Last Days: A Photo Essay.

The final days of the Royal Alexander Children’s Hospital. Amongst the very last images made at the hospital before it’s closure in 2007. An unauthorised photo scrapbook by photographer JJ Waller. Strictly no reproduction in any form without permission.

Comments about this page

  • How good to see that someone has at least taken pictures before the building is done away with. I do hope somebody will also do the same for the interior and all the building at the Brighton General, before that two is radically altered and some blocks demolished for housing. The local council actually own the General site not the NHS, so once they get their hands on it who knows what will be done. The way ward closurers are going it will not be to far in the futrue before the whole site will close.

    By Kenneth Ross (07/02/2008)
  • Kenneth I believe that the NHS took a comprehensive set of pictures themselves. Hopefully they are doing the same at the General.
    The NHS Trust were most unhelpful and obstructive towards me. I photographed what I could anyway driven by feeling that it was an important set of pictures to make.
    The general opinion around the Dials where I live is that the developers plans are uninspired, unimaginative and unwanted. Knocking the building down as with the equally characterful old Ear Nose and Throat Hospital around the corner would be a great loss. Once these buildings are gone thats it. Shortsighted? The swell of local feeling is that the main fascade should at least be retained. I suspect many people would rather live in a converted building with character than in a non descript “anywheresville” lego apartment block, like that proposed.
    Most of Wimpey’s support comes from a local surgery that will get a nice new practise out of the demolition. The retiring doctor can then cash in his freehold on the old surgery. The proposed new pharmacy on the site will challenge the two fine chemists already nearby, we need local shops and shouldn’t be sacrificing them too a developers trade off. The policy in Brighton with developers seems to be to re-submit re-submit and re-submit until permission is granted.
    The big boys and girls can afford to bide their time, they can afford costly appeals and to push the council’s officers into submission. I have no doubt if you or I had bought the site there would be no way the Council would let us knock it down. It will be a sad day when the wreckers move in, my photo essay is far from over.

    By JJ Waller (08/02/2008)
  • Dear JJ – Please excuse the salutation as there is no christian name given. May I suggest you have a look at a site I set up for nurses trained at the General who were there when it was a separate training school for nurses. It contains many many, and I do mean many, photographs of the activities and some parts of the hospital. It is: I Hope you enjoy a visit to it and I would be please to have your comments.

    By Kenneth Ross (10/02/2008)
  • What happened to the foundation stone plaque?

    By Liam (13/02/2008)
  • I believe the plaque has been erected on the new childrens block at the RSCH. Very sad to see the ‘old alex’ go. The atmosphere was great in the old days working there. I don’t suppose the new block has the same feel.

    By Jackie Burlison (08/03/2008)
  • Yes, the plaque is outside the new hospital, the photos brought back loads of memories, I was at the farewell party. I often drive by to see if demolition has begun, and see what is happening to the old coach house and Powis Villas, happy times at the nurses home!

    By Gill Barnes (08/03/2008)
  • My friend in Canada sent these photos to me. We trained together at the Alex for RSCN from 1981 to 1982. We both agreed that we have many happy memories of our time there and were sad to hear of the closure. It was a great place. I am so glad that these photos were taken.

    By Nan Booth (31/03/2008)
  • I trained at the Alex in 1975 group 3/75. I am now a practice nurse. The Alex was a special place and it was so lovely to see your photos.

    By Joanna Dyckes (15/10/2008)
  • I am so sad to see that the Alex has been closed. What has happened to the building? I live in Canada now which explains my ignorance. I stayed in the Isolation ward due to mumps back in 1970. I still have my hospital bracelet. My own children spent time there when they were ill. I have an affinity with older buildings and always feel crushed when they are left to deteriorate or deemed to be demolished.

    By Fiona Coleman (nee: McKechnie) (12/03/2009)
  • I was so pleased to find this site & see the photos of the Alex. I worked there from 1960 -2005, It was a great place to work & I have so many good memories. I moved away to Cambridgeshire in 2005 after retiring & have been thinking a lot about the nurses I knew back throughout my time at the Alex. Has anybody got any ideas on how I can trace nurses names in my training year 1960-1963? My memory isn’t as good as it was. The new hospital looks great & I’m sure it will soon develop the same wonderful atmosphere as the old one.

    By Mrs. Hilery Bond (04/09/2009)
  • I had my tonsils out here in about 1963/1964. It was not a very enjoyable experience, I wouldn’t stop crying and this resulted in my temperature being too high, so I wasn’t allowed home for ten days or so but I do remember the kindness of the nurses. Looking at these pictures has brought back memories. Some years later I attended the orthodontist department for about two years. Do hope the buildings can be salvaged or preserved, if not another Brighton landscape will be lost forever.

    By Maggie Williams (nee Doogan) (10/02/2010)
  • I spent alot of time in and out of here between 1979 and 1989, I have many fond memories. I owe so much to my fantastic surgeon Dr Crimble who always wanted my ribbons from my hair and those of you that remember him will know he was bald. Anyone know what happened to the rockinghorse in outpatients?

    By Joanne Powell (27/05/2010)
  • I spent so much time in and out of the Alex from 1972-1983. Fond but vague memories, some good, some bad. Thanks so much for putting the photos on. I’d love to get in there and take some photos myself before it goes. Fond memories of a nurse called Claire, who spent a lot of time with me whilst I was there. I remember learning how to make nurses hats out of card and how to make a hospital bed properly. I  loved the Matron who used to be on the Taaffe ward during the early 1970s. Have no idea what her name was. I would love to find these nurses to say ‘thanks’ one day.

    By Carol Homewood (10/11/2010)
  • I  spent a lot of time between 1975 and 1979 in and out of the Alex. Have some lovely memories of the place, although had a stomach operation in 1978 under the care of Mr Howarth and kept in the Blanche ward for a few weeks; very sad to see the Alex no longer in Dyke Road but at least mum doesn’t have to walk up and down the hill anymore.

    By David Switzer (06/03/2018)
  • I spent 2 weeks there as a 6 year old. I clearly remember the entire ward of children being put to sleep at the same time – sedated. Everyone was crying. Apparently we were all being operated on at the same time! This now seems unlikely, so what was going on! This was early 70s. When I came round in a different bed lying at the wrong end, everyone else was waking up and crying. I’m now genuinely concerned about what happened to us. Parents were not encouraged, so we were alone. Anyone else with similar experiences please report here and we can get to the bottom of this.

    By Alison (13/08/2018)

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