The Royal Alexandra Hospital, Rhyl
The Royal Alexandra Hospital
Look up to see the weather vane depicting a fox in full flight! In 1898 the Duke of Westminster promised £10,000 towards the building fund of this hospital if his horse, “Flying Fox”, won his next race at Sandown Park. His horse won and a telegram was sent to the matron with the words: “The ten will be sent.”
The origins of the hospital began in 1872 when Archdeacon and Mrs Ffoulkes converted a house on East Parade into a convalescent home for sick and needy children. As demand for places grew, the Baths Hotel (on the sands opposite the top of Bath Street) was bought and became the Children’s Hospital and Convalescent Home. In 1882 Princess Alexandra of Wales became a patron of the hospital and it was named The Royal Alexandra Hospital.
The need for more space and accommodation once again became necessary and this new site was acquired.The building was designed by Alfred Waterhouse RA. It was estimated to cost £60,000, which was raised by voluntary subscription. In 1902 Prince George and Princess Mary came to Rhyl to perform the opening ceremony.
The many balconies (now filled in) on the building were an integral part of the “fresh air treatment” favoured by medical practitioners of the day. There was also a warm seawater Hydrotherapy pool and a Sun Treatment room. From 1908, some of the nurses lived in a house near the hospital which was bought in memory of Edith Vizard, the hospital's superintendent for 35 years.
The Royal Alexandra Hospital eventually became a general hospital. In 1980 a new district hospital, Ysbyty Glan Clwyd, was built in Bodelwyddan, 8km away. The RAH then became home to a geriatric unit and community wards led by General Practitioners (family doctors). In 2009 the wards were closed although out-patient, physiotherapy, X-ray and administration departments are still housed here.
A new hospital is planned for this site although the façade and the chapel will be preserved.
With thanks to Ruth Pritchard, of Rhyl History Club
Postcode: LL18 3AS
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