Ministry of Health Services
Vancouver Island Health Authority
Regional Hospital District
120 YEARS AT
ROYAL JUBILEE HOSPITAL
cornerstone for the original Royal Jubilee Hospital was laid on April 22,
1889. The 20-acre site for the hospital had been purchased for $6,702. The
newspaper of the day reported that it was “a desirable site and the price
plans for the Royal Jubilee Hospital involved three wards, one for male
surgical cases, one for medical cases and one for women. The design also
included an administrative block, which included accommodation for a
resident medical officer, matron, laboratory, accident ward, committee
room, kitchen, and storerooms. There were also two separate buildings for
infectious diseases, and 12 separate smaller wards for infectious
date for completion of the work was set for December 31, 1889. This is 121
years before the completion deadline for the new Patient Care Centre at
Royal Jubilee Hospital - December 31, 2010.
A copper case, essentially a time capsule, was placed
beneath the original cornerstone. It contained a block plan of the
building and other documents, Canadian silver currency, and one English
The Royal Jubilee Hospital School of Nursing
opened its doors to nurses throughout the province on December 16, 1891. The
school educated nurses for over 90 years with the first class graduating in
1892 and the last graduating class being in 1983.
and construction of the Pemberton Memorial Operating Room began in 1896.
It was designed as an octagonal structure with a 12 x 24 foot sterilizing
room attached to the back of the operating theatre. The plastered and
painted walls, mosaic tile floor, and large windows were designed for easy
cleaning and disinfection after each surgery. The addition of the new
Pemberton operating room placed the Royal Jubilee in a new phase of
development, and established the Jubilee as the leading surgical hospital
in the Province at the time.
cornerstone of the Pemberton building was laid on May 15, 1896, and Mrs.
Pemberton was presented with a commemorative silver trowel to show
appreciation for her generous support and flexibility towards the project.
This trowel can be viewed at the Royal BC Museum.
original hospital and the Pemberton operating room were completed without
any electricity. The operating room functioned by kerosene lamplight until
electricity was installed throughout the entire hospital in 1897.
1897, the father of modern surgery, Lord Lister, visited the Royal Jubilee
and gave a promising review. The following year, the first two
post-operative recovery rooms in Canada were added to the Pemberton
operating room. The operating room was used daily for more than 30 years,
until the East Wing of the hospital was built in 1925 with six new operating
City of Victoria declared the Pemberton operating room and its anteroom an
official Heritage Site in 1982. The structure remains remarkably unaltered
from its original functioning state and will be incorporated into the
Heritage Garden at the new Royal Jubilee Hospital to preserve the legacy
of the Jubilee.
In 1909, Mrs. Pemberton donated
the Pemberton Chapel to the Jubilee as a memorial of her husband. The chapel
functioned as a regular church that held weekly services for patients and
staff, as well as being the location of many of the nurse’s weddings.
In 1979, the chapel was officially recognized as
a heritage building by the City of Victoria. It was closed for nearly 20 years
in the early 1980’s, but re-opened in 2003, and is now open 24-hours a day,
providing a quite place of refuge for patients and visitors to the hospital, as
well as being the site of the permanent memorial for the RJH School of Nursing
250 361-7685 cell
Ministry of Health
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