~Hospitals & Health~
1379 the plague (Black death) arrived in Airedale. There were 109 people in Keighley in 1379.
1675 The parish was hit by a fatal Plaque epidemic called "The Jolly Rant". The number of deaths recorded in the parish registers for 1675 were 105, whereas the normal death rate per year was 40. "This disorder was accompanied with a severe cold and violent cough, which prevailed to such an extent, and affected people so universally, that during Divine service it was almost impossible to hear distinctly a single sentence of the sermon."
Hospital area now covered with housing By Ian Dewhirst (He is commenting on a photo of St Johns)
Judging by the presence of the bungalows towards the top of the picture (not displayed), this aerial view of the Fell Lane Infirmary - latterly better known as St John's Hospital - probably dates from about 1960.
Fell Lane curves across the top of the scene, with Holmewood Road branching off about the middle, whilst houses in Westburn Avenue appear in the bottom left-hand corner. The entire hospital site and the fields on its left are now occupied by housing.
The Infirmary was built originally to serve the Keighley Poor Law Union. "Resolved", a Board of Guardians' minute of 1872 epitomizes its solid mid-Victorian character, "that the Slaters of the New Infirmary supply no slate except Westmorland and North Lancashire Slate and that no other slate be accepted."
Subsequent additions included phthisis pavilions for consumptives in 1904 and a Nurses' Home in 1927. As an Auxiliary War Hospital during the Great War it housed 185 servicemen's beds and treated 1,052 military patients.
Eventually specialising in geriatric and maternity cases, its last patients were transferred to the new Airedale General Hospital in 1970. St. John's was demolished three years later, just a century after its opening.
Taken from the Keighley News
Advances made in treatment By Ian Dewhirst
Here are some of the 13,214 servicemen who (not displayed), between 1915 and 1919, were treated in the Keighley War Hospital, at Morton Banks, and its auxiliaries at Victoria Hospital, the Fell Lane Infirmary, Spencer Street Congregational Sunday Schools and Skipton.
Reality, rather than heroics, is suggested by their slogan: "Bliss in Blighty".
The central War Hospital was housed in the Keighley and Bingley Fever Hospital, enlarged to accommodate 746 beds, many in temporary structures of asbestos and wood: J and K Wards held respectively 156 and 158 beds.
Local doctors and surgeons were given officer ranks in the Royal Army Medical Corps and the Keighley public provided both practical and financial support.
The majority of soldiers - 10,235 - arrived from overseas convoys, a total of 73 ambulance trains pulling into Keighley Railway Station, many during the night. There were 114 deaths, including 42 German prisoners-of-war in the great influenza epidemic at the end of the war.
Advances were made in the treatment of tetanus, gas poisoning and gangrene, the Keighley War Hospital being visited by American surgeons studying developments in military surgery.