'It's a legend that's being taken away'

SCRAPPING the name Pinderfields would be like "erasing history," a local expert has said.

Researcher Mark Davis has spent years building up a history of Stanley Royd and Pinderfields hospitals.

He said: "Taking away the hospital's name is wiping out whole parts of history. Pinderfields has been Pinderfields since the 1940s and the new hospital should take its name. It's a legend that is being taken away."

Pinderfields started as part of the West Riding Pauper Lunatic Asylum (later Stanley Royd). The asylum's medical director, Dr William Bevan Lewis, felt that recently diagnosed mental patients should be treated in separate surroundings – and the only way to achieve this was to build an entirely new hospital.

Building began in 1867 and The Acute Hospital opened on March 8, 1900, at a total cost of 69,000.

But the outbreak of war changed the history of the hospital when, in 1939, it was designated as an emergency hospital to treat the war injured.

Farmland next to the hospital was acquired for the expansion and the mental patients were transferred to asylums across West Riding.

The first matron, Alice Whalley, took an immediate dislike to the title Wakefield Emergency Hospital and realising that the hospital stood on the site of fields once occupied by the Pinder of Wakefield, she persuaded the hospital board to re-name it 'Pinder Fields.'

Wounded soldiers from Dunkirk were treated at the hospital, as were civilians injured in the Hull air raids.

Mr Davis, of Howarth, said: "Pinderfields has a rich history and people have great affection for the name. It is where people have worked, lived and died. Pinderfields is very much in their hearts."

For more on the history on Wakefield's hospitals, visit www.stanleyroydhospital.co.uk