Yeovil Hospitals - fiveways

fiveways hospital

Yeovil's first hospital, 1872-1922


By the middle 1860s it was clear that the Yeovil General Dispensary was rapidly outgrowing the facilities at Kingston. A plot of land at Fiveways, the last vestiges of a former field known as Batt's Corner, was purchased for £410 (about £230,000 at today's value) in 1868 as the site of a new, permanent hospital to supersede the Dispensary.

An open design competition was held for the proposed new hospital and 27 submissions were received. The competition winner was a Mr Johnson of London and the building contract was awarded to local builder Frederick Cox. The new 20-bed Fiveways Hospital was built at a cost of £1,195 (about £630,000 at today's value), the foundation stone being laid by Miss Charlotte Goodford of Chilton Cantelo on 31 May 1871. The hospital opened in January 1872 just as an outbreak of smallpox hit Yeovil.

In the 1911 census there were seven staff 'living in' including Matron Sarah Harris, Sister Harriett Carstairs, three nurses and two servants. Additionally there were eleven patients. The longest serving member of staff was Dr Charles Marsh, who was associated with Yeovil's hospitals from 1880 until 1926.

As with the General Dispensary before, by the time of the First World War it was becoming clear that the Fiveways Hospital was too small for its purpose. In 1916 the hospital trustees purchased Kingston Manor, from the estate of Thomas Dampier-Bide, together with its extensive grounds, with the intention of building a new larger general hospital. When the new hospital opened in 1923, Fiveways Hospital became the new Maternity Unit.

In 1968 a new maternity unit opened and Fiveways became redundant. The Fiveways Hospital was finally demolished in 1969 and the site was lost as the new Fiveways roundabout was developed.




Photographed by Thomas Clarke between May and December 1874 from Kingston, and showing the new hospital at Fiveways and the Kingston Toll Gates. This is probably the earliest photograph of the new hospital that had opened just two years earlier, in January 1872.


Courtesy of South Somerset Heritage Collection

Fiveways Hospital photographed around 1885 by Henry Stiby.


This photograph was taken by Yeovil Photographer Jarratt Beckett and published in his 1897 book  "Somerset viewed through a Camera".


Courtesy of Jack Sweet

Fiveways Hospital, photographed in 1906.


From my collection

Fiveways Hospital featured in a postcard dated 1903.


From my collection. This photograph features in my book "Lost Yeovil"

Judging by the size of the trees outside the hospital, this postcard dates to about 1908.


From my collection

This hand-coloured postcard with an integral frame was part of a series of Yeovil postcards produced around 1910. This example was posted in 1911.


From my collection. This image features in my book 'Yeovil - The Postcard Collection'.

The full image of the previous postcard used as a postcard in its own right. This example was posted in 1913.


A slightly different view in 1912, showing a relatively narrow Ilchester Road with the car in it.


From my collection. This photograph features in my book "Lost Yeovil"

A postcard of the men's ward at the hospital. The matron poses with several nurses and patients. Photographed in 1909.


From my collection

The matron and several nurses in the women's ward at Fiveways Hospital. Photographed in 1909.


The Operating Theatre of Fiveways Hospital, probably photographed around 1910.


Courtesy of Jack Sweet

Yeovil Hospital staff photographed on 20 March 1915.


This postcard of 1924 shows an equally-narrow Preston Road running off to the left.


From my collection  -  This photograph features in my book 'Yeovil From Old Photographs'.

Fiveways photographed in the early 1950s by HA 'Jack' Cooper, when the roundabout still had its black and white markings - painted on during the war so that it was easier to see in the blackout.


From my collection

A postcard, of the 1950s, showing the relative position of the hospital to the Five Crossroads roundabout, as seen from Kingston.


This colourised photograph of the early 1960s shows the hospital facing the Fiveways Roundabout when it really did have five ways and before the roundabout grew out of all proportion. Kingston at bottom left, Preston Road at left with the bus, Ilchester Road at centre to the right of the hospital, Mudford Road with the car and motorbike exiting and Higher Kingston at bottom right.


The hospital was demolished in 1969, photographed from Fiveways Roundabout. At right is the terrace of houses called Tavener's Row, later Primrose Cottages.


From the Cave Collection (colourised), Courtesy of South Somerset Heritage Collection

A 1969 photograph taken from Fiveways Crossroads and looking down Preston Road towards the Somerset Inn after the demolition of the hospital.


Courtesy of Nick Hyde

... and seen later that year.