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Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre

The Wingfield Convalescent Home, taken between 1872 and 1914Wingfield Convalescent Home, Wingfield Orthopaedic Hospital and Wingfield-Morris Orthopaedic Hospital

In 1872 the Wingfield Convalescent Home was opened on the site now occupied by the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre. It was funded by public donations, principally £1,545 from Mrs. Hannah Wingfield, who did not live to see the project completed. The Home was intended primarily for patients discharged from the Radcliffe Infirmary and this was its main use, but paying patients were admitted when space was available. There were generally five or six patients at any one time, most of whom stayed for about a fortnight. The Home was extended in 1903 and for a few years after this some space was given over to consumptive cases.

At the outbreak of the First World War the Committee offered the Home for war use and it became an auxiliary hospital to the Third Southern General Hospital. During the war wooden huts were built in the grounds, including the erection of orthopaedic workshops. One of those who treated patients on the site was G.R.G. Girdlestone, who was to become the first British Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery in 1937. After the war the hospital was used for the orthopaedic treatment of war pensioners, with one ward reserved for the care of children. In 1921 the home officially became an orthopaedic hospital.

By 1924 the buildings had been improved and the Wingfield was an Open Air Hospital, with 125 beds and three private wards. However, much of the work was still carried out in huts. A donation of some £70,000 from William Morris (later Lord Nuffield) made the rebuilding of the hospital possible in 1930 and it was officially opened as the Wingfield-Morris Orthopaedic Hospital by the Prince of Wales in 1933.

During World War II the hospital was used by the military authorities again. It became part of the NHS in 1948 and it was re-named the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre in 1950. Between 1948 and 1974 it was controlled by the Wingfield-Morris Hospital Management Committee (1948-1955), the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre Hospital Management Committee (1955-1963) and the Nuffield Hospital Management Committee (1963-1974). In 1974 it passed to Oxfordshire Area Health Authority (Teaching) and then, in 1982, to Oxfordshire Health Authority. It became the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre NHS Trust on 1st April 1991. An extensive rebuilding project was completed in 2008. On 1st November 2011 the Trust merged with the Oxford Radcliffe Hospital Trust to become the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust.

Balcony for open air treatment at Wingfield Orthopaedic Hospital in about 1922See also:
J. Trueta Gathorne Robert Girdlestone 1971
Robert B. Duthie and John Mullins Fifty Years of the Nuffield Professorship of Orthopaedic Surgery in the University of Oxford 1987

Records of Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre and predecessors

  • Minutes 1872-1948
  • Visitors Books 1872-1969
  • Annual Reports 1872-1888, 1893-1947
  • Balance Sheets and Accounts of related Trust Funds 1933-1983
  • Records of the Wingfield League (staff association), with numerous photographs

There may be information in the records of the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre and Nuffield Hospital Management Committees and its predecessors and Oxfordshire Health Authority.

The Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre is featured in this Tale from the Archives:

Cold baths, Napoleon Bonaparte and homing pigeons

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Last updated: 29 August, 2018