The Hospitals Investigator 8

The eighth newsletter that Robert Taylor produced from the RCHME Cambridge office was written almost exactly 23 years ago, in November 1992. I was delighted to hear from Robert recently, and to receive his blessing for reproducing his work here. It was good to hear that he would seem to be just as productive in his retirement, and has not lost his interest in hospital buildings in general or the machinations of the Local Government Board in particular.

L0024801 The Cruciform Building, University College Hospital, London: Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images The Cruciform Building, University College Hospital, London: perspective from the south-east. Colour lithograph. Coloured Lithograph Published: [19--] Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0
University College Hospital, designed by Alfred Waterhouse and built between 1897 and 1906. It is now UCL’s Cruciform Building. Image from the Wellcome Library reproduced under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0 

This issue largely consisted of lists: hospital designs by Alfred Waterhouse, culled from the list of works in Colin Cunningham’s monograph; locations where Humphreys’ patent iron hospitals were erected as given in an advertisement published in 1915; and plans of hospitals published in the aptly named R. Ward’s 1949 book the Design and Equipment of Hospitals. The list of Humphrey’s hospitals has already featured in a separate post which can be found here, the two others are transcribed below.

Apart from the lists we were informed of the novel re-use of the Oxford Smallpox Hospital, a corrugated-iron building with all the characteristics of one of Mr Humphreys’ constructions (1900 catalogue, no.3), which, no longer needed for patients, was the centre of a flourishing enterprise called Spend-a-Penny Event Hire, from which people holding large parties and public entertainments can borrow certain necessary portable buildings. (I can find no reference to this company today, so perhaps the Oxford Smallpox Hospital has finally gone out of use.)

In other news, the Cambridge team had lately visited their first army hospital dating from before the reforms influenced by the Crimean War, and were fascinated by the planning. (Kathryn Morrison, Robert’s partner in crime in the Cambridge team, went on to write the chapter on military hospitals in English Hospitals, 1660-1948: A Survey of Their Architecture and Design.) Here is Robert’s description of the Peninsula Barracks Hospital at Winchester:

‘On each of three storeys were three wards on either side of a central stair. Only the end wards had cross-ventilation. The hospitals remained in use until December 1985, and the fittings on the walls allowed us to see that there had been eleven beds in each of the larger wards, and ten in the smaller ones. The larger wards were paced at 34ft by 19ft and the smaller wards 29ft by 19ft, which gives floor areas for the wards of 646 and 551 sq ft respectively. The height of the wards was not measured (we do not yet have a successful technique for walking up walls), but allowing for a 13ft height gives cubic volumes of 7,163 and 8,398 cubic ft respectively. Miss Nightingale would have been horrified to work out that this means that the beds in the larger wards had 763 cubic feet each, and those in the smaller wards (which were not cross-ventilated properly) a mere 716 cubic feet. Moreover, as the hospital was apparently built for 130 beds this suggests that the beds were more congested in 1985 than in 1855.’

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Extract from the 2nd edition OS map revised 1894-5, showing the barracks hospital fronting St James’s Street (now Romsey Road). Reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland. The hospital building has been converted to private flats, but some of the other former barracks buildings now form part of Winchester’s Military Museums.

‘The original sanitation was contained in a small room opening off the half-landings of the staircase, but some time early in the present century a larger room was added to this. In addition, a four-foot square sanitary tower was added between each end ward and its neighbour, with a triangular lobby contrived in the wall between the wards to give unventilated access.’

‘This account hardly inspires faith in the care that the army lavished on its cannon fodder, although we should perhaps bear in mind that this was presumably not for usual hospital cases but complaints such as influenza and sore feet that needed to be taken out of the barrack block near by.’


Works listed in Colin Cunningham and Prudence Waterhouse’s, Alfred Waterhouse, 1830-1905: Biography of a Practice, Clarendon Press, 1992. Although the word hospital is not in the otherwise good index, there is a list of some 647 commissions and works, including nine hospitals. An abstract follows, using the numbers in Cunningham’s list. (Curiously Robert omitted what to me is Waterhouse’s best-known hospital building, the extraordinary cruciform University College Hospital built 1897-1906, replaced by the new UCH on Euston Road, now used by University College London, and shorn of some ugly later additions.)

