Huntin’ Shootin’ and Fishin’ at an upper-crust, prefab sanatorium

alderney manor sanatorium

In the third edition of Rufenacht Walters’ Sanatoria for Consumptives published in 1905 is an account of Alderney Manor Sanatorium and the photograph above of the patients’ accommodation. This type of simple prefabricated timber and corrugated iron structure were commonly used for small schools, hospitals and chapels (tin tabernacles), often intended as a temporary measure to get an establishment up and running quickly.

Alderney Manor Sanatorium, situated at Parkstone between Poole and Bournemouth in Dorset, was for private, paying patients.  Surrounded by pine woods and heather-covered heath, it was set up around Alderney Manor, the house itself used for administrative offices. Despite the proximity to Bournemouth the climate was described as being ‘less relaxing’ in the summer time. Which to me sounds as though it was wetter, colder and/or windier.

In the grounds a dining-hall, a bungalow and a number of sleeping huts or chalets were erected, all prefabricated, made of wood with corrugated iron roofs and outer walls, large windows on four sides and ventilation in the gable, heated by anthracite-burning stoves (Choubersky’s stoves). The sanatorium also boasted two ‘sun baths’ for ‘ladies and gentlemen respectively’, and ‘sun bathing machines for bed patients’.

For amusements patients were offered the type of gentle pursuits one might expect: croquet, and, given the location, sea-bathing (under medical supervision, naturally). There was also a bandstand for musical entertainments. More unusual activities offered included fishing on Lord Wimborne’s preserves, and rabbit shooting on the estate itself. In addition to all this: ‘a local land agent gives lessons by arrangement in the management of landed property’. Not something I have ever come across before.

I have no idea what a sun-bathing machine looks like, nor what shape the ‘sun baths’ took. However, I did find a picture on the web of a Choubersky stove, from, naturally enough, a ‘Stove Identification Gallery’ provided by Stovemica. Whether this is the same Choubersky that manufactured an early form of in-line skates I couldn’t say.

Jean_de_Paleologu,_Patin-bicyclette_-_Richard-Choubersky

(Jean de Paleologu [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)

The sanatorium was right next to the local authority infectious diseases hospital, now Alderney Hospital, specialising in mental health problems and learning disabilities. Alderney manor, which in earlier maps appears merely as Alderney Cottage, was demolished some time in the 1920s or 30s, and the area where it stood was built over for housing after the Second World War.

About Harriet Richardson

I am an architectural historian, working on the Survey of London at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL. I have worked on surveys of hospital architecture in Scotland and England.
This entry was posted in English Hospitals, sanatoria and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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