Our History

Our History

Alder Hey was originally created as a workhouse, providing care for the sick. By July 1914 a portion of the institution was allotted for the accommodation for sick children after concerns were raised over a serious epidemic of eye disease in young children.

  • A new modern hospital was erected and opened its doors in October 1914. 350 children took occupancy of twelve wards, admitted from the workhouse, home or transferred from Walton Hospital.
  • During the Great War, Alder Hey was also used as a military hospital. It became a hospital just for children by the end of the war but was also used during the Second World War to care for allied and German soldiers (guarded by American police). With accommodation becoming very tight, ten extra brick huts were built at the far end of the hospital to house the military. Any soldiers well enough to do so would help carry children to the shelters during air raids.
  • Since the NHS was established in 1946, Alder Hey has seen many changes but has remained at the forefront of children’s healthcare. During our history, we have become known for a number of famous firsts. Penicillin was tested on a child for the first time at Alder Hey, saving a child from pneumonia in 1944 and we were the first to establish a neonatal surgical unit in the UK. Other ‘firsts’ include curing the most commonly encountered congenital heart defect and pioneering various splints and orthopaedic appliances.
  • In 2008 Alder Hey became a Foundation Trust.
  • In 2014, Alder Hey Children’s Hospital was given Freedom of the City in recognition of its treatment and care of children and young people for over a century. During a special celebration at the Town Hall, the City of Liverpool acknowledged Alder Hey’s contribution in making a huge difference to the lives of people in Liverpool and beyond.
  • Alder Hey moved into a brand new hospital ‘Alder Hey in the Park’ in October 2015. The new hospital has 270 beds, including 48 critical care beds for patients in ICU, HDU and Burns. There are six standard wards with 32 beds. Each ward has two four bed bays and 24 single rooms with en-suite bathrooms. The majority of bedrooms have park views and patients have easy access to play areas on and outside their ward. There are also 16 operating theatres, four for day-case surgery and twelve inpatient theatres.
  • We remain one of only four stand-alone paediatric trusts in the country, providing specialist treatment to children from across the UK.

Alder Hey Children's Charity
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