Image showing extract from a letter regarding a new hospital


Boulton’s business endeavours helped to improve Birmingham. His manufactory and mint brought high quality production to a town criticised for its poor and cheap goods. His campaign for the Assay Office made it easier for silversmiths to work in the city. Matthew Boulton was also a keen supporter of many of Birmingham’s institutions, and several of these involved the improvement of medical care in the city. In 1765 John Fothergill wrote to Matthew Boulton attaching a newspaper cutting calling for the consideration of a General Hospital in Birmingham:

A general hospital, for the relief of the sick and lame, situated near the Town of Birmingham, is presumed would be greatly beneficial to the populous Country about it, as well as that place.” [Letter. John Fothergill to Matthew Boulton 5 November 1765. MS 3782/12/60/22]

A few weeks later Fothergill wrote again due to Boulton’s absence from Birmingham to subscribe a joint £50 to the new General Hospital appeal. [Letter. John Fothergill to Matthew Boulton 20 November 1765. MS 3782/12/60/30] The General Hospital also put on performances to raise money, and a letter from the Hospital to Matthew Boulton in 1803 was a plea to the subscribers to attend a performance being put on.

Samuel Garbett (1716 to 1803), who was elected to the Committee of the Birmingham General Hospital, wrote to Matthew Boulton about a Birmingham Dispensary in 1797 [Letter. Samuel Garbett to Matthew Boulton 8 February 1797. MS 3782/12/62/156] and by 1822 Mary Anne Boulton was a subscriber to the institution [Mrs Boulton’s Bills 1822. MS 3782/15/21/23a]. Whilst the General Hospital and Dispensary were not immediately the result of Matthew Boulton’s actions, Birmingham definitely benefited from him and his circle of friends’ generosity to such causes.

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