King Edward VII Estate: Midhurst Sanatorium

Following on from the post featuring Midhurst Sanatorium chapel, I wanted to look at the main Sanatorium building. It is one of the most important former sanatoria in England and one of the most attractive. Latterly the King Edward VII Hospital, it closed in 2006 and remained empty for some years after. The sanatorium building and chapel were listed Grade II* and the gardens registered, conferring a degree of protection for these important buildings and imposing restrictions on the re-use and redevelopment of the site. Nevertheless, by 2012 the condition of the buildings had deteriorated and the chapel was placed on the Heritage at Risk register. In 2015 work began on the redevelopment of the site, turning it into a luxury estate, by the developers City and Country.

A rather scratchy slide from June 1992 of the King Edward VII Hospital, as it then was.

As the name of the hospital implies, the origins of this sanatorium were closely linked with Edward VII. Having decided to fund the erection of a sanatorium in England for patients suffering from tuberculosis, in 1901, the year that he acceded to the throne, the king appointed an advisory committee comprising some of the leading medical men of the day to ensure that it should be of the most up-to-date design. There were six men on the committee: Sir William Broadbent Bt KCVO; Sir Richard Douglas Powell Bt KCVO; Sir Francis Laking KCVO; Sir Felix Semon; Sir Hermann Weber; and Dr C. Theodore Williams. In February 1902 the committee announced in the medical press of Europe and America that a competition was to be held for an essay and plans for the erection of the sanatorium. There was no restriction as to the nationality of the entrants, and they might be either from medical men or jointly from a medic and an architect (but not just from architects). The sanatorium was to provide for 100 patients, equally divided between the sexes, of which 88 beds were to be for the ‘necessitous classes’ the remaining 12 set aside for the well-to-do. All the accommodation was to be comfortable, with a single room for each patient, though with ‘superior arrangements’ being made for the wealthy patients. The building was to have the latest sanitary fittings and have facilities for scientific research. Entries were to be anonymous, but have a motto to distinguish them. The king was to provide £800 in prize money, awarding £500 for the best entry, then £200 and £100 for second and third place.

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Arthur Latham deposited this bound edition of his prize-winning entry in the library of the Royal College of Physicians. It has been digitised by the internet archive

There were 180 entries, and the winners were announced in August 1902. The top prize went to Dr Arthur Latham of London and William West, architect, also from London (motto – ‘Give him air, he’ll straight be well’). Second prize went to Dr F. J. Wethered with Messrs Law and Allen, architects, also all from London (motto – ‘If preventable, why not prevented?’), and third prize to Dr E. C. Morland with Mr G. Morland, architect, both of Croydon (motto – ‘Vis Medicatrix naturae’, roughly ‘the healing power of nature’, a motto associated with the nature cure movement).  On the architectural side, these were not well-known names. There were four honourable mentions, amongst whom were some better-known architects: Dr P. S. Hichens of Northampton submitted his essay in association with the architect Robert Weir Schultz, and Dr Jane Walker with Smith & Brewer. The only non-English entrant that featured in this list was the celebrated Dr Karl Turban of Davos whose architect was J. Gros. The final honourable mention went to Dr J. P. Wills of Bexhill, with Mr Wills, architect, London.

In the mean time the site had been chosen, at Midhurst in Sussex (now West Sussex). But the commission to design the new sanatorium did not go to Latham’s little-known architect William West, but to H. Percy Adams, presumably considered a safer pair of hands as he was already a well-experienced hospital architect. Since 1898 Charles Holden had been in Adams’ practice, and the final design for Midhurst Sanatorium bears the hallmarks of Holden’s characteristic style.

Aerial perspective of the ‘King’s Sanatorium’ as designed by H. Percy Adams and Charles Holden in 1902, published in Academy Architecture, 1903

To assist them in drawing up the design Adams and Holden had the benefit of Latham and West’s essay and plans, but they also visited sanatoria in Germany and Switzerland – Edward VII had been particularly impressed by the sanatorium at Falkenstein in Germany. The aerial perspective above shows the arrangement of the building. The patients were to occupy the shallow-V-shaped range to the right, which faced south, behind which was a U-plan administration block. These two ranges were linked by a central corridor. The admin block contained suites of offices, the committee room and service rooms, as well as an operating theatre, X-ray and casualty rooms, laboratories, a medical library, and the patients’ dining hall.

