The Radcliffe Infirmary

In the eighteenth century an increasing number of voluntary hospitals, known as infirmaries, were built on private philanthropy. In 1758 the Radcliffe Trustees resolved to give £4,000 to build such a hospital in Oxford and in August the following year the foundation stone was laid on a site on the Woodstock Road adjacent to the Radcliffe Observatory. The first patients were admitted on 18 October 1770.

The Radcliffe Trustees made it clear that the work of the Infirmary depended on the 'benevolence and voluntary subscription' of the public. The Infirmary remained an independent hospital until the National Health Service was formed in 1948. It was acquired by the University in 2003 and closed for medical use in 2007. Today the original building is occupied by the University's Humanities divisional office, the Faculty of Philosophy and the Philosophy and Theology Faculities Library.

The opening of the new John Radcliffe Hospital in Headington in the 1970s ensured, however, that Radcliffe's name would continue to be linked with his life's work, and the source of his great wealth: the daily practice of medicine.

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Sketch of the Radcliffe Camera
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