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Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust
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Our history

A World War I vehicle at Harefield hospital


Our Trust's two hospitals each have a

prestigious history as independent

institutions specialising in lung and
heart conditions.

Harefield Hospital

The first hospital on the site was established in the First World War for the treatment of injured Australians and New Zealanders. Today, the hospital's state-of-the-art ANZAC Centre remembers the vital contribution made by those troops.


In the 1930s Harefield became an isolation hospital for tuberculosis patients, laying down the foundations of its expertise in lung conditions.  In the late 1940s the hospital became part of the new National Health Service and began to develop its expertise in heart conditions in addition to its established lung expertise.


The groundbreaking work of Professor Sir Magdi Yacoub set the direction of the hospital throughout the last decades of the 20th century. He performed Harefield’s first successful heart transplant in 1980 and carried out the UK’s first combined heart and lung transplant at the hospital in 1983. Read about the transplant on the BBC website.


More than 2,500 transplant operations have now been carried out at Harefield and the transplant population includes more than 1,200 patients needing life-long follow up.

Royal Brompton Hospital

Royal Brompton has a long and distinguished history dating from 1841 when it was established on what were then the outskirts of London for tuberculosis sufferers.  Over the centuries the city has expanded and the location is now a prestigious and cosmopolitan residential area.


The hospital was founded by Philip Rose as a charitable endeavour in the era before universal free healthcare. In its first decades it enjoyed support from the royal family and Charles Dickens, among others.  Royal patronage has continued and our main building, the Sydney wing, was opened in 1991 by the Queen.  The hospital was granted Royal Charter in the same year.


In the 1940s, after incorporation into the new National Health Service, the hospital began developing its expertise in heart conditions alongside the existing excellence in the treatment of lung disease. 


Royal Brompton established Europe’s first adult cystic fibrosis clinic in 1964 and the hospital has grown into the largest treatment centre for the condition in Europe.

The Trust’s archives are now held at The Royal London Archives. If you are researching the Trust’s history or wish to find out more about our archives, please contact rlharchives@bartsandthelondon.nhs.uk or telephone 020 7377 7608.

Click below for a full history of the two hospitals in PDF format.

Royal Brompton

Sydney Street,
London SW3 6NP
Tel: +44 (0)20 7352 8121