203 years ago this week one of Colchester’s oldest hospitals admitted its first ever patients. So we've decided to take a deep dive into its vast history.

Originally named The Essex and Colchester Hospital, the facility was founded by Joseph Jefferson after he convinced eight other men to fund his idea of "hospitals for the poor".

On September 21, 1820, the hospital officially opened its doors to the public, becoming one of the first of its kind in the country. 

During the early days - until the mid 1860s - funding for the voluntary hospital came from subscriptions, gifts and interest on investments.

Gazette: First - One of the hospital's earliest images, dating back to 1825First - One of the hospital's earliest images, dating back to 1825 (Image: N/A)
One of the first male patients admitted was James King, who had a "hip case of 14 months duration".

One of the first female patients, meanwhile, was Ann Glendinning, who suffered with "a case of paralysis of the lower extremities for three years".

Throughout the 1800s, the hospital went through plenty of changes and developments, including to the central third floor and its side wings.

In 1907, after the inclusion of a children's ward, the hospital was renamed as Essex County Hospital. 

Gazette: Iconic - An amazing picture of Essex County Hospital in 1897Iconic - An amazing picture of Essex County Hospital in 1897 (Image: N/A)
The building served a very important purpose during the first world war, where it was initially designated as a British Home Auxiliary Hospital.

It primarily took in convalescing patients from the nearby General Military Hospital.

Patients were housed in temporary wooden outbuildings, situated on the hospital's three acres of land, called Netley Huts.

In 1915, a high-ranking military official was so impressed by the facilities provided it was ruled the hospital should receive wounded soldiers directly from the ambulance trains.  

Gazette: Community - One of the hospital wards in the 1900'sCommunity - One of the hospital wards in the 1900's (Image: N/A)
In 1948, the hospital became a part of the National Health Service.

Over the hospital's 197 years of service, the centre cared for hundreds of thousands of patients and was a staple of Colchester's medical scene, before its closure in 2018.

The historic hospital closed its doors for the final time on November 22, 2018, and is now being developed into a site for 120 homes. 

Phase three of construction is set to start in November this year, but its long history of serving Colchester residents will never be forgotten. 

Gazette: Now - The hospital before its closure in 2018Now - The hospital before its closure in 2018 (Image: Steve Brading)
For more information of this historic hospital go to: greatwarhomehospitals.wordpress.com