Nearly 100 years ago, in the autumn of 1914, hospitals for the wounded were the nation’s imperative and immediate need.
In Cheshire, the Tarporley district responded well with Bunbury, Peckforton Castle, Calveley Hall, Willington Hall and Portal each offering hospital accommodation.
The latter was directly controlled by those who for years had fostered the idea of a cottage hospital at Tarporley.
Under the guidance of the British Red Cross Society, Portal, along with the rest, became a hospital, accepting patients from October 1914 to February 1919.
When the First World War ended, some felt that the lives of those who had not returned should be commemorate in a material way.
A public meeting was held in the Town Hall on April 1, 1919, presided by the Hon. Marshall Brooks, and after much consideration, it was unanimously agreed to dedicate a Cottage Hospital to the memory of the Fallen in the Great War a Cottage Hospital which would be known as The Tarporley & District War Memorial Cottage Hospital.
The hospital was financed by local authority contributions but with the arrival of the NHS in 1948, the cottage hospital was nationalised.
But by 1970, all small hospitals throughout the country were coming under threat of closure and Tarporley was no exception.
The people of Tarporley and the surrounding villages began a ‘Save Our Hospital’ campaign, and in 1978 a League of Friends was formed to lead the fight which is still going strong today.
Today, in the Great War’s centenerary year, the hospital remains an independent charitable trust governed by a Board of Trustees and even though it receives a small grant from the NHS, still needs to raise almost 70% of its own funding.
It specialises in the rehabilitation of the elderly, giving intermediate care and supporting terminally ill and palliative patients.
There is also a day care facility for up to 10 clients every day and a mini minor injuries unit as well as a range of outpatient activities including GP minor operations, consultant clinics, specialist nurses and a nurse led dressing clinic which sees in the region of 150 patients a month.