With its origins in the City of Dublin Skin and Cancer Hospital (CDSCHC, also known as the ‘Hume St Hospital’), who provided outstanding care to patients throughout Ireland from 1911 to 2006, the UCD Charles Institute of Dermatology opened in September 2011 with an investment of €18 million as the first academic institute devoted to translational dermatology research on the island of Ireland. The Institute is affiliated with Ireland's largest School of Medicine at UCD, and so is well-integrated into Ireland's largest network of teaching hospitals (including Dublin's St. Vincent's University Hospital and Mater Misericordiae University Hospital) and the UCD Clinical Research Centre.

The CDSCHC has a long clinical history in the management of dermatological disease in Ireland and a fascinating account of this is available in the book A Century of Service  published by Prof. Eoin O’Brien in 2011 (The Anniversary Press, Dublin).

Boardroom pic

History of City of Dublin Skin and Cancer Hospital

In June 1911, the first meeting of the Management Committee of the Dublin Skin, Cancer, and Urinary Hospital was held 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. The Charter of the City of Dublin Skin and Cancer Hospital was granted by the British king George V in 1916 when Ireland was part of the British Empire. This charter can now be found hanging in the Charles Institute foyer.

By 1935 the remainder of the south side of Hume Street had been purchased. In 2006 the old Georgian buildings were deemed unsuitable for the requirements of a modern hospital, and the dermatology services were transferred to St. Vincent’s University Hospital. The City of Dublin Skin and Cancer Hospital was sold in 2006.The Charter was amended in 2007 allowing the proceeds from the sale of the hospital to be administered by a Board of Management elected annually in accordance with the Charter. 

Dr Andrew Charles

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 Andrew, died in the influenza epidemic of 1918. The first matron of the Hospital, Elizabeth Charles, was a sister of Andrew Charles and Andrew’s son, Dr Havelock Charles (1905-1980) joined the staff in 1934 and worked there until his death. Havelock’s wife, Iris, was a member of the Ladies Guild for many years.

Following the sale of The City of Dublin Skin and Cancer Hospital in 2006 for an impressive 30M euro, the Board of Management embarked on a number of initiatives designed to serve the principle of translational medicine, whereby the benefits of medical research into skin disease whether emanating from scientific laboratories or from clinical observation and study, would be brought to patients as expeditiously as possible. Dr Andrew Charles’ legacy lives on to this day in our dermatology research, education and outreach efforts.

The Hume Street Hospital Legacy

So far there are three major pillars to the Hume Street Hospital legacy including:

  1. The UCD Charles Institute of Dermatology,
  2. The Irish Skin Foundation (Jan, 2011)
  3. The Skin Disease Patient Registry of Ireland (Jan, 2020).

The Charles Institute’s Foundation Stone was laid by Mary Harney, Minister for Health, on Feb 8, 2010.

The CDSCHC has also supported the Charles Centre for the treatment of patients with skin disease at St. Vincent’s University Hospital, which was opened in January 2012.