1. ITV Report

Luton & Dunstable Hospital celebrates 80th Birthday

Luton & Dunstable celebrates 80th Birthday. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Luton & Dunstable Hospital has marked its 80th Birthday with live music, an exhibition about its history and a special cake.

The hospital had been asking people to share their own family history with them over the decades.

Archive of Luton & Dunstable Hospital. Credit: L & D

"It's a special day because it's a celebration of the progression of the Trust and a celebration of the workforce. It's a celebration most of all for the advancement of patient care. The Neo-natal unit in particular, where we were 80 years ago, to where we are now, it's such a proud moment and definitely a legacy for us."

– Suminthra Naidu, Operational Manager, Neo-natal services
A choir sang as part of a special service. Credit: ITV News Anglia

"They selected this piece of ground, but it was in the middle of nowhere, there was nothing. Originally it was just going to be a hospital for Luton, everyone complained as it was too far out from anything, if you look at it now it's right in the middle of everything."

– Janet Graham, Former Sister and current Governor for volunteers
The hospital has many photos from the 1940s in its archives. Credit: Luton & Dunstable Hospital

Because the NHS wasn't created until 1948, the hospital was built, equipped and maintained as a voluntary organisation for the first nine years of its existence thanks to the generosity of the local community.

It was officially opened 80 years ago on February 14 by Queen Mary. Then it had 170 beds, two operating theatres with 59 nurses all living on site, who were working around 52 hours a week and earning around £1.85 a month.

Fast forward 80 years and the hospital now boasts 660 beds, 15 operating theatres, and more than 4,300 staff including doctors, nurses, allied health professionals, administrative and support personnel, as well as 300 volunteers from the local area.

Queen Mary opened the hospital. Credit: ITV News Anglia
Lindsay Box's mother in the 1940s. Credit: L & D

"It's a special day for me because my mother trained here in 1943, she was a young woman and lived here and trained here for three years and she's told me so many stories about the L & D. As I walk the corridors, I feel as though I'm walking in my mother's footsteps."

– Lindsay Box, hospital volunteer