Somerset Hospital

the first civilian hospital in Cape Town

The Somerset Hospital in Green Point opened in 1864 and has been declared a national monument.

The hospital replaced one of the same name in Cape Town which had been founded by Dr Samuel Bailey in 1818 as the first civilian hospital in the city. It was named after Lord Charles Somerset the governor of the Cape Colony who gave land for the construction. The cornerstone for the new hospital was laid on 18 August 1859 by the Cape Governor Sir George Grey. The Chavonnes Battery was used as an isolation and convalescent wing of the hospital.

The hospital established its own nurse training school and was the first hospital to train non-white nurses. It was also the first hospital in South Africa to be used for the training of doctors. From 1918 until 1937, when the Groote Schuur Hospital opened, it was the main academic hospital of the University of Cape Town. The hospital has become a prime referral centre for the treatment of AIDS and the first antiretroviral distribution centre was established there in 2005. In 2010 it opened a new measles ward. The hospital is also home to the Cape Medical Museum.

Somerset Hospital

Somerset Hospital (photo: QVRP, Creative Commons license)


  • Decimal degrees: -33.904567 (Latitude) 18.416886 (Longitude)
  • Degrees, Minutes & Seconds: S33 54 16 (Latitude) E18 25 00 (Longitude)
  • GPS: S 33 54.274 (Latitude) E 18 25.013 (Longitude)
  • UTM: 34S 261158 (X) 6245421 (Y)
  • Above sea level: 52 ft / 16 m


Beach Road, Green Point, Cape Town

... also in the Green Point.