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Date: 13 June 2021
History of the old Queen Elizabeth Hospital
The old Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) was built, along with the adjoining Medical School, next to the University of Birmingham in the 1930s.
It was designed to be at the leading edge of healthcare in Birmingham and across the country, consolidating the services of the city's 18th century teaching hospitals.
QEH was opened in Edgbaston in the late 1930s. When construction began at the site in 1933, it marked a new departure for medicine in Birmingham, linking hospital and academic medicine on a single site.
In the words of the architects responsible for the hospital's design, "Modern hospital and medical practice demands there shall be organic and integral connection between the scientist and the clinician for the most efficient treatment of the patient."
The Medical School had previously been located in the city centre, some distance between the city's main teaching hospitals; the Queen's Hospital (opened 1841), the General Hospital (opened in 1779 and rebuilt in 1897), and the University of Birmingham (opened in 1900).
A larger hospital was also required to care for the expanding population of Birmingham, referred to at that time as the "Second City". Any place which lays claim to such a title must also continually invest in its future.
Though a new departure for Birmingham medicine when it first opened on 31 December 1938, QEH is part of a much longer story that had begun a century and a half earlier.
With the new Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham up and running, this is an opportune moment to reflect on changes and continuities over a period that has witnessed the emergence of modern hospital medicine.
By Dr Jonathan Reinarz and Professor Robert "Bob" Allan
Information about travelling to, staying at and getting around the hospital.
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