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Palmer Memorial Hospital

The hospital was named Palmer Memorial Hospital it opened its doors in the December of 1870. Running cost was met from workers’ contributions and an annual grant from Palmer itself. The staff included a full-time doctor, matron, and nurses. The hospital was a much-needed improvement.

The establishment of Palmer Memorial Hospital in December 1870 marked a significant improvement in medical care for the workers in Jarrow. Before the hospital’s opening, injured individuals had to endure an unsafe journey by horse and cart to the Newcastle Infirmary, which often resulted in tragic outcomes, as many could not survive the arduous trip

Jarrow First Hospital

Charles Palmer, deeply concerned for the well-being of the workers, took his late wife Jane’s expressed worries to heart. Recognizing the urgent need for a local medical facility, he deemed the construction of the hospital a fitting tribute to her memory. The hospital was named Palmer Memorial Hospital, and its operating expenses were covered by contributions from the workers themselves, supplemented by an annual grant from Charles Palmer himself.

The hospital boasted a dedicated team of medical professionals, including a full-time doctor, matron, and nurses. This staffing ensured that the injured workers received prompt and attentive care, a vast improvement compared to the unsafe journey patients used to face being transported to Newcastle by horse and cart

Accidents Happen

During that era, safety measures such as nets, hard hats, and other protective equipment commonly found in modern shipyards were unheard of. As a result, accidents at the shipyard and steelworks posed significant risks to the lives of both men and boys employed there.

Tragically, fatalities were not uncommon. For instance, a devastating incident claimed the life of a 14-year-old boy who became entangled with a machine. Additionally, a 38-year-old man lost his life when he was struck by a train while crossing the company railway line. These incidents serve as poignant reminders of the dangers workers faced in an era without the safety advancements we enjoy today.

Mixed Population

The shipyard in Jarrow attracted many Irish workers who left their homeland searching for employment opportunities. Over time, this influx of Irish workers and Scottish immigrants, formed a vibrant and diverse community in Jarrow, contributing greatly to the town’s future development and way of life.

While originally established to cater to the needs of the workers and their families, Palmer Memorial Hospital gradually expanded its services to benefit all town residents. By the late 1880s, an extension known as the Jubilee Wing was added to the existing hospital, further enhancing its facilities and capacity.

Sir Charles Palmer, the visionary behind the hospital, passed away on June 4, 1907. A statue erected in his honor on the hospital grounds in 1904 commemorated his significant contributions. Despite his demise, the company continued to invest in the town’s hospital, demonstrating a commitment to the community’s future health.

Healthcare Needs

In December 1920, Sir Alfred Molyneux Palmer inaugurated a new outpatient department, reaffirming the Palmer family’s dedication to the hospital’s further development. However, with the collapse of the company in 1933, the responsibility for maintaining the hospital fell to the town council.

Having served the community for over a century, the hospital faced challenges in keeping up with the evolving healthcare needs and standards. Over time, it became increasingly impractical to continue operating the original facility. Ultimately, in November 1983, the hospital closure signaled its demise, and at a later date, the building was demolished.

The Here And Now

At the time of post, a modern hospital stands on the same site where the Memorial Hospital once stood. The new healthcare facility serves the community, providing improved and up-to-date medical services to meet the needs of the residents of Jarrow. It stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of Sir Charles Mark Palmer and his commitment to the well-being of the town and its people.

The renewed iteration of the Palmer Community Hospital, a symbol of progress and continuity, was finalized in 1987. The momentous occasion of its inauguration was graced by the presence of Her Royal Highness, Princess Royal, who officially opened the hospital. This significant event underscored the importance of the hospital in providing essential healthcare services to the community and marked a new chapter in the town’s healthcare journey. With the support and patronage of esteemed individuals like Princess Royal, the Palmer Community Hospital continues to uphold its commitment to serving the medical needs of the people with modern facilities and compassionate care.

The South Tyneside And Sunderland Health Authority still owns the hospital. The picture shows what the new building looks like today. You can see in the distance on the left of the photo that the original house that used to be attached to the old Palmer Hospital now holds the status of a listed building.

It is sadly rumored that the hospital may be on the verge of closing for the last time. The NHS (National Health Service) is incurring high expenses by hiring agency staff due to a “shortage of nurses and care workers”.

Some may argue that given the present government’s history of privatization, and cuts made to the health service over their reign in office they would like to see our health service Privatised. I feel it would be just another “moment in history” as far as I see it.

Note. Sadly I hope wherever this rumor came from of this closure is wrong but somehow I doubt it (Shahd).