Northampton General Hospital & the Shoe Barons

northampton general

THE vital role that shoe barons played in building Northampton General Hospital is being explored in the NGH archive.

A section of the historical store is dedicated to various bosses of shoe factories whose names live on in parts of the hospital.

Among them are William Barratt, Sir James Crockett and Thomas Singlehurst.

Sue Longworth, a former trauma theatre sister at NGH, who is now an archive volunteer, said: “A lot of the hospital we see today was built with funds raised by the philanthropy of rich people, many of whom were in the shoe industry.”

The records and pictures show that Mr Barratt donated £20,000 in 1936 to build the Barratt Maternity Home because he and his wife were unable to have children.

The Singlehurst opthalmology ward was established by Mr Singlehurst with a donation after he discovered he was going blind.

Julia Corps, another volunteer, who worked in the pathology lab at NGH, said: “What is quite amazing is that many of their donations only arose because of things that had happened to them in their own lives.

“But for that, the hospital may have looked quite different.”

People can visit the historical archive, which features many more exhibits, by appointment on Wednesday mornings.

To do so call +44 (0) 1604 544868.

Article originally produced in the Northampton Chronicle & Echo

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