Prior to the NHS, the hospital regularly fundraised through efforts like the one described in this poster, or charitable events. The centenary was a major event in the hospital’s history, and the goal of this initiative was to raise funds for 225 new beds.
The hospital has always struggled with a shortage of beds and nurses. When it was built (starting in 1826), the intention was not to provide healthcare for all who needed it, but for a selection of the deserving poor (and initially only males). Those who could afford it were visited by physicians in their homes. Hospital expansions between the wars benefited mostly women and children.