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Plan from Latham and West’s essay. Their preferred scheme was to provide separate blocks for the wealthy and necessitous patients, this plan being the block for the more wealthy patients. 
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This was Latham & West’s alternative plan, which housed the wealthy and necessitous in one building. Both plans have elements in common with the designs drawn up by Adams & Holden.

Edward VII retained his interest in the progress of the sanatorium, laying the foundation stone on 3 November 1903. Delays in construction, in part over the water supply, caused the king some vexation, but it was finally opened on 13 June 1906.

The main front of the sanatorium, photographed in June 1992

The patients’ wing to the south was symmetrically arranged with a taller central block of three storeys. The ground floor breaks forward, its flat roof providing a terrace for the rooms on the first floor. Within were two spacious recreation rooms on the ground floor, one either side of the central corridor which marked the division of the sexes (males on the west, females on the east side). There were also hydro-therapy rooms flanking the garden entrance. Each patient had a separate room, as the original competition rules had required.

Midhurst Screenshot
Photograph of the sanatorium taken c.1950. (Image kindly supplied by W. Parker.)

The rooms faced south and opened on to a terrace or balcony. Bathrooms and WCs were provided in sanitary towers to the north of the patients’ corridor that ran along the back of their rooms and at the far ends of the building. The wealthier or higher class patients had slightly larger rooms with private balconies situated in the central range, while the lower-class patients occupied the wings.

Detail of the central gabled bay, June 1992
One of the stone alcoves on the south front, which provided a secluded shelter

The furnishings and fittings combined hygienic and aesthetic requirements. Washable wallpaper was used in the patients’ bedrooms, an early use of this new product in England, and the floors were of wood blocks. Moulmein teak was used for the staircases which was less susceptible to fire than other, coarser grained wood. The dining-hall and kitchen walls were lined with Doulton’s Carrara tiles.

Midhurst aerial scr
Postcard with aerial view of the sanatorium. (Image kindly supplied by W. Parker.)

A formal garden was designed for the area to the south of the main building by the horticulturalist Gertrude Jekyll. Her layout, of gardens built on terraces on several levels, with buttressed stone walls separating one level from another, follows closely the scheme indicated by Adams in his perspective drawing. Lawns and flower beds were laid out on the terraces, and various shrubs, flowers and aromatic herbs were planted, many supplied personally by Jekyll. She also designed small gardens to fill the spaces between the administration block and the patients’ wings, again following closely Adams’ original designs. The work was carried out under Jekyll’s direction by two gardeners aided by some of the patients.

A. Latham The Prize Essay on the erection of a sanatorium for tuberculosis… 1903
Academy Architecture, 1903, ii, pp.116-9
F. Allibone, typescript notes to collection of drawings by Adams, Holden & Pearson in RIBA Drawings Collection
The Builder, 23 May 1903, pp.531-2; 22 April 1905, pp.440; 23 June 1906, p.707
Building News, 27 May 1904, p.761
Kelly’s Directory of Sussex 1934, 1934, p.243
S. E. Large, King Edward VII Hospital Midhurst 1901-1986, 1986
I. Nairn & N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Sussex, 1965

see also urbexer’s exploration of the site from 2012 on 28dayslater

65 thoughts on “King Edward VII Estate: Midhurst Sanatorium

  1. Dear Harriet Richardson
    I have just read your document on King Edward V11 Hospital with great interest. I was a patient there for many years, all through my childhood and up to my twenties. It brought back so many memories for me. Thank you
    Claire Benians

  2. I was a patient there for six months because I was not a TB patient. I was 11 yrs old and was always told the land on which the hospital stood was donated by a one Lord Cowdray ( sp?) who also had a pheasant rearing farm on the land. Upon our daily therapeutic walks we could see the pheasants in pens which later in October were freed for sport by hunters. I loved the balconies and fed red squirrels with scraps and also ate in the huge banquet dining hall. It remains a fond memory that Sir Pietro Annigoni , portrait painter to the queen and other royals was a frequent visitor and gave me free painting lessons and TV artist wilfred(?) White who donated his time to patients there.

