The Original Addenbrooke’s Hospital Site

Nov 23, 02:31 PM

This history trail audio is narrated by the poet Michael Rosen, with script researched by Helen Weinstein and the team at Historyworks. This recording is part of a series of Cambridge history trails which have lyrics inspired by 'history beneath our feat' performed by local schoolchildren, with poems by the top poet Michael Rosen and songs by the funny team at CBBC's songwriters commissioned by Historyworks. To find more trails and further information, go to

The name Addenbrookes is now known to present residents of Cambridge, because of "Addies" - the huge hospital and medical research institution on the outskirts of Cambridge. That is the new Addenbrooke’s Hospital opened in 1962 - but the original Addenbrooke’s site was here on Trumpington Street where the current Judge’s Business School now stands.

The original hospital was founded following a generous gift of £4,500, which was left by John Addenbrooke in his will to found a voluntary hospital for the poor people in the local area.

On 13th October 1766, Addenbrooke’s Hospital opened with 20 beds, 3 surgeons, 3 physicians, one matron and a resident apothecary (the person who made your medicines – (the profession is now called pharmacy and the shop where you collect your medicine - the chemists)

The Addenbrookes complex was also the site of an infamous 'VD' (sexual disease) clinic which is a cause of much hilarity amongst older locals because it is currently where Brown's Restaurant is.

Addenbrookes himself was indeed a pioneering medic, hugely influential in the annals of the history of medicine. He was interested in everything about how the world worked and collected all sorts of exhibits. His cabinet of curiosities has 27 drawers of various sizes – inside are seeds, powders, bones, fossils, stone axe-heads and even a wooden clog. It’s housed at his former college, St Catherine's and the college is still trying to identify exactly what all the items are.

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