Opening in 1891, the Birmingham & Midland Ear, Nose & Throat Hospital in Edmund Street is one of a handful of what we would now call ‘sepcialist’ hospitals that were constructed around the City Centre during the 19th Century. Designed by Jethro Cossins and F. B. Peacock, the building today cuts an impressive figure as can be seen above.
The hospital closed in 1989 with a move to concentrate all medical treatment into a small number of large hospitals in the suburbs – Queen Elizabeth, East Birmingham etc.
I remember going there myself for some allergy testing in 1976 and it was incredibly antiquated then and a warren of tiny, high ceiling rooms: I don’t whether or not their wards were operational at that time – or if indeed they took in-patients at that time, or whether, as it seemed, they just ran a series of clinics and day-patient procedures: any further information would be greatly appreciated.
Whilst an impressive building, its interior was far from suited to being a modern hospital and accommodating the equipment and data systems needed for treatments today, not least due to its fairly restrictive size.
It is good to see that the building now enjoys Grade II listing status so will hopefully be around for many years to come albeit in a somewhat reduced form as it does now have a glass office edifice rising from the middle of it which, apparently, was designed to complement “beautifully the listed facade of [the] cherished building” – according to E.H.Smith who supplied the ceramic glazing tiles for the ‘One Eleven Edmund Street’ development within the facade of the hospital under the guidance of Glazzard Architects in 2001.
I, on the other hand, have a very different opinion of the ‘complementary’ nature of the construction . . .