City honours Sheffield man who founded UK’s first free and cancer hospitals

Posted by: Genevieve Braund
City honours Sheffield man who founded UK’s first free and cancer hospitals supporting image

The new plaque honouring William Marsden will be revealed by Sheffield’s Lord Mayor this week

This Wednesday 14 August will see the unveiling of a plaque on Watson’s Walk dedicated to William Marsden, one of Sheffield’s most influential sons.


William Marsden was born in a house very near to the top of the original Watson’s Walk in 1796, close to the Dove and Rainbow pub in Hartshead Square.


He later left Sheffield to study at St. Bartholomew's Hospital and was admitted as a member of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1827. In 1828, he founded the country's first free hospital, the Royal Free Hospital, which was based on the principle "that disease and poverty should be the only claims for admission.”


In 1851, following the death of his wife from cancer, he opened a cancer hospital which is now known as the Royal Marsden, located in West London.


Nearly 20 years ago, a bronze plaque was erected in Watson’s Walk to honour Marsden’s legacy. The original plaque went missing a decade ago, and is set to be replaced thanks to sponsorship from The Aesculapian Society of Sheffield and Sheffield City Council.


The Lord Mayor of Sheffield, the Right Worshipful Councillor Tony Downing will reveal the plaque on Wednesday 14 August.

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