The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

250 years of Leeds General Infirmary - a year of celebration

31 October 2017

On October 31 a timeline of Leeds General Infirmary’s 250 year history launched, officially beginning a year of celebration.

LGI first site5From its original purpose as a hospital ‘for the relief of the sick and poor’, the LGI has grown to become one of the foremost healthcare providers in the country. By far the longest-established of the City’s hospitals, it dates back to October 1767 and was set up in a private house in Kirkgate, close to where Leeds Market is today.

The timeline pinpoints key dates in the history of the hospital including the opening of its first purpose-built home in 1771 close to City Square and the move to an impressive new site on Great George Street in 1869. This included a Winter Garden, designed on the advice of Florence Nightingale by renowned architect Sir George Gilbert Scott, famed for St Pancras Station and London’s Albert Memorial.

It travels through the centuries detailing extensions and the addition of several wings including Clarendon, which was built in 1984 and replaced the old Women’s and Children’s Hospital, which was connected to the main site for many years by a long corridor on stilts.

In 1998 the newest wing linked up the different parts of the site and was named Jubilee Wing to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the NHS. The timeline, generously funded by the Leeds Hospital Charitable Foundation, is displayed along the blue bridge in Jubilee wing, bringing historic imagery to a modern healthcare building.

David Welch, Chief Executive of the Leeds Hospitals Charitable Foundation said: “We’re delighted to be a part of this highly prestigious event launching what promises to be a very exciting year of celebrations for the Trust. Philanthropy has a huge part to play in our fundraising which is why it’s a fantastic opportunity for everyone to reflect on the rich history of philanthropic giving which has made the Leeds General Infirmary the respected icon that it is today.”


Over the past 250 years the LGI has been at the forefront of the development of medicine and surgery in the UK, developing many techniques ranging from aseptic surgery to the UK’s first kidney transplant and the UK’s first hand transplant and first double hand transplant.

Leeds was also part of the recent Royal College of Emergency Medicine’s 50th anniversary and the LGI has also been at the forefront of this specialty since the beginning. Mr Maurice Ellis, a consultant at the LGI set up the predecessor organisation Casualty Surgeons Association on 12 October 1967 and became the first A&E consultant in the UK. 50 years later, the current president is Dr Taj Hassan, also an Emergency Consultant at LTHT.

p8 Copy2Over the next few years the ambition is to transform the hospital and build a state-of-the-art healthcare building on the site of the old nurses home which will enable LTHT to continue to innovate and develop services and be at the forefront of healthcare innovations for many years to come. These plans will also see the Children’s Hospital in Clarendon Wing developed and remodelled to provide a dedicated and bespoke child friendly environment for young patients.

Linda Pollard, Trust Chair said: “Our thanks go to everyone who has generously given their advice and time to help with this project. It is fantastic to see the rich history of the LGI displayed for our patients, staff and visitors and we look forward to unveiling more of our ambitious plans for the future of the hospital, which will enable us to continue to provide outstanding services for future generations into the 21st century.”

Celebrations for the 250th anniversary of the LGI will continue throughout the year and will also coincide with the NHS 70 anniversary. 

For more information about the 250th anniversary, click here.