Following the death of Thomas Alderson Cooke in 1856 his Priestgate Mansion was sold to the 3rd Earl Fitzwilliam, who allowed it to be used as the city’s first hospital, the Peterborough Infirmary from 1857. The infirmary was run by a charitable trust. The house remained Peterborough's Infirmary until 1928.
The Memorial Hospital was opened by Field Marshal Sir William Robertson in 1928, as a memorial to those of the city and the 6th Northamptonshire Regiment who died in the First World War, it replaced the Peterborough Infirmary; the building that had housed the infirmary becoming Peterborough Museum.
When the Memorial Hospital opened it had six wards in three blocks: separate male and female surgical and medical wards, an accident ward and a children's ward. It had 150 beds, two operating theatres, a radiology department, a small casualty department, and outpatients, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy departments. A separate hospital at Fengate was used to treat infectious diseases.
The Memorial hospital was transferred to the newly formed National Health Service in 1948.
Dr Thomas James Walker was a second generation doctor. He had a thriving practice in Westgate, and in 1862 he was appointed to the post of surgeon at the infirmary, a post he held until 1906.
He had other interests, notably local history and his archaeological finds and acquisitions formed a base for the Peterborough Museum Society collection, and he became the society's president in 1892. He was also interested in the Napoleonic prisoner of war camp at Norman Cross and wrote a book on its history, published in 1913.
In recognition of all his contributions to Peterborough and its inhabitants, on his 80th birthday in 1915, he was granted the Freedom of the city, the first native born Peterborian to be so honoured.
Following the death of Thomas Alderson Cooke in 1856 his Priestgate Mansion…
The Memorial Hospital was opened by Field Marshal Sir William Robertso…
Dr Thomas James Walker was a second generation doctor. He had a thriving pr…