In 1926 work began on what was originally named Davyhulme Park Hospital, established by the Barton-upon-Irwell Union. The Barton-upon-Irwell Union established in keeping with the requirement of the Poor Law Amendment Act 1834 for parishes to create unions offering provision to the poor. The hospital opened to patients on the 17th December 1928, officially opened by HRH Princess Mary, Viscountess Lascelles on the 1st June 1929. When the Local Government Act of 1929 abolished the poor law unions, the hospital passed to Lancashire County Council.
During World War II it functioned initially as a British Military Hospital, the first patients arriving in 1940 as a result of the German Invasion of Norway. Later the hospital was transferred to the US military becoming the 10th US Station Hospital where it hosted Glenn Miller and the United States Air Force Band to entertain the American troops. After the War it was de-requisitioned and returned to Lancashire County Council.
The hospital is regarded as the first National Health Service hospital. Known as Park Hospital, it was visited by the then health minister Aneurin Bevan on 4 July 1948. In a symbolic ceremony Aneurin Bevan received the keys from Lancashire County Council alongside by a 'guard of honour' of Nurses.
Sylvia Diggory (née Beckingham), then 13, was the first NHS patient. Before she died, Sylvia said: "Mr Bevan asked me if I understood the significance of the occasion and told me that it was a milestone in history - the most civilised step any country had ever taken, and a day I would remember for the rest of my life - and of course, he was right."
In addition, English singer and lyricist Morrissey was born here on 22 May 1959. Also Nigel Twist, drummer for Welsh band The Alarm was born here 18 July 1958.