‘6022, High Carley Sanatorium, Ulverston’ C.1916. Edward Sankey

© Sankey Family Photography Collection.

r High Carley Sanatorium

c. 1916

Written by Martin Bellamy

The first hospital on the High Carley site, near Ulverston, was built in 1884. Set up for paupers, it primarily handled cases of scarlet fever, typhoid fever and diphtheria. It was known locally as the Fever Hospital.

A second hospital (shown) was built on the same site in 1916, by Lancashire County Council, for the treatment of tuberculous patients. Called the High Carley Sanatorium, it initially had 127 beds. TB, a contagious and potentially fatal respiratory disease, cut a swathe through many densely populated industrial regions. As patients had to be isolated, the policy was to send them away from their home towns; people from Lancashire were sent to High Carley, with just six beds reserved there for Barrow patients. In the main people from the Furness area were treated at the Meathop Sanatorium in Westmorland.

The original hospital continued to deal with local cases of infectious diseases until 1949, when it became a children’s annexe to High Carley Sanatorium. It housed children with tuberculosis, and educated them as part of High Carley Special School (see BDS 59 for more information).

By the late 1950s a marked decrease in tuberculosis cases, along with more effective treatments, led to a different use for the sanatorium. In 1959 a trial of general surgery and general medicine (particularly chest cases and orthopaedics) saw the sanatorium’s role change to that of an acute hospital. The open verandas were enclosed which, along with other improvements, created space for more wards and improved day care facilities.

The hospital was scheduled for closure in 1984, following a health authority re-organisation, and the building of Furness General Hospital.

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