds and could accommodate up to a hundred patients. The buildings include the main Sanatorium block with three storeys and a basement; attached kitchens, dining rooms and chapel; nurses’ home; boiler house; mortuary, other out-buildings and some more recent buildings. The buildings of Crossley Hospital East and about 33 acres of land were part of the Crown Estate until 2006.

Kelly’s Directory for Cheshire of 1934 records Gilbert Heathcote LRCP&S(Edin), LRFPS(Glas) as medical director; C W Hunt as secretary and Mrs E Heathcote as matron.

The Crossley Sanatorium, situated in Delamere Forest in this township, occupies a site of some sixty-six acres, with a south aspect and at an elevation of 480 feet above sea level, and commands magnificent views o( the Cheshire plains and distant mountain scenery. The Sanatorium, the facade of which is 300 feet long and three storeys in height, was opened on March 31st, 1905, and is available for 100 patients. The building contains two large recreation or day rooms, a spacious dining hall, used also for entertainments, wards for four or six beds, single bed rooms, bath and douche rooms, and operating theatre, research block, a nurses’ home, and a chapel, in which a Church of England chaplain conducts Divine service on Sundays. Attached to the Sanatorium are stables, a laboratory, engine and pump houses, a laundry and kitchens, and to the south of the building, in the grounds, are numerous shelters, some fixed and others revolving; these are provided with lounge chairs, tables and electric light, so that patients can sit out and read in dark evenings. The Sanatorium is 3 miles from Mouldsworth station and 3½ from Frodsham.

The availability of antibiotics effective against TB in the late 1940s saw the decline of the sanatoria. Patients no longer needed to spend two years or more at the sanatorium. In 1948 Crossley Sanatorium was transferred by the Minister of Health to Liverpool district. The Chairman of the Manchester Board, Sir Kenneth Crossley, wrote to the minister on 29 April 1948 regretting the transfer. Crossley Hospital then went through a number of changes of speciality. Its final years, until closing in 1988, were as a psychiatric hospital. The site has been unused since about 1993.

The main buildings are Grade II listed. In 2005 the then local authority, Vale Royal, produced a planning brief for development of the site. The Crown Estate expected that the only viable use of the site will be residential. In January 2007 the PR company Bell Pottinger North issued a release entitled Kingsley Park: New lights in old windows. The first two paragraphs were:

PJ Livesey is once again breathing life into the nation’s past, with its sympathetic conversion of a former hospital on the outskirts of Delamere Forest. The noble, but abandoned husks of these historic hospital buildings have been saved from falling into further disrepair by a visionary development plan, which seeks to create a brand new community in one of the region’s most sought-after beauty spots.
Set in 33 acres of private woodland, Kingsley Park is the latest redevelopment project to be taken on by the UK’s leading developer of listed buildings, the PJ Livesey Group. Work is already underway on the redevelopment of the old hospital (also once known as Crossley Hospital East), including the transformation of the main hall and nursing home into luxury one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments. In addition, a number of period outbuildings — including the old pump house and hospital chapel — are being skilfully converted to create a number of semi-detached and detached properties within the boundaries of the estate. An exclusive, sympathetically designed 4-bedroom detached home will complete the range of accommodation available at this new landmark address.

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Liverpool Sanatorium

Originally known as the Liverpool Sanatorium. It opened around 1901. After closing as a Sanatorium in the 1960s it was used as a private nursing home for a time. It has since been demolished and replaced by a private housing estate. It has sometimes been refereed to as Crossley West.

1904:

Miss E. Wilson Ross has been appointed Sister at the Liverpool Sanatorium, Frodsham. She was trained at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, where she held the position of Theatre Sister. She has also held a similar position at the Bethnal Green Infirmary.

From The British Journal of Nursing, April 16 1904

1934: Kelly’s Directory for Cheshire records Alfred Adams MD DPH(Liverpool) was medical superintendent and Miss Helen Roberts was matron.

The Liverpool Sanatorium for the open air treatment of consumption, situated here, in grounds of some forty acres, with a south-west aspect and at a height of 500 feet above the sea level, overlooking the valleys of the Dee and Mersey, the city of Chester and the Welsh hills, is a fine structure of red brick with sandstone facings, erected at a cost of £15,000, defrayed by the late Lady Willox and Sir W. P. Hartley, of Southport, and opened by the Countess of Derby, October 18, 1901: it affords 75 beds. Divine services are held at the sanatorium by Church of England and Free Church ministers during alternate weeks and by a Roman Catholic chaplain monthly.

1941:

Liverpool Sanatorium, Delamere Forest, Frodsham, via Warrington. Miss Miriam Gertrude Brain, S.R.N., has been appointed Matron. She was trained at the City General Hospital, Sheffield, where she was later Ward Sister, Night Sister, and Theatre Sister. She was also Night Sister at the Hillingdon County Hospital, Home Sister and Assistant Matron at the Surrey County Sanatorium.

From The British Journal of Nursing, March 1941

1943: Alfred Adams MD DPH, former medical superintendent of the Liverpool Sanatorium, Delamere, died suddenly in his 70th year at his home in Knutsford on January 29 1943 (from Liverpool Daily Post, February 1 1943).


Sources of more information:

Castle Park Arts Centre featured an exhibition of the work of Ian Cooper entitled No Longer Used: The Crossley Hospital East Exhibition from 23 October to 16 December 2005.

Some of the archives of Crossley Hospital are listed in The National Archives