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