In 1860 the Board of Governors of Addenbrooke’s were greatly concerned that the Hospital accommodation was overcrowded, old fashioned in design and inconvenient. A new building committee was soon appointed and they wrote a report with suggested requirements.
These included an improved out-patients department, which was to have a large waiting hall and a large dispensary. The wards were to have more cubic space per bed. The water closets were to be improved with a bathroom for each ward and there was a need for some 2 or 3 bed wards for patients who were noisy!!
The kitchens were to be enlarged and speaking tubes and lifts were to be installed, this work would make the ‘health of the servants would be more assured and economise on labour’. Finally they said a porter’s lodge was needed.
They requested that an architect be engaged and his instructions included some matters of importance: ‘the drains should not be under the Hospital, the walls of the new and enlarged walls should be of white polished Parian cement, there was to be ample windows on more than one side of each ward, and that the operation room should be on the upper storey and conveniently situated with regards to the wards.’
The report was adopted and a competition was organised for architects to submit their plans. The winner was Matthew Digby Wyatt, who had assisted Isambard Kingdom Brunel on the London terminus of the Great Western Railway at Paddington Station in 1854.