  3. 1957 age 11yrs and I was very lonely , the only kid in there and had almost no visitors due to the fact my parents had no car and were not living nearby. I learned Italian there because the housekeeper staff were all Italian. There was some connection with Italian portrait painter Pietro Annigoni who came to see me one time on his frequent trips to the hospital. He must have been a benefactor or something and I remember he got them to hire Italians. I was a child and maybe it was not all factual. So since I was bored a lot and in a single “ non contagious” room the housekeepers would let me help them deliver tea on the tea cart. I would add milk or whatever. I wanted to understand them and they me, so I held up a cup and said “Cup” and they said “ Tanzania!” And that’s how I began learning Italian. Never from books. When I was 19 I got engaged to an Italian man in the island of Jersey C.I. And we were “together” for 7 years even though he spent a lot of time in Bermuda. I broke of the engagement eventually. However, I learned sufficient Italian to be mistaken for a native in the country when I visited.
    Midhurst started all that!
    Thanks for the trip down memory lane😄
    Linda S

    • Well you have certainly reminded me of how it was. I was there aged 11 in 1962. And like you, I was bored and lonely, being the only child on the floor. I used to help give out the drinks in the morning and evening – although, unlike you, I wasn’t enterprising enough to learn a foreign language while I was doing it. I remember the imposing dining hall to. You are right about Lord Cowdray donating the land. I never thought I would chat to another person who had been to the Sanatorium as a child
      Are you living in America now?
      Best wishes

      • Yes Claire, I do live in America over 43 yrs! How did you know?
        I didn’t know that children were normally at Midhurst. I was born into a family of smokers and my mother probably smoked during pregnancy, they didn’t know back then. My birth weight was not small though. The Drs said they had never seen a child with lungs in my condition. Did you have TB?
        So, are you an historian and where did you find out about Lord Cowdray ( wasn’t there a cricket player named Colin Cowdray. I couldn’t even find a thing about a Lord Cowdray on the Internet. It’s quite a story we share though. We should write a book. My memory about a lot of things is very sharp for those details.
        Lovely chatting with you.
        Best regards,

      • I find your stories very interesting and I am so glad the hospital was saved from total dereliction because now my husband and I live in one of the apartments . City and Country have done a marvellous restoration on the whole site and we feel very proud that we live here . If you ever come over from USA please get in touch . It must have been very lonely being a young child in a vast building . You must have been very brave . Thank you for sharing your stories .

  4. Anne Pitts, Thank you for thinking I was brave at 11. I have been told that along my life’s path on a number of different occasions . I think a lot of children who endure a lifetime illness , and whatever else Life throws in their path, become” fighters”. I know a few whom I admire and wonder how they do it. Only when I hear a stranger say the same about me do I see myself included in that group.
    However, a close friend recently said in a reference, ( which I had not heard) when she was giving a verbal character referral for a position I applied for) when the interviewer asked me “ How do you “ Stand your ground? “ I was puzzled as to what she meant. The interviewer said, “ That’s what Janet said about you” .So I guess that means I’m a fighter! I fight for justice and truth , and am very compassionate towards others circumstances , particularly the underserved, under privileged and sick,. In all , my own illness , family life, and time spent at Midhurst amongst many hospitals in my younger life molded that characteristic in me. I also felt abandoned when in hospitals, and I cannot overstate the need for visitors to the sick.
    I want to thank you for your kind invitation to visit the building if I’m ever there. I have been unable to come to UK for a few years though my remaining family still live in parts of the country. I hope to come again in the next year or so. If I do, I would surely try to connect again.
    Meanwhile , enjoy the history and stories on this site. Sometimes we need to dig up the past , which is the foundation for our present.

    Sincerely ,
    Linda Schwartz

  5. I was interested in this article because I was a nursing orderly at Midhurst when I was in the army doing national service. There were also orderlies from the Air Force and Navy. We all worked on the surgical wards and the day wards. Some my memories are a bit hazy now as I am nearly 80 but I would love to be contacted by anyone on the nursing staff at the end of 1960 or beginning of 1961. I do remember going for walks in the grounds with male orderlies and female nurses after we came off duty in the mornings. Regards Brian Bridges

  6. Just a quick not regarding Lord Cowdray…I believe the family name is Pierson. If I remember correctly…the title is that of a Viscount. Midhurst is a beautiful memory for me…having made several trips & walking the area of the King Edward…have been in love with the area (Midhurst & Easebourne) since my first trip in 1984. Heaven on earth to me. Thanks in large part to Eric & Jean Miller and their family & their generous hospitality… who lived in Easebourne. I will always be indebted to these lovely people.

