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QEQM Hospital in Margate marks 90th birthday

In 1930, George V was on the throne, Mickey Mouse made his first appearance in a comic strip and Ramsay MacDonald was Prime Minister,

It also marked the official opening of the Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital in Margate, which celebrates its 90th birthday today.

Scenes from the opening ceremony in Margate
Scenes from the opening ceremony in Margate

Building work on the St Peter’s Road site started in 1928, with the foundation stone laid by Sir Charles Batho, the then Lord Mayor of London, and the opening ceremony was performed by Prince and Princess Arthur of Connaught.

Prince Arthur was the seventh of Queen Victoria’s nine children and his wife was a qualified nurse.

The new hospital had 87 beds and one operating theatre and replaced the old Margate Cottage Hospital, which opened in 1876 and is now Edith Court.

It cost a total of £70,000, largely raised by the Thanet community.

In 1948, the hospital became part of the newly formed NHS, and was renamed Margate General Hospital.

Nurses joined the celebrations on the day the QEQM opened
Nurses joined the celebrations on the day the QEQM opened

Over the years it became known as the Isle of Thanet District Hospital, Margate Wing, and then in 1986 Thanet District Hospital.

It was not until 1996 that it was given its current name, when Prince Charles opened the new extension leading towards Ramsgate Road and the hospital became the QEQM.

By then it had 520 beds and nine operating theatres, and had absorbed staff, patients and services from the Royal Sea Bathing Hospital, which closed in the same year.

Staff plan to mark the QEQM’s 90th birthday with a socially distanced celebration featuring a display of the hospital’s history, as well as cakes for patients and medical teams.

Speeches at the opening ceremony on July 3, 1930
Speeches at the opening ceremony on July 3, 1930

Susan Acott, chief executive of East Kent Hospitals, said: “Thousands and thousands of people have been cared for at the QEQM in its nine decades. And thousands more staff have cared for them, working through challenges from the Second World War to the current coronavirus pandemic.

“The hospital has featured in countless family celebrations and tragedies and has a real place in the hearts of many in our community.

“While we may not be able to have the celebrations we had planned, we will still mark the occasion in a socially distanced way and give thanks for the decades of service.”

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