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In 1911, the visionary philanthropist Andrew Charles F.R.C.S.I. founded a voluntary hospital in Hume Street to provide “for the treatment of diseases of the skin, cancer, rodent ulcer, lupus, kidney and other urinary diseases”. In 1916 the hospital was granted a royal charter from George V, the last such to be granted to any voluntary hospital in the country.

The first meeting of the Management Committee of the Dublin Skin, Cancer, and Urinary Hospital was held In June 1911 under the Chairmanship of Mr. J. T. Wood-Latimer and the Hospital opened in rented premises in No. 3 Hume Street on 20th July 1911. A year later this house was purchased for £450. By 1935 the remainder of the south side of Hume Street had been purchased. This prescient investment provided the legacy that has permitted the spirit of the Hospital to live on in the twenty-first century as The Charles Institute at University College Dublin.

The City of Dublin Skin and Cancer Hospital provided outstanding care to patients throughout Ireland from 1911 to 2006. However, when the old Georgian buildings were deemed unsuitable for the requirements of a modern hospital, it became necessary to close the hospital and transfer the dermatology services to St. Vincent’s University Hospital. In November 2006, the City of Dublin Skin and Cancer Hospital, which had served the people of Ireland from its premises in Hume Street for just a century, was sold.

The Charter of the City of Dublin Skin and Cancer Hospital was granted by George V in 1916. The first voluntary hospital in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, the Charitable Infirmary, had been granted a charter by George III in 1792, thus beginning the voluntary hospital movement that provided heath care throughout Ireland until the close of the twentieth century. The charter of the City of Dublin Skin and Cancer Hospital was amended in 2007 to facilitate the administration of the Hospital’s fiscal legacy for the improvement of the research, treatment and management of skin disease in accordance with the stared principles of the founding fathers. The modified Charter also accommodated changes in business and social life, among which was the admission of women to the Board of Management. The proceeds from the sale of the Hospital on Hume Street continue to be administered by a Board of Management elected annually in accordance with the Charter.

Dr. Andrew Charles (1880-1933), one of the founders of the Hospital on Hume Street, was a dominant figure in the first quarter of the Hospital’s existence. Dr. Frank Charles, who joined the staff to assist his older brother, died in the influenza epidemic of 1918. The first matron of the Hospital, Elizabeth Charles, was a sister of Andrew Charles. Andrew Charles’s son Havelock Charles (1905-1980) joined the staff in 1934 and worked there until his death and his wife, Iris, was a member of the Ladies Guild for many years.


Recognising that the initiatives on which it had embarked could not have been achieved were it not for the endeavour of many people who had served the City of Dublin Skin and Cancer Hospital during its near century of existence, the Charity funded publication of a history of the Hospital to mark its centenary year. A Century of Service: The City of Dublin Skin and Cancer Hospital 1911 – 201. Written by Eoin O’Brien, this book can be obtained from Mr. Seamus Kennedy, The Charles Institute, UCD, Belfield , Dublin 4 and it can be downloaded below.

A Century of Service