  7. In 1960 I was 19 years old and diagonised with TB. I was admitted to Midhurst and had a lobectomy. It was not a place one would choose to be in at that age but there could have been nowhere better for such an operation and rehabilitation. The staff were wonderful; I remember the pictures on the walls being changed at regular intervals and a hairdresser would come round once a week. When I had my operation a patient in the next room was a famous cricketer (Colin Cowdrey I believe). Another patient I remember was girl of about my age whose father was a doctor; she also had a similar operation.

    60 years on and with memories of Midhurst I am now faced with another operation (same area although not TB again !).

    • Hi Joan, I have posted my memories previously about my stay in Midhurst in around 1958. I was about the only child age 11 in there for non TB bi lateral lobectomies in the space of 12 months.
      I recall being told Mr Powell ( surgeon to Queen Elizabeth II ) was my surgeon. I was always wondering why he was not Dr Powell, which I was informed , to my best recollection, that a surgeon of his caliber was addressed as MR.
      Anyway, that’s my claim to fame. Plus , you mention the paintings being changed frequently. I would wager that Sir Pietro Annigoni , potrait painter to Royal Family was something to do with that. He was a patron and frequently visited patients and gave support in many ways. He was introduced to me in my room as a budding artist of the time. My occupational therapy was basket weaving, and oil painting. The hospital also sent a certain Sir, ( blanking on first name) White who was a TV art instructor with his own show, who gave me lessons and tips in my own room.
      I feel I got a lot of attention there , more than from my family , in fact.
      Hope this triggers more remembrances for you and others. Now I am 73 and have had life long lung problems.

      • Hi Linda, my Dad was an honorary visiting consultant to the Sanatorium in the 50s and 60s (Dr Robert Coope). I don’t suppose anyone remembers him as he was only attending there a couple of times a year but I just wondered if you had come across him in your researches? I am researching and writing his biography now – I did know a lot of the other doctors through him and then in the late 70s I worked there as a medical secretary (John Bolton, who remembered my father gave me the job before I even went for the interview, I think!!). I used to take dictation from one of the doctors sitting in the stone alcove on the front south wall if it was a lovely day. As he wrote very long ‘discharge letters’, I much enjoyed my time out there in the lovely garden.
        I envy Ann Pitt for living there now, it is beautiful.

      • Wow! Small world indeed. Wonderful memories Gillian. And thanks for reminding me Adrian Hill. I see his face noe! He was on tv as well with painting classes. I had him in my hospital room at my young age , he introduced me to oil paints! I was pretty good at art and still am, drawing, sketching and do sculpture now.

        LInda Schwartz( née Gibbs)

  8. My brother was a patient here I think about 1969 – 1970 ish, he had part of his lung removed and I remember visiting him, we walked around the outside to the right of main door, and he was somewhere in a court yard, the court yard was very dark having buildings on three sides, I remember a story my mum told us about my brothers time there… one of the nurses asked him if he wanted to spend a penny and he said yes very eagerly because he thought he could buy some sweets with the penny. I could only have been about 4years old and just about remember that it was a really big, sometimes frightening building. I also remember going to a Fete where I won a kite.

    • Hello Lynn .I love your story concerning visiting your brother who was a patient in the
      King Edward V11 Sanatorium .I now live ,with my husband ,in one of the beautiful apartments which apparently was once a ward for the patients .As you say when you visited it appeared very dark inside and I am assuming that that was because several extensions had been built when the NHS took over the hospital . I’m sure you will want to watch these 2 videos I am going to tell you about . If you have the Internet then go onto You tube and in the search box write “ George Clarke returns to King Edward V11 in Midhurst and George goes through a marvellous program of what the Sanatorium looks like now after City and Country has beautifully restored it and the Gertrude Jekyll gardens . The other video is George Clarke visiting the Sanatorium before C and C took it over .You may want to watch that first . However you will be blown away by what you see .We fell in love with it when we first saw it .C and C have restored it in such a fabulous way keeping their mind focused on the features and character of the building .Recently a swimming pool has been attached to the Chapel at the back of the chapel so nothing was taken away from that beautiful building . Later a restaurant maybe put into the Chapel for use by residents again taking into account the interior and respecting every feature that is already there . Please let us know what you think on this website I shall be very interested . You may also want to know that everyone in Midhurst speaks of the Sanatorium with great affection .

