Donations from the living and legacies from the dead helped build one of Norfolk’s first cottage hospitals - in Cromer - in the 1880s.

And now the hidden history of that building and the people who walked or were stretchered through its doors has been told like never before in a new book by Brenda Stibbons.

Mrs Stibbons, who worked at the hospital from 1991 to 2009, had the idea for the book when she was studying for her masters at the University of East Anglia.

Eastern Daily Press: Chair of the Friends of the Hospital Mary Northway unveils the plaque on the current Cromer hospital in 2014Chair of the Friends of the Hospital Mary Northway unveils the plaque on the current Cromer hospital in 2014 (Image: Supplied)

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She said:  “My tutor, Dr Steven Cherry, had written extensively on the history of medicine and from him I learned that Cromer was one of the earliest cottage hospitals.” 

Mrs Stibbons’ story does not stop with that of the original hospital building in Louden Road, or its successor which opened in Old Mill Road in 1932. It continues on to tell the tale of the current ultra-modern facility, which was opened in 2013 in Mill Road. 

As part of her research, Mrs Stibbons looked into Norfolk’s friendly societies, which offered support and funding when doctors’ and hospital fees were the norm. 

Eastern Daily Press: The front cover of the new bookThe front cover of the new book (Image: Supplied)READ MORE: Norfolk MP Duncan Baker raises sugar beet row in parliament

The book also covers the Second World War and the foundation of the NHS in 1948.

Mrs Stibbons said: “Eventually the decision was made by the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital Trust that the Mill Road site should remain the site for the hospital.

"As at the outset, the individual generosity of Sagle Bernstein and Phyllis Cox continue the story of a hospital made possible through legacies – and the Friends of Cromer Hospital follow the tradition of donations large and small making future development possible.”

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Mrs Stibbons previously co-authored the book A Cromer Album and wrote another book called The Baker Brothers - Diaries from the Eastern Front 1914-1919.

Cromer Hospital 1866-2023 is published by Poppyland Publishing and is available from at £12.95 plus postage. Proceeds will go to Friends of Cromer Hospital.