History

Royal Berkshire Hospital, 1839The Royal Berkshire Hospital (the RBH or the "Royal Berks") was opened in Reading in 1839, on 4 acres of land donated by Lord Sidmouth. The hospital's patron was Queen Victoria. Reading architect Henry Briant was commissioned to design the 50 bed building. Donations totalling £13,000 were raised to complete the building and equip it. Subscribers recommended patients, who were cared for by honorary surgeons and physicians.

Battle Hospital began as Reading Union Workhouse, built in 1867 at a cost of £14,000. Between 1889 and 1892 an infirmary was added with 185 beds for vagrants. In the First World War it became Reading War Hospital. The single storey Abbey block, opened in 1972, became the main building on the site.

The Royal Berkshire and Battle Hospitals NHS Trust was formed in 1993. A large programme of rebuilding  resulted in the consolidation of all clinical services on the RBH site in 2005.

The RBBH Trust became the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust on 1 June 2006.


1839 Royal Berkshire Hospital built on London Road, Reading
1860s RBH building extended with wings to East and West
1867 The Oxford Road Workhouse opened in Reading
1882 Chapel and library added to the RBH site
1890s 185 bed infirmary added to the Oxford Road site
1911 Infirmary and new theatre added at Oxford Road. Workhouse is now training nurses and is considered very up-to-date.
1915 Military take over workhouse at Oxford Road: becomes Reading War Hospital No.1
1920s Greenlands built at RBH site, still surrounded by lawns and trees. (Demolished 2002)
1930 Infirmary at Oxford Road becomes a municipal hospital, named Battle.
1931 After crashing at Woodley Aerodrome, Douglas Bader has both legs amputated at RBH.
1948 Battle Hospital, with 384 beds, becomes a general hospital under the NHS. RBH now has 461 beds and many specialist departments.
1952 Maternity unit opens at Thames block, Battle
1972 Abbey block opens at Battle, with new wards, clinics, X-Ray, theatres
1993 Battle Hospital (280 beds) and the Royal Berkshire Hospital (760 beds) form the core of the current NHS Trust.
2002 New Centre block opens at RBH site, with new X-Ray and wards.
2003 'Phase 3' construction begins at north end of RBH site.
2005 All clinical services are consolidated onto the RBH site. Battle hospital closes.
2006
The Trust becomes Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust, the first Foundation Trust in the region.
 Iron Lung at the Berkshire Medical Heritage Centre

You can see photographs and artifacts from our history at the Berkshire Medical Heritage Centre.

 A scene from our hospital (randomly selected)

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PDF document: needs Adobe Reader Issue 8 May 2008.

Royal Berkshire Hospital
London Road
Reading RG1 5AN
Telephone 0118 322 5111
NOT 01189 - DON'T DIAL 9
email email addresses now end @royalberkshire.nhs.uk

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