The Manchester Royal Infirmary and Lunatic Asylum

The Manchester Royal Infirmary has gone through a number of transformations throughout its history.  Today the MRI is located on Oxford Road across from the Whitworth Art Gallery.  (see below)

However, behind this stone and brick building, built in 1908, is a new glass and concrete MRI.

The hospital was founded in 1752 by Charles White, a Manchester doctor, and the local merchant Joseph Bancroft.  White studied medicine in London and Edinburgh.  His speciality was obstetrics, where his modern practices earned him an international reputation. His work resulted in a massive drop in the rate of infant mortality.  The original 12 bed hospital building was in a house on Garden Street in Shudehill. 

Four years later the hospital moved to larger premises in Piccadilly
on land donated by Sir Oswald MosleyThe area was known as the Daube Holes because it was used as a clay pit.  In the Casson & Berry map of 1751 you can see a lozenge shaped lake that is designated at the Daube Holes.

The engraving below, shown with the generous permission of Chetham's Library, shows the fenced off area of the Daube Holes, complete with swan, in front of the Infirmary, flanked on either side by the Lunatic Hospital and the Public Baths.

The 1844 Ordnance Survey map, below, shows all three buildings with the lake between them and Piccadilly.  It is interesting that this time the Lunatic Hospital is referred to as the Lunatic Asylum.

On the Adshead map of 1851 (shown below with the permission of Chetham's Library) you can see the lake in front of a single building designated as the Manchester Royal Infirmary. This may reflect more on the skill and accuracy of the map makers than the reality on the ground.

As you can see in the image below, the lake was replaced by a wide promenade.  This was executed by Joseph Paxton in 1854 and designed to accommodate a number of important statues, most of which are still there. 

Below is an image from the Cedar Street Slides and shown here with the permission of Chetham's Library.

The image above is shown with the permission of Chethams Library.
The old postcard image below shows people sitting outside the Infirmary railings in Piccadilly.

The present Manchester Royal Infirmary was opened in 1908 and this building demolished to be replaced by a sunken garden.