Cambridge Military Hospital

 

The Cambridge Military Hospital, built by Messrs Martin Wells and Co. of Aldershot, was located at Stanhope Lines. It was named after Prince George, Duke of Cambridge and opened on 18 July 1879. In the First World War, the Cambridge Hospital was the first base hospital to receive casualties directly from the Western Front. The Cambridge Hospital was also the first place where plastic surgery was performed in the British Empire. Captain Gillies (later Sir Harold Gillies), met Hippolyte Morestin, while on leave in Paris in 1915. Morestin was reconstructing faces in the Val-de-Grace Hospital in Paris. Gillies fell in love with the work, and at the end of 1915 was sent back from France to start a Plastic Unit in the Cambridge Hospital.

After the Second World War, with the decline in importance of Britain’s military commitments, civilians were admitted to the hospital. It pioneered the supply of portable operating theatres and supplies for frontline duties. The hospital also contained the Army Chest Unit. It was closed on 2 February 1996 due to the high cost of running the old building as well as the discovery of asbestos in the walls.