    • There was. I remember seeing it from the train on the way up to Waterloo. I think it’s gone now; probably to make way for housing developments

      • The TB sanatorium you may have seen from the railway is in fact Milford Sanatorium. That is the sister hospital to King George V Sanatorium about a mile away to the East

  9. I would happily show anyone round the Estate who were patients here in the past . If I had bee na patient here I know I I would be very inquisitive to see the building and how it has been saved by City and Country . I have recently shown ladies from the Stedham WI some of whom were nurses /ward staff and nutritionists etc from Anne Pitts

  10. My mother was a patient at the hospital around the 1950’s and she was very happy there as she could fulfil her artistic talents and I remember her talking about the TV artist, I forget his name, was it Adrian? There were also classes in basket weaving which she joined. Group Captain Leonard Cheshire was a patient at the same time and she became a good friend and he wrote to her afterwards.
    I used to dread going to visit her as I hated hospitals/medical and had to have an X-ray myself there once which terrified me. However, I do remember the wonderful grounds and played happily there with a friend who accompanied me with her mother. I also remember a visit when there was snow on the ground. I am now 78 but this has really brought back memories, a little nostalgic.

    • Hello Robbie love to hear about when your mum was here at King Edwards . Not sure about the artist you were referring to but can try and find out from various sources . If you are ever in the area let me know and I will show you around the sanatorium . We are going to have a shop and coffee bar and restaurant in the Chapel ,planning permission awaiting .Im sure you’ll remember the Chapel if you played here as a boy . It is a beautiful building . Take care and so glad you have lovely memories of both your mum and the time she spent here .Best wishes from Anne

      • Hello Anne, just to put the record straight I am a female! Roberta, shortened to Robbie. I would love to visit at some time and would certainly contact you beforehand.

      • Hello Roberta sorry about getting confused and yes let me know when and if you are ever near to Midhurst and if I’m not away somewhere I d be only too happy to show you round kind regards from Anne Pitts

    • Thanks for sharing Robbie. I am now 73 and my art was very good for my age . I am happy you remembered Adrian and for some reason I thought he was surnamed White. He surely isn’t alive because he was old then , grey and balding. Was also a Sir?

  11. This has been fascinating to read. My father was a patient here during WW2 – he was in the RAF & got blood poisoning from a dodgy needle used to innoculate the troops. He had part of his lung removed & the hospital seems to have made a big impression on him.

    • I was a patient there in 1962 aged 11. I continued to be a patient there throughout my childhood, my last one being when I was thirty. I had severe asthma and was treated with steriods which left me with lifelong problems. I have many happy memories of the Sanatorium although I was the only child there. I was happier there than I was at home or school. I remember the RAF men there and being impressed by their smart uniforms.

  12. It is lovely to read your experiences of King Edward V11 Claire and Sue . Yes it sounds like it was a wonderful hospital . We feel honoured to live here and I’m sure you’d agree if you saw it that the developers have preserved as much of the character features as possible both the interior and exterior whilst restoring the building . All I can offer is that if you’re ever in Midhurst do send me a message via this website and I would happily give you a tour of the Estate . I don’t know if you remember the Nurses Home however this has now been sympathetically restored also and is now made up of 2 bedroom apartments .

      • Hello Claire give me plenty of notice If you’d like to visit as I do travel away quite often then I can arrange a date with you okay ? Best wishes from Anne

    • I used to visit my sister (Claire Benians) there and was always so in awe of the beautiful gardens full of butterflies and I also remember free ranging pigs which used to frighten me. I wonder if they were destined for the kitchens. It was the first time that I really seen balconies and I was terribly envious of her being able to sit out on one.

      • Yes Harriet yes the balconies are beautiful on the front facade . Let me know we’ll in advance if you ever want to visit here I’d be happy to show you round just give me plenty of notice ok from Anne Pitt’s

  13. Just listening to castaway Josuf Cat Stevens on Desert Island Discs on Radio 4. He was hospitalised with TB in 1969 and spent some months at KEVII Hospital. Does anyone have memories of that patient?

    • Hi Tina ,
      I was a huge fan of Cat ( Yusuf Islam ) Stevens prior to his becoming a Muslim when his musical life waned for a while. I also was a child at Midhusrt for bi lateral lobe to Isengard aged 11 in 1957, but did not know he had been a patient there. I will have to look him up now on google to see if I can find anything about that.
      Thanks for the info

  14. I went in the hospital in 1971, after an X-ray picked up a shadow on my lungs. Air Commander Cran found I had sarcoidosis. The treatment was a cocktail of different drugs and rest.As I recovered I found walking round the wonderful woods and grounds a great help to restoring good health.

