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In 1872, the King Norton Union Workhouse was built on a site in Raddlebarn Road, Selly Oak, it was built as a larger replacement for the original workhouse situated opposite The Saracenís Head at The Green in Kings Norton.

Built to a design by Mr. E Holmes, with an estimated cost of £18,000, it was designed for 200 inmates. In 1897 an infirmary for an additional 250 patients was built at a cost of £52,000. It consisted of eight Nightingale style wards, with additional side rooms, and also included kitchens and a laundry, but no operating theatre facilities. The building size was doubled in 1907 with an extension to the infirmary and an operating theatre. The Woodlands Nursesí Home was built at the same time with accommodation for forty nurses.

In 1911, the infirmary was renamed Selly Oak Hospital, and improvements were made to the building giving better patient care.

By 1930 the administration was taken over by Birmingham City Council and the Workhouse was renamed Selly Oak House, and used for the care of elderly chronic sick.

The hospital continued to grow with more operating theatres and laboratories added in 1934. Although nurses had been trained at Selly Oak since 1897, it wasnít until 1942 that the School of Nursing was opened.

When the National Health was formed in 1948 Selly Oak Hospital and Selly Oak House were amalgamated, and provided the basis for the large medical centre it grew to become.

In 1995, the hospital was merged with the Queen Elizabeth Hospital to become part of the University Hospitals NHS Trust. Both hospitals are due to be replaced by a new 1200 bed hospital due to be opened June 2010, this £600m hospital will be one of the most up-to-date hospitals in the world.