Royal Brompton Hospital

Royal Brompton Hospital

Royal Brompton Hospital
Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust
Location Brompton, Kensington, London, England, United Kingdom
Care system Public NHS
Hospital type Specialist
Affiliated university Imperial College London
Emergency department No Accident & Emergency
Beds Roughly 350[1]
Speciality Heart and lung hospital
Founded 1847
Lists Hospitals in England

Royal Brompton Hospital is the largest specialist heart and lung centre in the United Kingdom (UK).[2]

The hospital is part of Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust, which includes Royal Brompton Hospital in Chelsea and Harefield Hospital near Uxbridge. Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust is the largest specialist heart and lung centre in the UK and among the largest in Europe.

Diana, Princess of Wales (1961-1997) used to visit patients at the hospital often.


  • Consumption in the 19th Century 1
  • The beginning 2
    • Funding 2.1
    • The move to Brompton 2.2
  • Frimley 3
  • Other sites 4
    • Bournemouth 4.1
    • Madeira 4.2
    • Sandgate 4.3
    • Hayling Island 4.4
    • Harefield Hospital 4.5
  • The hospital in the 21st Century 5
  • Notable physicians and nurses associated with The Brompton 6
  • See also 7
  • Notes 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10
    • Legislation relating to The Brompton Hospital 10.1

Consumption in the 19th Century

In the 19th century, consumption was a common word for tuberculosis. At the time consumptive patients were turned away from other hospitals as there was no known cure. Hospitals that dealt with such infectious diseases later came to be known as sanatoriums. The prospectus for the Hospital stated that for the last 6 months of 1837 out of 148,701 deaths from all causes, 27,754 were from consumption.

The beginning

The hospital was founded in the 1840s by Philip Rose, the first meeting to establish the Hospital was on 8 March 1841. It was to be known as The Hospital for Consumption and Diseases of the Chest. It amalgamated on 25 May 1841 with The West London Dispensary for Diseases of the Chest, which was based at 83 Wells Street, near Oxford Street. Little is now known about the Dispensary. On 28 March 1842, an out-patients branch of the hospital was opened at 20 Great Marlborough Street. Later that year they acquired a lease on their first building for in-patients at The Manor House, Chelsea, which held space for 20 beds and the first in-patients were admitted on 13 September 1842. Admittance was to be by the then customary method of recommendation by the Governors and subscribers. Manor House remained in use as a convalescence home after the hospital had moved to the Brompton site.


In common with other hospitals at the time, the hospital was to be financed entirely from charitable donations, legacies and fund raising. Rose travelled the country to explain the aims of the hospital, setting up 14 provincial associations, 157 churches promised to preach special sermons as a means of fund raising. The famous singer, Jenny Lind also gave concerts, including one at Her Majesty's Theatre in July 1848, which raised £1,606.

Besides Philip Rose, the early supporters included William Augustus Guy, Charles Dickens, and Queen Victoria, who became a patron, with an annual subscription of £10.

The move to Brompton

Artist's impression of proposed building on the north side of Brompton Road.

The area known as Brompton was no more than a village surrounded by market gardens, but quickly developed in the 1840s. The hospital acquired a market garden site there from a charity to erect a new hospital, with the architect being Frederick John Francis. The stone laying for the west wing was on 11 June 1844 by Prince Albert, the Prince Consort, the building being described as a beautiful Elizabethan building with red brick and blue diapering with Portland stone mouldings. One of the features of the building was the inclusion of ventilation by forced warm air in an attempt to create a temperature more commonly found in more southern latitudes. The total cost for the west wing and part of the centre was £11,762. The first admission of patients was in 1847. Whilst the east wing was completed in 1849.

The hospital acquired houses on the south side of the Brompton Road in 1868 with a plan to connect to the main building with a tunnel, which was completed in 1873. The hospital continued to purchase houses on the south side and eventually developed the site to become the south block of the Brompton, which was formerly opened by the President of the Corporation, The Earl of Derby on 13 June 1882. Without the bequest of Miss Cordelia Angelica Read of some £100,000 the hospital may never have been built. The building was in an "E" shape and constructed of red brick and Ancaster stone. The basement contained a compressed air room and a Turkish bath[3] (both of which were considered beneficial to tuberculosis sufferers at the time. There were also facilities for a large outpatients department, rooms for resident staff and a lecture room and ten wards holding from 1 to 8 beds. The total cost was said to be £65,976.


On 13 September 1900 the Hospital acquired 20 acres (8.1 ha) of planted forestry at Chobham Ridge (which is 400 feet (120 m) above sea level), 2 miles (3.2 km) from Frimley Railway Station for £3,900. The architect, Edwin T. Hall, designed a two-storied stellate block, rising to three-stories for the centre, the four radial pavilions would contain the majority of wards, most of which would be single bedded and the ability to wheel the beds onto a terrace to "be under the full influence of the sunshine and the atmosphere." A second group of buildings was to contain dining rooms, recreation rooms, kitchens and offices and accommodation for medical staff. Besides accommodation for staff, 2 houses and a nurses block, no further buildings were erected on the site until its closure in 1985.

