Paediatric ward, Royal Alexandra Hospital, 1940s

Infant's ward at Royal Alexandra Hospital, 1940s

A beautifully colourised photograph of an infant’s ward at Royal Alexandra Hospital, now part of Royal Sussex County Hospital. The photograph shows nurses, equipped with face masks to protect the young patients from respiratory infections, bottle-feeding and tending to infants.

The hospital has seen extraordinary change since it opened as Sussex County Hospital and General Sea-Bathing Infirmary. Population growth, technological and medical advances but also social improvement has taken great leaps. When the hospital first opened, life expectancy in the UK was just over 40 years – in no small part due to very high infant mortality.

From the late 19th century onward, immunisation and better healthcare for children rapidly raised life expectancy.

Image courtesy of Brighton & Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust.