Trumpington Village Sign unveiled June 2010, designed by Sheila Betts.
Trumpington Local History Group
Addenbrooke's Hospital:
Yesterday and Today
Copyright © Trumpington Local History Group, 2014. Updated 3 July 2014.
In October 2013, Hilary Ritchie
(Hospital Archivist) gave a
fascinating talk to the Local
History Group about the history
of Addenbrooke's Hospital. She
described the growth of the
original hospital in Cambridge and
its redevelopment on the current
site, where a number of the
members of the audience
remembered working on the
wards. These notes are a brief
summary of the talk.
Poster for the Addenbrooke’s Hospital talk. Sylvia Jones, October 2013.
Poster for the Addenbrooke's
Hospital talk. Sylvia Jones,
October 2013.
Origin of Addenbrooke's Hospital

Hilary Ritchie described the career of Dr John Addenbrooke, who was born in 1680, came up
to Catharine Hall (later St Catharine's College), and practiced medicine in France and London.
He died in Buntingford in 1719, at the age of 39, and in his will left his wealth to his widow and
then to build a hospital in Cambridge to serve the town, surrounding parishes and county. There
is limited archival information about Dr Addenbrooke but St Catharine's College has his medical
chest and library. There is a blue plaque in his memory near the main entrance to the current
Blue plaque to Dr John Addenbrooke near the hospital entrance. Addenbrooke’s Hospital Archives.
Blue plaque to Dr John Addenbrooke near the hospital
entrance. Addenbrooke's Hospital Archives.
There is early information about the development of the hospital in a series of minute books
which start in 1740. The hospital was built in Trumpington Street, on the then edge of
Cambridge (now the Judge Business School, opposite the Fitzwilliam Museum). The initial
finance had run out by 1760 and the project needed public money to complete the work. The
hospital opened on 13 October 1766, with 20 beds, 11 patients, 3 surgeons and 3 physicians. It
was funded by subscriptions from parishes, employers, etc. Important legacies included one
from John Bowtell which was used to extend the original building after 1810. It was further
extended in the 1860s.
The original Addenbrooke’s Hospital, 1770. Addenbrooke’s Hospital Archives.
The original Addenbrooke's
Hospital, 1770. Addenbrooke's
Hospital Archives.
The extended Addenbrooke’s Hospital, c1820. Addenbrooke’s Hospital Archives.
The extended Addenbrooke's
Hospital, c1820. Addenbrooke's
Hospital Archives.
Eminent members of staff included George Paget, the physician, and George Humphry, the
surgeon, who were appointed in 1839 and 1842. Paget introduced the concept of bedside
examinations and Humphry improved the standard of wards, etc., including appointing Alice
Fisher as Matron in 1877. Medical advances in the 19th century included the use of anaesthetic
from 1847 and the development of a nursing training course. There were separate Nightingale
wards for male and female patients, while children had cots at the end of the wards.
Sir George Paget. Addenbrooke’s Hospital Archives.
Sir George Paget, Sir George Murray Humphry and Alice Fisher, Matron of
Addenbrooke's 1877-1882. Addenbrooke's Hospital Archives.
Sir George Murray Humphry. Addenbrooke’s Hospital Archives.
Alice Fisher (1839-1888), Matron of Addenbrooke's 1877-1882. Addenbrooke’s Hospital Archives.
Griffith Ward, Old Addenbrooke’s, 1896. Cambridgeshire Collection.
Griffith Ward, Old Addenbrooke's, 1896. Cambridgeshire Collection.
Early 20th century

There were further building projects in the early 20th century, including an additional floor for
Tipperary and Musgrave wards, the Outpatients Department (now Brown's Restaurant), and an
extension to the left of the main building which opened in 1932 housing private wards and a
children's ward. A separate maternity hospital was developed in the former workhouse in Mill

The hospital became a teaching hospital in 1948, part of the United Cambridge Hospitals.
The Outpatients Department. Addenbrooke’s Hospital Archives.
The Outpatients Department.
Addenbrooke's Hospital Archives.
Beds outside the Children’s Ward. Addenbrooke’s Hospital Archives.
Beds outside the Children's Ward.
Addenbrooke's Hospital Archives.
Move to the current site

Soon after 1948, a new site was purchased off Hills Road, close to Trumpington. Building work
began in 1958, with the initial emphasis on Outpatients, x-ray department, etc., and the
Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB). The first patients were treated in October 1961 and
the new hospital was opened by the Queen in May 1962. Work then proceeded on Phase II
which was completed in 1972, including the construction of the main chimney. The Rosie
Maternity Hospital opened in 1983, after the project was advanced when Sir David Robinson
gave a donation. The old site closed in October 1984 and was sold to the University.
The Queen at the opening of New Addenbrooke’s, 1962. Addenbrooke’s Hospital Archives.
The Queen at the opening of New
Addenbrooke's, 1962. Addenbrooke's
Hospital Archives.
Out patients, New Addenbrooke’s, c1962. Addenbrooke’s Hospital Archives.
Out patients, New Addenbrooke's, c1962.
Addenbrooke's Hospital Archives.
Hilary concluded by saying that Addenbrooke's Hospital now has 1160 beds, 33 operating
theatres, 5 intensive care units, 40 wards, 7000 staff and £560 million annual income. Its
annual performance includes 5700 births, 90,000 A&E patients, 67,000 inpatients and 450,000
outpatients. The site is now known as the Cambridge Biomedical Campus and the Trust is
implementing a forward plan called the 2020 Vision.
Aerial view of Addenbrooke’s Hospital, 2011. Addenbrooke’s Hospital Archives.
Aerial view of Addenbrooke's Hospital,
2011. Addenbrooke's Hospital Archives.
Addenbrooke’s Hospital, from the Busway bridge. Andrew Roberts, 16 June 2013.
Addenbrooke's Hospital, from the
Busway bridge. Andrew Roberts, 16 June
The Archive

Hilary was sure that Dr John Addenbrooke would have been very proud of the hospital with his
name. Hilary explained that the Addenbrooke's Hospital archive collection had been developed
since the 1980s. She hoped there would be a new museum and archive within the future
developments. She mentioned that the work of the archive was funded by the Addenbrooke's
Charitable Trust (ACT), with grants from bodies such as the Wellcome Trust. She welcomed
enquiries and information relevant to the history of the hospital, to Hilary Ritchie, Hospital
Archivist, tel 01223 586737, email There is information
about the
Hospital Archive and the archive catalogue is available online through the Janus