    • Yes Mr Hall the surrounding environment is beautiful and my husband and I who now live in one of the apartments are always walking the many paths which were put in place for the patients to help their recovery . It’s a lovely place to live and if you’re ever in the area do please get in touch and if we are around we could give you a tour . Est wishes from Anne Pitt’s (

    • Hello Colin glad you enjoyed the grounds of the King Edward V11 sanatorium . My husband and I now live in an apartment there and we love the walks and the gardens they’re wonderful . The building itself is amazing and I have read the book about the history of the building when it was a very successful hospital . My Grandmother had TB however she lived in Cumbria ,where I am from ,and was treated in Blencathra Hospital sitting underneath the wonderful Blencathra mountain. I loved the stories she told me about laying in bed with the window wide open so that snow could be blown in to keep the temperature down !

    • I was all so treated at Midhurst by Air Commander Cran while serving in the RAF, I spent many months at Midhurst and was eventually medical discharge from the RAF by Air Commander Cran while at Midhurst.

  15. The artist Robbie Phillips was remembering was Adrian Hill who published a series of books on drawing and painting. I have found my book on”Drawing and painting trees” but I had another which I seem to remember had photos of Midhurst. My husband (died 7 years ago – not of TB) had a lobectomy there in 1952/3, long before i knew him. It was at the time Leonard Cheshire was there, and Ken and his collaborators played terrible tricks on other patients and staff, ( he always told stories about nurses and laundry baskets! ) He never regretted his time there and he and Leslie C* – another patient – retained a life-long friendship. Leslie married a sister from the ward and years later we met a man in SCATS in Miicheldever whose father was a surgeon at Midhurst and when his father was busy Leslie’s wife had often babysat him and his sibs. A small world.

  16. My father was a patient at Midhurst in the spring of 1957 after treatment and an operation for TB. I didn’t see him from summer 1956 until he went to Midhurst. My mother, sister and I used to drive down at weekends and camp in an old army tent and ancient caravan we had been lent on a farm at Woolbeding. We could walk through the woods to the sanatorium for visiting. Then up at 6am on Monday mornings to drive back to Hampstead and school at 9am. I was 13. I have mixed memories, being happy to see father again but sad to leave him there.

  17. My mother, Dorothy Bone, nursed at the Sanatorium at the time Leonard Cheshire was hospitalised there. She became matron of St. Teresa’s, Cheshire Home. I have little information about her life as soon after that time she died of cancer. I know that she had a very tragic life and I am trying to find out more about her life and work in relation to Leonard Cheshire.

  18. Hello, I was an Army nursing orderly stationed at the Sanatorium in 1954 and went out with a teenage hairdresser from the town who came to do patients’ hair. In addition to Army personnel, there was some Spanish ward maids, some of whom befriended soldiers.

    • I was one of two kids who were in the hospital when I was 11 till half way through my 12 th year. I did not have T B but had a lung condition and had surgery there. Being young I was given much attention by the “maids” you speak of who I was privileged to be able to go with to the kitchen , load up the tea trolley and go around with them when they delivered tea to the patients rooms. I was not contagious but was never allowed into TB patients rooms. They allowed this to keep me from being isolated. I was very interested in trying to communicate with these ladies who were serving as staff and I learned their language. They were Italians not Spanish , I was there in 1957 -58
      I would hold up a cup and say “ CUP” and they would say the word back to me and follow with the word in Italian. TAZZA. Little by little we learned each other’s language enough to speak “broken “ at least in both.
      I went to Switzerland later at 14 on a school trip and met Italian waiter in our hotel with whom I became a pen pal for a couple years and we also learned more of each other’s language. At 21 I became engaged to an Italian man, who I never married but was with for 7 years.
      So that all began at King Edwards and I to this day remember it fondly. I continue to learn languages , currently Arabic and Tamil both of which I study because of people I have met and become friends with. Now I am 75

  19. Beg your pardon, Linda, but I always believed the maids were from Spain, not Italy, presumably specially recruited to work at the Sanatorium. Also, the year I spent there was 1956, not ’54 as previously stated.

