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Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity

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Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity

Great Ormond Street Hospital was founded by Dr Charles West, who was driven by the shockingly high level of infant mortality in the capital. It was the first hospital in the UK dedicated solely to the treatment of children.

It started life in a 17th century townhouse with just 10 beds and two physicians. Since then, the hospital has been in a constant state of redevelopment to update ageing wards which have become unsuitable for the treatment of seriously ill children. 

Great Ormond Street Hospital has been supported by many notable individuals, including JM Barrie (who donated the rights of Peter Pan to the hospital in 1929), Charles Dickens, Queen Victoria and Diana Princess of Wales.

For over 160 years, Great Ormond Street Hospital has been at the forefront of developing new and better ways to treat childhood diseases, pioneering numerous breakthroughs in paediatric care.     

Prior to becoming part of the NHS in 1948, Great Ormond Street Hospital was known as a voluntary hospital, running fundraising campaigns for new buildings from the 1850s onwards. 

In the early decades of the NHS, private fundraising was heavily restricted, but the hospital was allowed to continue receiving legacies.

In 1982, the government relaxed restrictions on charitable fundraising by individual hospitals. This allowed Great Ormond Street Hospital to initiate the hugely successful national Wishing Well Appeal of 1987–8, which raised £54 million to fund the Variety Club Building. 

Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity became a separate legal entity from the hospital in 1998.

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