Happy 85th birthday to the Kent and Canterbury Hospital

KCH 1937 opening Duke of Kent and Marina and staff. Sepia image showing nurses lined up with the Duke and Duchess of Kent walking between them.
The Duke and Duchess of Kent at the opening of the Kent and Canterbury Hospital in 1937

Published 15 July 2022

Happy birthday to the Kent and Canterbury Hospital, which turned 85 yesterday.

The hospital was officially opened on 14 July 1937, by the Duke and Duchess of Kent, almost exactly two years after the Duke laid the foundation stone, on 12 July 1935.

The land for the hospital had cost £2,500 and the construction and equipment £150,182 and 18 shillings.

In the beginning, the hospital was confined to the white art-deco style buildings – the main site and what is now the Trust offices.

It has expanded over the years, with some of the latest additions being the Elective Orthopaedic Centre, which opened its doors last year, a new interventional radiology centre, and dental training lab.

Staff and patients also benefit from the latest technology, including robotic surgery and 3D printed models of body parts to help plan and visualise procedures.

One person who has witnessed many of the changes over the years is lead volunteer Niall Greathead, who was born at the K&C.

He said: “I take huge pride in the fact that I volunteer in the hospital I was born in.

“Even in the time that I have been volunteering the trust, the hospital and the health service in general has changed. I am proud of the history of the hospital and all that everyone who has ever worked here has achieved.

“The staff at the hospital have saved my life at least twice and to work along some of those people fills me with immense pride because I am only here because of the skills and the expertise of those people.

“My dad was also part of history when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and he was part of the first batch of patients to have his prostate removed via a robot controlled by the surgeon.          

“No matter what I or my family have been through, when we have required treatment the staff and care we have received has been exceptional

“I am proud to volunteer in a hospital where I can make a difference and people will often go above and beyond what is expected.”

Teams celebrated the birthday with a display of photographs of the hospital over the years, courtesy of library staff.

The Kent and Canterbury Hospital in 1936. Black and white image shows a white buildling under construction in a field
The hospital during its construction in 1936
Crowds at the opening of the Kent and Canterbury Hospital in 1937. Black and white image shows the art deco main hospital building with balcony and crowds gathered outside.
Crowds at the opening of the hospital in 1937