FORMER COTTAGE HOSPITAL
The origin of the term “Cottage Hospital” may derive
from the fact that they were intended to treat “cottagers”, who were the
poor of the community.
In 1880, Dr Cann built the Cottage Hospital on open land at the top of
what is now Luscombe Terrace. The hospital was subscribed by voluntary
contribution. It cost £970 to build.
The land was given for the hospital on condition that “no maternity,
tuberculosis, hopeless mental or chronic illness were admitted” Children
under two were also excluded except for operations or accidents.
There was a system of “recommends”, which meant that donors to the
hospital could be approached to provide a recommendation for treatment
at the hospital. The Misses Gamling of Charlton House frequently
provided these. This system was abolished in 1922 and an insurance
scheme was introduced
The local ambulance was a truckle cart, a stretcher with a leather hood
which could be fixed to a set of wheels and pushed by volunteers of the
St John’s Ambulance.
Before 1947, local hospitals were paid for by the local community. There
was a Matron responsible for the nursing and housekeeping. The doctors
gave their services free, making their living from their wealthier
clients. In 1932, a lottery made a profit of £150 and a fete raised £249
thanks to the support mainly of a small number of wealthy residents.
During WW2, a lot of the nursing was done by the civil nursing reserve
who gave their services voluntarily. Sisters and nurses lived in a small
room on the top floor. Matron lived in a small flat which became the
physiotherapy dept. There were coal fires in the wards but a lot of
heating was provided by the Aga cooker. Nurses carried patients’ meals
from the kitchen but private patients had theirs on plates with copper
base filled with a hot water.
When the NHS was created, the Government took over, improving working
hours and salaries. Floors were covered in lino and the yellow and brown
paintwork was made lighter and brighter.
In 1970, a health centre was built at the bottom of Hospital Hill
allowing patients to visit their doctor in a purpose built building.
This was replaced in 1990 with a new, larger building on the north side
of Barton Terrace. And in 1996 a large modern hospital was built next to