McMaster University

History of
Health Care in Hamilton

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St. Peter's Hospital circa 1890

St. Peter's Hospital

St. Peter's Hospital was founded in 1890 through the tireless efforts of Reverend Thomas Geoghegan, pastor of St. Peter's Anglican Church.

Reverend Geoghegan was born in Ireland and emigrated to Canada in 1870. After a number of jobs including clerking in a store and working in the oil fields of Pennsylvania, he entered Trinity College, now part of the University of Toronto where he studied for the Anglican ministry. He was ordained in 1877 and came to Hamilton in 1887 where he founded two Anglican parishes, St Mathew's and then St. Peter's. He was known for his energy, enthusiasm and for his sympathy for the less fortunate. His guiding principle was "an ounce of practical sympathy is worth a pound of preaching." After four years of visiting at the Hamilton General Hospital, the House of Refuge and the City Jail, he came to believe that Hamilton needed a hospital for people with chronic medical conditions, something which no institution in Hamilton provided.

After tireless fundraising, Reverend Geoghegan was able to purchase the ‘Springer Homestead' for $9000, a brick residence originally built in the 1830's with a second story addition. This large, lovely house included 4 acres of land. The St. Peter's Home for Incurables, as it was first named, had accommodation for 14 people. The facility was incorporated in 1893 and became eligible for provincial grants. However it wasn't until 1931 that St. Peter's was formally recognized as a hospital under the Public Hospitals Act. At this time it was enlarged to accommodate 100 patients.

Today St. Peter's Hospital is a 250-bed chronic care facility specializing in the care of older adults. It is part of the "St. Peter's Family of Services" which also includes home care, long-term care, and research branches.