Our Founders

The Norfolk and Norwich Hospital hospital saw its first outpatients on 11 July 1772 and first inpatients on 17 November 1772 (pictured in 1772).

Originally constructed at St Stephen’s in Norwich, it remained at that site for many years before being rebuilt at a cost of £229m at Colney Lane on the outskirts of Norwich, Opening in late 2001, the new hospital became a teaching Trust in September 2002 and a NHS Foundation Trust in May 2008.

Here are two significant figures from our history who were instrumental in setting up the original hospital:

William Fellowes
1706 – 1775

Norfolk was in need of a hospital with most doctors working in London and journeys to the capital were arduous. William Fellowes brought together a committee of wealthy and influential Norfolk people and opened a subscription fund. The hospital site was purchased with the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital becoming the 17th voluntary hospital founded in England. The foundation stone was laid by William Fellowes in 1771, with the hospital seeing its first patients in 1772.

  • 1706 – Born to William and Mary Fellowes
  • 1723 -Admitted to Lincolns Inn, following education at Winchester and New College, Oxford
  • 1731 Purchased Shotesham Park Estate in Norfolk
  • 1732-1754  Founded a cottage hospital (one of the first in the country) for apothecary surgeon Benjamin Gooch, known as “Shotesham Infirmary”
  • 1733 – Marries Elizabeth Mewes
  • 1770 – Called a meeting in St Andrews Hall Norwich to discuss the establishment of a subscription  fund for the creation of a county hospital
  • 1770 – Becomes Treasurer of the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital and one of the “Trustees of the Land” and remains so until his death
  • 1771 – Laid foundation stone of the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital
  • 1775 – Died aged 69 on 30 January.

Benjamin Gooch
1708 – 1776

Surgeon Benjamin Gooch was instrumental in setting up the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital, together with William Fellowes. Born in Ashwellthorpe in Norfolk, he worked in the Shotesham Infirmary established by Fellowes. Mr Gooch wrote several books for young surgeons, became a consulting surgeon for the hospital when it was first established and helped to establish the first hospital ‘rules’.

  • 1707/8 – Born at Ashwellthorpe to Rector Benjamin Gooch
  • Apprenticed to David Amyas, a Norwich Surgeon
  • Studied in London
  • Apprenticed to GP Robert Bransby in Hapton
  • Moved to Shotesham with Robert Bransby
  • 1748 – Succeeded the practice at Shotesham on Bransby’s death
  • 1754 – Was practising at the “Shotesham Infirmary” established by William Fellowes. Married Elizabeth Bransby
  • 1757 Suffered a ‘heavy affliction’ and visited Bath for treatment resulting in a 2-3 year break in practice
  • 1758 – Published the first of three editions of a textbook on surgery
  • 1758 Devised “Gooch’s Splint” for treatment of fractures. This remained in use until the 1920s
  • 1758 -Was asked by Thomas Hayter (then Bishop of Norwich) to visit the great hospitals of London to gather information for the establishment of a county hospital. This project was not followed up due to Hayter being translated to another location
  • 1771 – Appointed the first Consulting Surgeon of the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital (although he never actually operated there) and acted as an advisor/assessor for the selection of the medical staff
  • 1771 – Part of a six person sub-committee to set the initial hospital rules
  • 1776 – Died on 11 February, aged 68, at Halesworth, Suffolk and was interred in the churchyard at Shotesham All Saints Church.