Report - Maiden Law Hospital Mortuary - Co. Durham - May 2016

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28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Jul 2, 2009
Building of the hospital at Maiden Law commenced in 1939, although it wasn't until 1945 it was completed and opened as an Infection Diseases Hospital. A smaller smallpox hospital had been built earlier in the century over the road, but was only occasionally used and after being converted to a factory, it burnt down in the 1950's.
With the advancement of medications such as penicillin and antibiotics, admissions of Whooping Cough, Scarlet Fever and Diptheria were drastically reduced rendering the function of the hospital useless. This aspect of care was transferred to the nearby Chester-le-Street Hospital.
With the development of the Chest Clinic at nearby Villa Real, it became necessary to have a Hospital dealing with the Medical in-patient treatment of chest diseases, in particular tuberculosis, and very soon Maiden Law’s prime function was that of a small Sanitorium. Here was an ideal site for the long term bed rest so necessary for this disease. There were however, no facilities for major surgical treatment of tuberculosis and these cases still had to be admitted to other hospitals further away in the county.
As modern treatment controls tuberculosis, the number of admissions for this disease were being reduced, and this then enabled one of the wards to be used as a Convalescent Department for cases from Shotley Bridge Hospital. In addition there was always been a 30 bedded Ear, Nose and Throat Department, an offshoot of Dryburn Hospital and in 1963 a 24-bedded Orthopaedic Ward was set up.
With other hospital sites nearby able to provide the same amount of care, the hospital at Maiden Law was closed in a phased process from the 1980's to early 1990's.
In 1989 the Willowburn Hospice took over part of the site, and as of today they now operate in a much more modern building towards the bottom of the site.
The other hospital buildings are sealed up tightly awaiting demolition, but as has been reported many times before, the mortuary appears to have been slightly forgotten about. In it's short life I bet the mortuary here was never really used a great deal. It consists of a fridge room with small refrigeration unit for up to six deceased, post mortem room with revolving slab, various toilets and what would be an office or relatives room.








Krypton :)

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