Little Bits of History


Posted in History by patriciahysell on February 14, 2015
Great Ormond Street Hospital

Great Ormond Street Hospital

February 14, 1852: Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) is founded. It was originally called the Hospital for Sick Children and was the first in-patient hospital in England specifically for children. Dr. Charles West was born in London in 1816 and became one of the great physicians of his time. He specialized in obstetrics and pediatrics. Under his guidance, GOSH came into being on this day with just ten beds available. Queen Victoria and Charles Dickens were both early supporters of the hospital and helped it to become one of the world’s leading children’s hospitals. Other notables from England who have helped were Audrey Callaghan, wife of former Prime Minister, and Diana, Princess of Wales who served as president of the Hospital from 1989 until her death.

St. Christopher’s Chapel, part of the hospital, was designed by Edward Barry, son of the architect who designed the Houses of Parliament. The chapel was built in 1875 and dedicated to Caroline Barry, sister-in-law of Edward. It was Caroline who donated £40,000 to build the chapel as well as provide a stipend for the chaplain. It was built in an “elaborate Franco-Italianate style” and decorated in the Byzantine style. It is located in the Variety Club Building of the hospital. Since it was built to minister to sick children and their families, many of the details refer to childhood. At the back of the chapel, a row of teddy bears and other soft toys form the Teddy Bear Choir.

The old hospital was demolished in the 1980s. The chapel was considered a work of art in itself and was moved to its new location via a “concrete raft” in order to prevent damage while en route. The stained glass and furniture were removed during the move and refurbished prior to reinstallation. The chapel was reopened along with the new Variety Club Building on February 14, 1994 with Princess Diana, then president of GOSH, doing the honors.

In April 1929, JM Barrie gave his copyright to the Peter Pan works to the hospital, with a provision that the income from this source not be disclosed. GOSH controlled the rights to these works and was entitled to royalties from any performance of the play or publications of the novel. Barrie died in 1937 and so fifty years later the copyright ran out. The UK government granted the hospital a perpetual right to collect royalties for public performances, commercial publication, or other communications to the public of the work. The UK copyright was later extended to 2007 by a European Union directive in 1996 meeting the standard of EU terms of the author’s life plus 70 years. GOSH and US have been in dispute over this since in the US, copyright is based on publication date and the novel was published in 1911. This would put the work in the public domain. GOSH claims the 1928 version of the play is still under copyright in the US.

Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.

Life is a long lesson in humility.

Dreams do come true, if we only wish hard enough, You can have anything in life if you will sacrifice everything else for it.

Shall we make a new rule of life from tonight: always to try to be a little kinder than is necessary? – all from James M. Barrie

Also on this day: Opening Night – In 1895, The Importance of Being Earnest opened in London.
Smooch – In 270, St. Valentine was executed.
Scarface vs. Bugs – In 1929, the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre took place in Chicago.
Apostles – In 1835, The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles were first named.
Women Can Vote – In 1920, the League of Women Voters was formed.


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