In another post, we looked at Sir Charles Clifford (1860-1936), proprietor of the Sheffield Telegraph and Yorkshire Telegraph and Star, and on the Council at the University of Sheffield.
Little is known about him nowadays, but his name is familiar with generations across the city.
The Charles Clifford Dental Hospital, on Wellesley Road, was opened in 1953 to provide dental care for people in Sheffield.
Its origins were in the Dental department of the Royal Hospital on West Street, but the facilities became too cramped, and so, in 1935, Sir Charles Clifford bought Broom Bank, an empty house on Glossop Road, for the purpose.
Sir Charles Clifford died in 1936, also leaving more than £77,000 for the “general purpose of the university.” It later emerged that there was a problem with Broom Bank because the site had been earmarked for a new general hospital to replace the Royal Hospital and Royal Infirmary (it subsequently became the Royal Hallamshire Hospital).
The plans had to be abandoned, and war prevented development of the Charles Clifford Dental Hospital (on another site on Wellesley Road) until revived in 1950. In the meantime, Broom Bank was demolished in 1947, a decision criticised by the local press as the loss of a short-term chance to adapt it for the purposes of the hospital.
The foundation stone was laid by Hilary A. Marquand, Minister of Health, in September 1951, and was finally opened by the Duchess of Gloucester in 1953.
When it opened it was “one of the finest dental schools in the country,” with laboratories, teaching rooms, a library and common rooms as well as one floor devoted to general treatment, and a second, with forty dental chairs, for “conservative restoration of teeth and periodontal work.”
The NHS provided most of the funding, but £7,800 of Sir Charles Clifford’s legacy was used to buy equipment. In 1966, the facility was extended, and in 1995 the hospital was absorbed into the Central Sheffield University Hospitals NHS Trust, which merged with the Northern General NHS Trust in 2001 to become Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. A major refurbishment programme that cost £5.3million was completed in 2009 and now includes The School of Dentistry at the University of Sheffield.