Richard Murray Hospital

The construction of the hospital was funded from a £50,000 endowment following the death of Richard Murray in 1913, as a memorial to to the late King Edward VII. During the First World War it was used as a Voluntary Aid Detachment Hospital, when more than 600 men passed through.

It became an NHS maternity hospital in 1948, until 1972 when the new tower block at Shotley Bridge general Hospital opened. Then used as a Leonard Cheshire home for the disabled for 21 years, before being demolished in 1993. Thirty one detached houses are now on the site.

 

Richard Murray [1839-1913] was a successful businessman and JP. He started his career by selling parcels of land for housing on his estate. He built the Park Royal Hotel on Park Road, Blackhill and started his Richard Murray brewery alongside. His business grew and eventually amalgamated with Vaux Brewery of Sunderland. He became Managing Director and the main shareholder of the new North Eastern Brewery. In the 1891 census his occupation was also listed as an innkeeper, builder, farmer and shipowner. He also founded the Consett & District Permanent Building Society.

He lived at Benfieldside House on Benfieldside Road which overlooked the top of Church Bank, where the entrance to Benfield Close is today. Only the outbuildings remain, which were converted into two dwellings.