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News & Media

Media Release

Date: 27 July 2018

New RUH building honours William Herschel

A recently-built pathology laboratory and mortuary at the Royal United Hospital in Bath has now been officially named – in honour of the great 18th century scientist, astronomer and musician William Herschel.

Herschel lived in Bath until 1782 and, during his time in the city, developed and built powerful telescopes and precision optics. It was from the his garden of his home in New King Street in 1781 that he discovered a new planet, named Uranus, that doubled the size of the known solar system

The Herschel Building naming ceremony was conducted by Francis Ring, retired University Professor and Vice President of the William Herschel Society, who also unveiled a portrait of William Herschel donated by the Society.

Professor Ring was a student in the RUH's old central laboratory between 1953-56 and worked at the research laboratory from 1958, before moving to the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases where he was Director of Clinical Measurement and Imaging.

He said: "This is a hugely impressive building with state of the art facilities – very different from in my day. William Herschel has very strong links with Bath, he arrived in Bath as a musician and left as a scientist, so what could be better than to name this building after a man who made such a huge impact on the scientific world."

James Scott, Chief Executive of the Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust, said: "It's a great pleasure and honour to have this laboratory officially named by Professor Ring, who has such close connections with our hospitals. This building is a major investment by the Trust, part of our Fit for the Future redevelopment programme to transform our site and further improve the services we provide, and we are very proud of it."

The £12 million pathology department provides diagnostic and screening services to the hospital and to GP practices in BaNES, Somerset and Wiltshire – serving a population of 500,000 people.

The department carries out more than seven million tests each year and operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The laboratory is also home to the blood transfusion department which is responsible for providing blood and blood products to patients across our catchment area.

Notes to Editor
  • The Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust provides acute treatment and care for a catchment population of around 500,000 people in Bath, and the surrounding towns and villages in North East Somerset and Western Wiltshire. The hospital provides healthcare to the population served by four Clinical Commissioning Groups: Bath & North East Somerset CCG, Wiltshire CCG, Somerset CCG and South Gloucestershire CCG.
  • The Trust has 759 beds and a comprehensive range of acute services including medicine and surgery, services for women and children, accident and emergency services, and diagnostic and clinical support services.
  • In 2015 The Royal United Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust was acquired the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases (RNHRD) NHS Foundation Trust. The RNHRD treats patients from across the country offering services in rheumatology, chronic pain, chronic fatigue syndrome/ME, cancer related fatigue and fatigue linked to other long term conditions such as multiple sclerosis.
  • The RUH is changing - we have an exciting programme of redevelopment underway transforming our site and further improving the services we provide. The Trust is now working towards building a purpose built RNHRD and Therapies Centre and a new Dyson Cancer Centre. For more details visit:
  • For more information about the Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust visit:

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