Photo © Tom Kirsch, opacity.us
In 1869, a man named Robert Barnes made a contribution of £26,000 to the Manchester Infirmary in hopes to build a new convalescent hospital in Cheadle, England. Construction of this new hospital, named The Barnes Convalescent Home after the generous donor, began in 1871 and was completed four years later in 1875. As an interesting side note, an 11th century preaching cross was found nearby when workmen were excavating clay to make the bricks for the hospital.
The Manchester Royal Infirmary Records describes the building and daily life as such:
"As the exterior is dvoid of elaborate and superfluous ornamentation, although it is anything but plain in general appearance, so greater attention is paid to the comfort and well-being of the patients, then to excessive display in the various apartments of the Home. The institution is, indeed, a home to those who, having passed through trying periods of ill-health, are in need of rest and quiet, with the constant care and attention afforded by a skilful doctor and a staff of nurses, who take the deepest interest in every individual case.
Order and regularity prevail throughout the establishment. Every morning at 6.30 am the nurses and servants assemble in the chapel, which forms part of the building, for prayers, after which they proceed to their several duties, the nurses being engaged in the various wards until 8 o'clock, when those patients who are able to rise adjourn to the dining hall for breakfast. During the morning the Resident Medical Officer visits all the wards, seeing each patient, and receiving reports, as to how each has progressed during the night. Dinner is provided at 12 o'clock, tea at 5 pm, and supper at 8 o'clock, after which the patient go to bed."
- Manchester Convalescent Home, Cheadle. Volume 9. published by J G Hammond, September 1898
The hospital was mainly used for geriatric care and for stroke patients later on in it's life, until its closing in September 1999 as part of a £2 million cost-cutting exercise by the Manchester Healthcare Trust. Once in a rural setting, the building now sits inside an onramp/offramp for a nearby highway, and is slated to be renovated into flats.
In September of 2005, Barnes Hospital was featured on a reality TV show called "Most Haunted Live", but was misrepresented as a psychiatric institution.