  20. Helllo Derek,
    You may be correct for the time you were there before me, that the housekeeping staff were Spanish, but by the time I was there in 1957-8 they were certainly pretty much all Italians.
    Also the famous portrait painter to the Royal family , Sir Pierrot Annigoni(sp?) was a patron of the hospital and would visit regularly and speak with these ladies in Italian . He also would bring and install fresh paintings to the hallways, so that the residents would not be bored looking at the same ones and would visit patients if they were not contagious to foster an interest and give tips on painting. He did so with me in fact as did the television artist who had a program on BBC Adrian Hill. I was extremely encouraged by their visits and as a budding artist , felt very valued by them, more than I felt by my family regarding my art.
    So perhaps Sir Pietro Annigonl had suggested Italia immigrant workers and they switched from the Spanish ones.
    Fond memories anyway!

    • Interesting that Annigoni visited – the girls in Occupational Therapy seemed to focus more on basket-making and other crafts than artwork. However, these lasses didn’t fraternise with the Army lads so we were more friendly with the foreign maids.

  21. What a fascinating collection of wonderful stories about Midhurst!
    I wonder if anyone recalls my grandfather, Dr Mohamed Sharif Hakim, who was a patient at Midhurst, due to his TB-related complications, several times between the mid 1950’s until his death in early 1961. His home and surgery were in Tulse Hill, London. When my father, Javed (who often went by the name David), would visit, he would bring some of my grandfather’s favourite Indian foods, such as samosas and mangoes. Other visitors would have included my grandfather’s close friend, Mrs Barbara Sawhney and her daughter Eira. Please let me know if you recall my grandfather. In fact, we still have one or two of the wastepaper baskets my grandfather made during his time at Midhurst.
    My very best regards to you all for the New Year.

  22. Our Great Grandfather – George Thomas Kibble born in 1871 and died in 1913 was a patient in King Edward VII Sanatorium certainly 1911 until his passing in 1913. He had TB. He sent postcards on a regular basis to his two children Douglas and Doris of which we have in our possession. Many are of the sanatorium. So sad to think that this was the only way of communicating with his children.

  23. My father was a patient at Midhurst around 1960 and we used to visit it him there but, as young children, we were never allowed into the hospital. My father used to come down to the lobby and wave to us. I remember the rhododendrons in the drive and we used to go and look at the pigs in the grounds. There were Italian or Spanish workers there and I remember hearing an Italian or Spanish song played endlessly on a record player out of one of the staff windows.

  24. I was in the RAF in 1968 Stationed at RAF Wyton. To cut a long story short, I was having trouble breathing and the Station Medical Officer realised I had a collapse lung. I was taken to RAF Ely Hospital where they discovered that I had a cyst on my lung. Despite the RAF having amazing surgeons, I was sent by ambulance to Midhurst, as a private patient. It was treated as an emergency operation and the Queen’s own surgeon carried out my operation. In my next room was Boris Karloff who I would chat to and when I was discharged The Dutchess of Suffolk took over my room. Not bad for an SAC in the RAF. Now 72 and have spent a lifetime playing sport

    • I was a child when I was a patient at King Edward V11 Sanatorium at Midhurst. I vividly remember the RAF patients there; you had your own floor didn’t you, and a moustached Consultant who looked after you all. I liked to watch you playing snooker in the room where you could peer down from the windows in the corridor at whoever was playing. It looked very exciting to me though I still don’t understand the game. I liked the soft clicks of the balls and cues. Perhaps it was billiards and not snooker, I don’t know. I was 11 when I first went to the hospital as a patient with severe asthma, and was always (apart from one occasion) the only child there. I liked listening to the grown ups talk. I think I learned a lot, but probably not what I should have known at that age. I had 21 admissions there altogether, the last being when I was 30, just after Charles and Diana got married. I have no idea why I remember that particular detail of that admission!

  25. Hello one and all!!
    I have only just discovered this very day that a distant relative of mine lived in the ‘Staff Cottage’ at King Edward VII sanatorium in 1939.
    I know nothing more than their names; Percival John Allen born in Bedford 1908 & his wife Mabel, born in Guisborough 1909.
    I have no idea in what capacity they were staff or if the staff cottage still stands – perhaps Anne could answer that one?
    Anyone who has further information about the hospital or its staff from this time, would be truy appreciated.

  26. Interesting reading about this place! I wonder if there is a staff register or records from the 50s? I’ve found out that a distant cousin died here in May ’57. Dr William Kelm – he was a GP in London for most of his life and I presume he was a patient here, rather than staff. But I could be wrong, and would be curious about any leads. Thank you!

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