Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Thames (NZ): Thames Hospital demolitions 2000-2007

Source: A Barker Collection
For over 150 years the Thames Hospital has stood on the land adjacent to Mary Street, and during this time there has been ongoing development of the hospital campus.

While the first hospital soon collapsed from general decay, there have been several other buildings all deemed modern and grand at the time they were built.

The photo top right is of the 'old' Nurses' Home. This photograph was taken in 1937, long before the later 'new' Nurses' Home was built - the one that still stands at the corner of Mary and Rolleston Streets aka The Manaaki Centre.

The photo lower right is of the Thames Hospital's main entrance that faced Baillie Street. The two storey section stood the longest and was only demolished in 2007 - to make way for the new Clinical Services Block.

2000: Photographs of the Demolition of the 'old' Nurses' Home.

ABOVE: Demolition of the 'old' Nurses' Home.
Source: N Pomfrett Collection

2005: Demolition of Ward One to Three Block
The block was built in 1955-56 and opened in 1957. Many Thamesite readers will have been either born or had children in the Ward One annexe. A small part remains and connects the new 'Inpatient Unit' to the new Sperry Lane Cafe.
Source: True Tales of Thames Hospital 1868-2018 by Thames Hospital 150 Group.

At the Thames Hospital 150 Commemorations, held November last year, we were lucky enough to see photographs of the interior of the old Ward One birthing unit.

ABOVE Left: The entry doors to the Maternity Annexe Nurseries. Right: The entry to old Ward One.

BELOW: A closer look at the viewing window of one of the Nurseries.

During the time this Maternity Annexe was open, care changed dramatically. When it opened women could stay two to three weeks, it was essential for the new mothers to have a rest and be fully competent in the care of their new baby/babies.

A time when the father's to be were not always welcomed in the birthing room, or chose not to be there. A time when visiting hours were very limited and when only the father could visit at night.

The mother's inpatient time was reduced to a week, then even less. Babies would be cared for in the nursery - one for newborns and one for babies who were older. Do you remember when the babies would be taken to the mother's bedside for feeding? Then taken back to the nursery.

There were a few single rooms at the north end of the ward, a sitting room, and four bedded rooms. There were two delivery rooms off the main ward corridor,

Maybe you can remember visiting hours when all the babies would be propped up in their cots under the slanted viewing windows (shown above). Changes in the 1980s saw babies being by their mother's bed during the day - a radical move at the time!!

The Ward One to Three Block prior to demolition in 2005, from the Bella Street carpark.
Source: L Holden Collection,

Further Reading:
True Tales of Thames Hospital by the Thames Hospital 150 Group.