[111] Manchester Royal Infirmary, Piccadilly, 1861. Renovation and valuation, re-ventilation and design of memorial tablet to J. C. Harter (Office correspondence in private collection).
[146] Cheadle, Royal Lunatic Asylum, 1863. Additional villas, cost £2,620. (Drawings and correspondence at RIBA).
[210] Macclesfield Infirmary competition, 1865. Withdrew, with compensation.
[218] Manchester Royal Infirmary, Piccadilly, 1865. New stables etc. (demolished) cost £340 (Office correspondence etc. in private collection and RIBA).
[293] Cheadle, Royal Lunatic Asylum, 1868-9, chapel. (Office archives in private collection).
[447] London, University College Hospital, Gower Street, 1877. Sketch plan for rebuilding, not executed. (Office archives in private collection).
[488] Liverpool, alterations to old asylum building to form Liverpool University, 1881-3, cost £4,450. (it is not clear from the text what sort of asylum this was).
[532] Liverpool Royal Infirmary, hospital, nurses’ home and medical school, 1886-92. Cost £123,500. (Drawings at RIBA and Infirmary)

Part of Royal Liverpool Infirmary, photographed in 2009 © John Bradley CC-BY-SA-3.0

[571] Manchester, St Mary’s Hospital (demolished), maternity hospital, cost £65,140. Designed 1891, built 1899ff. (Drawings at RIBA).
[599] Liverpool University Medical School, extension, 1895-7, cost £1,795.
[628] Nottingham General Hospital, Jubilee Wing, 1898. Circular ward block with sanitary tower; laundry; out patients’ department; staircases and lift. (Cited by S. A. Smith in Courtauld theses of 1970 but not corroborated by Cunningham).
[630] Rhyl, Royal Alexandra Hospital, 1898. Cost £30,430.
[643] Newbury, Children’s Hospital, 1900. (Cited by S. A. Smith as above, not corroborated by Cunningham). This hospital is also unknown to the Cambridge office, although we may be able to suggest confusion with an earlier scheme by a different architect in a nearby village.

Ward on Hospitals

In 1949 Ronald Ward published his book The Design and Equipment of Hospitals. It is illustrated by both typical designs and by plans drawn from a very small number of real buildings. Here is a list of the plans of real hospitals, and the page number.

Addenbrooke’s Hospital, X-ray department p.199
Birmingham Hospital Centre layout p.27; operating theatre p.216
Brentwood District Hospital p.193
Central Middlesex County Hospital, children’s wards p.253
Coventry Infectious Hospital, general plan p.283; general ward p.285
German Hospital, wards p.164; children’s wards p.255
Guy’s Hospital, psychiatric clinic p.268
Hammersmith Hospital, reception department p.125; ante-natal department p.138
Harefield Hospital, stores p.65; laundry p.111; observation wards p.278; children’s block p.279; men’s or women’s block p.280
Harefield Sanatorium, general plan p.276
Hospital for Sick Children, nurses’ home p.93
Leeds general infirmary, outpatients’ department p.129-30; private wards p.232; kitchen for private wards p.233
Leeds, Institute of Pathology p.149
Maccelsfield Infirmary, nurses’ home p.97
Monkwearmouth Hospital, outpatients’ department p.134
Monkwearmouth and Southwick Hospital, electric department p.202
North Eastern Isolation Hospital, receiving block p.286; general wards p.290, p.292
North Western Hospital, laboratory p.147
Queen Charlotte’s Hospital, operating theatre p.222
Royal Masonic Hospital, power house p.59; nurses’ home pp 95-6; wards p.165; electric department p.210; operating theatre p.217

V0014883 Royal Masonic Hospital, London: three-quarter view of the ad
Royal Masonic Hospital, Burnet, Tait and Lorne architects, 1933 from the Wellcome Library  licensed for reuse CC BY 4.0

St Bartholomew’s Hospital, wards p.177; operating theatre p.220
Scarborough Hospital, layout p.30; nurses’ home p.98; laundry p.110; outpatients’ department p.135; wards p.181; X-ray department p.201; operating theatre p.220; maternity ward p.239; children’s wards p.254
Surbiton Hospital, Kitchen p.79; nurses’ home p.99; mortuary p.116; wards p.178; X-ray department p.200; operating theatre p.222; maternity ward p.243
Tolworth Isolation Hospital, pavilion ward p.287; cubicle ward p.291
Welwyn Cottage Hospital, pp 32-3
West London Hospital, operating theatre p. 219
Westminster Hospital, kitchen p.77; nurses’ home p.92; casualty department p.123; outpatients’ department p.133; wards p.172; operating theatre p.218
Wolverhampton Eye Infirmary, outpatients’ department p.141

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