Main Building - History

Stannington Sanatorium was the UK's first purpose-built children's tuberculosis sanatorium established by the Poor Children's Holiday Association (PCHA) and was officially opened on 5th October 1907 by The Duke of Northumberland.

Many children at this time who would ordinarily have benefited from the PCHA's work were unable to take holidays to the country homes they ran because they had TB and posed a risk of infection to the other children. The need to address the problem of TB and provide more appropriate and distinctive care was first raised by the charity's Honorary Physician, Dr Allison, in 1903, and work soon got underway to determine how best to tackle the issue. It didn't take long for the charity to commit to the building of the sanatorium along with a farm colony and boys' convalescent home on the site of White House Farm near Stannington and the foundation stones were laid in 1905.

This main building was originally all that was planned for the sanatorium and is where all the patients and staff would have been housed in its early years. The demand for its services was soon recognised and it quickly reached capacity and extensions were being built from 1911 beginning with the Lady Stephenson Wing, which was added to the west side of the original building, and it soon grew into a much larger facility.

The first 5 patients were admitted on 18th March 1908, 5 months after the official opening. Of these 5 one girl was admitted from Gateshead Workhouse, one was a 15 year old boy who had been working at Hebburn Colliery, and the other 3 came from South Shields, Heaton, and Gateshead respectively. The original plans and the charity's remit was to cover the North East, particularly the industrial areas of Newcastle and Gateshead, but it wasn't long before patients were coming from further afield including County Durham, Cumbria, Lancashire, and North Yorkshire.


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