Torbay Hospital celebrates 90th anniversary

Torbay Hospital celebrates 90th anniversary
Ian Handford (Chairman Torbay Civic Society), Monica Bulman (Nurse) and Sir Richard Ibbotson (Chairman, Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust) at the original foundation stone that was laid by Ella Rowcroft in 1926.

Published: 7 July 2016

Staff at Torbay Hospital recently celebrated the 90th anniversary of the hospital’s first foundation stone* being laid in 1926.

The first foundation stone was laid by Ella Rowcroft, a wealthy widow, who donated £100,000 for the build of Torbay Hospital on green fields at Lowes Bridge. The stone was laid on 26 June 1926 and the Hospital opened two years later in September 1928. Ella Rowcroft and her sister, Violet Wills, continued to donate generously to the Hospital and areas remain named after them until this day (Ella Rowcroft ward and Violet Wills Surgical Admissions Unit).

At special celebratory events, during their lunch break staff had the opportunity to attend short talks on the history of the Hospital by local historian Ian Handford (Chairman of Torbay Civic Society), followed by a small tea party to enjoy some tea and cake and to view a display of photos and memories of the Hospital in years gone by.

A cake to commemorate the 90th anniversary was cut by one of the Trust’s nurses, Monica Bulman, who at the age of 82 is one of the country’s longest serving members of the health service. Slices of this celebratory cake were also taken along to Ella Rowcroft ward to involve patients in the day’s celebrations.

Sir Richard Ibbotson, Chairman of Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust which runs Torbay Hospital, said: “It was a pleasure to be able to take some time out of the day with colleagues to remember this important milestone in healthcare for local people. Special thanks must go to Ian Handford of Torbay Civic Society for taking the time to provide thoroughly engaging and enjoyable talks about the history of our hospital.

“Since the start of the build in 1926, you can see that the hospital has grown and had numerous extensions to accommodate the advances in medical science and the ever growing health and care needs of local people.

“Today, our Hospital continues to evolve with our patients and service users being at the heart of all we do. We only recently celebrated the ‘topping out’ of our brand new, £15million, state-of-the-art critical care unit and new main entrance. There are exciting times ahead for the hospital and our local population with the development of our new model of care and with our continued commitment to providing the highest quality care.”

Further information

*The first foundation stone of Torbay Hospital being laid by Ella Rowcroft on our current site at Lowes Bridge. Prior to the build, residents of Torbay received their care from Torbay infirmary which was on Union Street, Torquay town centre.