Wenzhou Central Hospital Looks for Descendants of Founders

By Ruth Wang, August 12, 2017 05:08 AM

William Edward Soothill

Dr. Edward Thomas Arnot Stedeford

John Dingley Hospital

Wenzhou Central Hospital launched an online letter today to Wenzhou people across the globe to find descendants of the hospital's early founders, William Edward Soothill and Edward Thomas Arnot Stedeford.

The hospital stated that it plans to invite the two missionaries' offspring to join in the celebration of its 120th founding anniversary to be held later this autumn. In memory of the locals, there are life-and-death moving stories behind Blyth Memorial Hospital that originated from a clinic started by William Soothill and later headed by British Dr. Stedford. The historic photos and stories are exhibited in the history's museum.

The media in Wenzhou related the hospital's history. It said that the John Dingley Hospital founded in 1897 was the earliest form of the hospital, expanded from Soothill's clinic. On February 18, 1905, Henry Blyth constructed the new hospital where the John Dingley Hospital merged and renamed it "Blyth Memorial Hospital." It was opened on January 30, 1906. Covering 8 mu (1.318 acres), and it had 250 employees. It served 12,285 patients, including 923 hospitalized, in the first year, performing 321 operations.


Image of early John Dingley Hospital.
Image of early John Dingley Hospital.



In 1917, British Dr. K.T.A. Stedeford succeeded as its president. He graduated from the University of Edingburgh. On July 11, 1942, Wenzhou was invaded by the Japanese army and the hospital was relocated to a rural town. Dr. Stedeford called on donations to help the hospital survive that special period.

After the founding of New China, the extension of the hospital was supported by the local government and was renamed "the Second Hospital of Wenzhou" in 1945. In 2012, the name was changed to "Wenzhou Central Hospital."  Currently, it's a general hospital integrating medical care, research, teaching, prophylaxis, health care, and recovery.

- Translated by Karen Luo

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