Hospitals by Denise Amos

King’s Mill Hospital, Sutton-in-Ashfield

King's Mill Hospital in 2015.
King's Mill Hospital in 2015.

The site of the present hospital was where an old established flour mill was situated which used water from the River Maun. The mill was destroyed in 1963 by fire.

There had previously been two hospitals in Mansfield, the General Hospital and the Victoria Hospital. The General was opened in October 1890 by the Duke of Portland; it had two wards each with five beds and dealt with acute medical, surgical orthopaedic and accident cases. Space was limited and when the Victoria Hospital took over the laundry, Mansfield was able to make use of this space! In 1950 the Mansfield General celebrated a further extension. This was a new ward block which was officially opened by Sir Eric Sykes. This new block provided a further 60 beds. With the majority of the services being transferred to the new Kings Mill Hospital over a period of years, the Mansfield General closed its doors in 1992. It did, however, remain standing for a further 20 years and became an eyesore in the town. Demolition finally began in 2013.

Victoria Hospital began life as the Mansfield Union Workhouse. The workhouse infirmary later formed part of the Victoria Hospital which developed on the site to the west of the workhouse. The hospital is now Mansfield Community Hospital. The former workhouse building has demolished. The 1882 infirmary was used for administrative purposes until its demolition in 2007. The maternity unit which had served Nottinghamshire as well as Mansfield was transferred to King’s Mill.

The present site of the King’s Mill Hospital was planned by the Ministry of Works for Emergency Medical services and built in 1941-2 and was occupied by American Force until 1945. It was the first US Army Hospital in England and was known as 30th General Hospital of University of California. Clark Gable paid a visit in 1942 to see the troops. After the war it was made available for civil hospital purposes in 1945. However, it started its new life as a Police Training Centre from 1947 until 1951. It was also used as a training school for nurses from the Mansfield General Hospital.

On 17 September 1951 the premises opened as King’s Mill Hospital. Despite large scale renovations being needed to bring it up to standard the Americans had left most of their equipment. A maternity and baby care unit was opened by Lady Dorothy MacMillan on 1 October 1957 and in 1974 they were transferred to The Dukeries Unit for premature babies and a new maternity wing which was opened in 1975 by the Duchess of Devonshire.

Phase 3 of the development of the hospital was opened by Princess Anne in 1993, it was designed to accommodate services originally provided by Mansfield and District General Hospital after that was closed in 1992.

Other hospitals around Mansfield were the Forest Isolation hospital built in 1893 with eight patients, by 1958 it had 30 beds and 52 geriatric patients. Crow Hill Rehabilitation Centre facilities were transferred to King’s Mill in 1990s. Ransom Chest Hospital built in 1901 by public conscription was for the treatment of TB and other chest diseases, it was named after Dr W B Ransom, a physician from the Nottingham General Hospital. It closed in 1970 with the facilities moving to King’s Mill. Debdale Hall Recovery Hospital was used for patients to spend quality time making a full recovery but without taking up beds for patients on acute wards.