The formal opening of the sanatorium was on 25 June 1904 with the ceremony performed by

  • Statutory Instrument 1994 No. 402 - The Royal Brompton Hospital NHS Establishment) Order 1994
  • Statutory Instrument 1998 No. 783 The Dissolution of the Royal Brompton Hospital NHS Trust and the Harefield Hospital NHS Trust Order 1998

Legislation relating to The Brompton Hospital

  • Research & Development in Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Trust
  • Royal Brompton's Department of Occupational and Environmental Lung Disease
  • 19th Century Newspaper quotes about Brompton Consumption Hospital.
  • British history online entry
  • NHLI
  • ECMO at Royal Brompton Hospital

External links

  • The Seven Ages of The Brompton (A Saga of a Hospital) by P. J. Bishop, B. D. B. Lucas And B. G. B Lucas. Published by the Board of Governors, Royal Brompton National Heart and Lung Hospitals, 1991. ISBN 0-9506669-3-9


  1. ^ Royal Brompton Website
  2. ^
  3. ^ The Builder 22 Nov 1879
  4. ^ The British Medical Journal 1904
  5. ^ NHLI reference to Dr Paterson
  6. ^ British Nursing Journal, 22 July 1916
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ Royal Brompton confirmed as national centre


See also

Notable physicians and nurses associated with The Brompton

In November 2011, Royal Brompton Hospital was named as one of only five hospitals in the country that will offer extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) to adults in an initiative that positions England as one of the leading countries in the world for the provision of this treatment. The other hospitals are: Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust and University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust.[9]

  • Faster identification of genes linked to heart disease with a view to providing more personalised treatment for patients in the future.
  • Improving imaging techniques to diagnose patients more accurately and monitor any changes occurring in the heart.
  • Conducting clinical trials to investigate new treatments or advancements to improve current medical care.
  • Developing new techniques such as gene therapy and stem cell therapy.[8]

Research at the cardiovascular BRU will concentrate on increasing the understanding of poor heart function in people living with cardiomyopathy (inherited heart muscle disease), arrhythmia (irregular heart-beat), coronary heart disease and heart failure. This will be achieved by:

As part of the NIHR, the cardiovascular BRU puts the Trust and Imperial at the forefront of international research into the most challenging heart conditions.

On Monday 15 November 2010, the new National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Cardiovascular Biomedical ResearchUnit opened at Royal Brompton Hospital, a joint initiative with academic partner Imperial College London.

  • Develop research teams by creating six new Consortia in key advanced lung diseases to progress future research and improve treatment for patients.
  • Provide the core facilities, including the new Clinical Research Facility, needed by the Consortia to undertake their work.
  • Encourage greater participation from patients and the public on research projects.
  • Facilitate the training of health professionals in Advanced Lung Disease.

On Monday 5 July 2010, the new National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Respiratory Biomedical Research Unit (BRU) Clinical Research Facility opened at the Royal Brompton Hospital. Funded and supported by the NIHR and the Royal Brompton Hospital Charitable Trustees, the Respiratory BRU puts the Trust and its academic partner Imperial College London at the forefront of international research into the most challenging lung conditions. It aims to:

In 2009 Royal Brompton & Harefield became a foundation trust inside the NHS, giving it new freedom to run its own finances and borrow money.

In 2005 the trust took on a new CEO, Bob Bell, who had previously been president and CEO at the William Osler Health Centre in Canada.[7]

The hospital in the 21st Century

Harefield Hospital is one of the largest and most experienced centres in the world for heart and lung transplants. In 1983, a team of doctors led by the eminent Prof Sir Magdi Yacoub performed Britain’s first heart-lung transplant.

Harefield Hospital is a national and international leader in the treatment of heart and lung disease and is renowned for its pioneering transplant unit.

Harefield Hospital

The hospital erected a hut at St. Andrew's Home, eurythmics" were the order of the day. Later another hut was built for children not living in Chelsea. St. Andrew's Home closed in 1932.

Hayling Island

Towards the end of the 19th Century the idea that sea air could be beneficial grew in popularity in medical circles and the Hospital, with help from the London Samaritan Society sent people to Bournemouth and Sandgate. This was discontinued in 1900 with the future development at Frimley in mind.


The Hospital paid for the passage of 20 patients with tuberculosis to be taken to Madeira on the ship, Maria Pia, which set sail on 7 November 1864. When the patients returned some months later it was discerned that there had been no noticeable improvement in the patients and the experiment was discontinued.


In 1850 The Medical Committee decided to build a small sanatorium in Bournemouth, to be financially independent, to "receive those cases where convalescence has been established." Although more of a convalescent home, rather than a sanatorium as the word was understood later, it was the first of any such establishment anywhere in the world. It was specially built, the architect being E B Lamb, who had previously built St Luke's Chapel attached to the Hospital in Brompton Road. The sanatorium opened in October 1855. Later to become independent of the hospital and known as The Royal National Sanatorium : Bournemouth. The site has now been re-developed into a retirement complex known as "Brompton Court," but the chapel has been retained.


Other sites

At an International Congress on Tuberculosis held in 1908 in Washington, USA the $1,000 first prize was shared between Frimley, for a model of the sanatorium, which had partly been made by patients, and an American institution. Further awards of $500 went to Paterson for his essay on Frimley and $1,000 to Arthur Latham, an assistant-physician at The Brompton for his paper on the treatment of more advanced cases of tuberculosis.

Marcus Paterson, who had been a house physician at the Brompton from 1901, accepted a post at Frimley in 1905, becoming the Medical Superintendent in January 1906. Paterson was known to say, "it would make them (the patients) more resistant to the disease by improving their physical condition." To this end he introduced what was one of the first attempts at systematic rehabilitation,[5] which involved patients in undertaking physical labour [6]