Romsey cottage hospital in Greatbridge Road had served the residents of Romsey and surrounding villages since 1899 but by 1928 the supporters’ committee agreed that the existing building was inadequate and that a new hospital was needed.

A site on Winchester Hill, described as ‘unequalled’, was purchased and a specification agreed with the architect.

This provided for beds in separate wards for men, women, and children; an operating theatre, X-ray facilities, accommodation for staff, out-patients, a mortuary, and waiting rooms.

It was agreed that there should be some private wards as they would be ‘… a profitable source of income for the hospital;’ the cost was estimated to be about £13,000 (just under £1m today) all of which would have to be raised by the community.

Hampshire Chronicle: The operating theatre

Fundraising got off to a good start with £1,000 being pledged by each of two donors and many smaller sums were soon received. Work soon started with the foundation stone being laid on 22 July 1931 by Mrs Frances Langford whose husband had made the initial £1000 donation. Other major donations were received, including funding for X-ray equipment and operating theatre equipment. Building work proceeded quickly and the hospital was opened on 31 May 1932 by Mrs Crosfield of Embley Park, whose husband, Joseph Crosfield, was President of the Hospital Committee and a major donor.

The eventual cost of £16,000 was almost completely covered by donations with a deficit of only £1,500 remaining. At the conclusion of the opening ceremony all the patients were transferred from the old hospital to the new.

The committee did not rest on its laurels, however; they immediately started planning to extend the hospital. First, they added a new children’s ward, named after Mrs Crosfield in honour of her work for the hospital,  and shortly after in January 1935 a new maternity ward (previously maternity provision was only for private patients) and an out-patients ward were opened, the latter two wards were built entirely at the expense of Mr and Mrs Crosfield.

The hospital could then accommodate a maximum of 32 in-patients, up from only 25. The new out-patients ward was particularly welcomed, dealing as it did with up to 40 cases a week.

Fundraising was a continuing effort with many differing organisations in Romsey and the surrounding villages organising events and collections to support the hospital.