Westbury Hospitals.

Westbury Cottage Hospital

On 13 April 1898, the Westbury Cottage Hospital was opened in Bourne’s Barton, (now Westbourne Road), in commemoration of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.  On land donated by William Henry Laverton, Chairman, the cottage hospital was paid for by public subscription.  It was built by Messrs. Burgess & Son and comprised of accommodation for four patients, injured by industrial accidents.  It was completely maintained and staffed by Voluntarism.  However, by 1905, the hospital proved to be quite inadequate for the expanding population and their requirements, and an extension was built in 1906, intended as an Emergency Ward.  This raised the accommodation available for ten In-patients.  Similarly, at a public meeting held in 1921, Dr Trevor Shorland declared the cottage hospital not fit for purpose and the idea of an entirely new hospital for Westbury was mooted.

Westbury and District Hospital

In 1926, land was purchased at The Butts to build a new hospital for the people of Westbury.  On 1st October 1930, the foundation stone was finally laid by the chairman of the Management Committee, Lady Sybil Phipps, whilst the original foundation stone, laid by William Henry Laverton, was re-laid in the new building.  The Westbury and District Hospital was built by Messrs. J T Parsons & Son, for £8,804 although the total cost after furnishing and equipment was estimated to be £10,850.  Once again, these moneys were achieved by the voluntary contributions of the Westbury people.  It was opened on 9 September 1931, by the Duchess of Beaufort.  The new hospital comprised of a Women’s general ward with eight beds and a Men’s general ward of eight beds; Robert Furley Callaway Ward with two beds and two private single-bedded rooms.  All of the wards were on the ground floor as was the operating theatre, with accommodation for the Nursing and Domestic Staff on the first floor. From 1926, a weekly Contributory Scheme had been taken up for the benefit of local residents and Employers, to insure themselves and their workforce entitlement to free treatment, but voluntary contributions were necessary for the purchase of items such as x-ray apparatus.  In 1948, the Westbury and District Hospital came under the control of the National Health Service and in the 1950s, the League of Friends was founded to raise funds for the benefit of the In-patients of the hospital.  The hospital was closed to In-patients in 2006 and finally closed completely in 2012.  It has since been demolished.

Prideaux Voluntary Hospital

On 11 July 1928, The Prideaux Voluntary Hospital was opened in Haynes Road, Westbury, now the site of the Westbury Labour Club and Institute Ltd.  It was founded by Dr Mary Colgrave Prideaux and entirely funded by Voluntarism.  Eleanor Farmer Seaton was the Superintendent for over twenty years, retiring in 1949.  Purchased by mortgage of £650, the bungalow was transformed into a modern hospital with five beds, a cot, and an operating theatre, in just four weeks and valued at £1500.  By November 1928, it had been accepted by the Charity Commission. The hospital also took up a Weekly Contributory Scheme, known as the Hospital League, which was initially organised by Mr Frank Hill.  In September 1930, funded by voluntary donations, Dr Prideaux was able to initiate the building of an extension to the hospital which comprised of a women’s ward of three beds and a cot; a patient’s waiting room; an Out-patient’s room and two Nurses’ bedrooms.   In 1948, the hospital was taken over by the West Wiltshire Hospital Management Committee and it was finally closed in 1950.   The Prideaux Voluntary Hospital was the first hospital in Westbury to provided Maternity Services and over 700 maternity cases had been admitted by the time it closed.