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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 12

Chapter IV. — Public Buildings, &c

page 7

Chapter IV.

Public Buildings, &c.

Until an Inspector is placed at my disposal, I shall be unable to give a report as to the sanitary condition of our Churches, Schools, Hotels, Public Halls, Manufactories, Theatres, &c. I have, however, visited the Hospital; and through the courtesy of Dr. Yates, I am able to furnish the following particulars concerning it:—

This Hospital is capable of holding 180 beds. It has two flats, there being eight wards in each, capable of holding from eighteen to twenty beds. I found, at a rough estimate, the dimensions to be 50 feet long, 22 wide, and 20 high. Each ward upon the first flat has seven windows placed upon its west side, the windows having a valvular opening at their inferior extremity. This is a clumsy and dangerous arrangement, as they open just a little above and immediately behind the beds. These wards likewise possess a ventilator in the opposite wall, a grating ventilator on the floor (communicating with the exterior of the building by means of a wooden tube), and a fire-place.

In the wards situated on the second flat, there is a larger and a smaller row of windows, making thirty; only ten of which are capable of being opened.

Situated upon the ground flat there are three lying-in wards. Two of these are respectively about 25 feet long, 12 wide, and 11 high, having three windows, a ground ventilator, and fire-place. The third ward is a little smaller, having two windows, a ground ventilator, and fire-place. All these windows open at the top and bottom. Three or four beds are usually accommodated in each ward.*

In another part of the building there is an annexed ward, measuring about 75 feet long, 17 wide, but only from 11 to 12 feet high, the roof being slanting. The complement of this ward is about 24 beds. It is only possible to open three windows out of fifteen (!) which run along one side of the ward. Opposite to these windows there is a wooden wall, with four small openings (about two feet square), which may be opened or closed at will by means of sliding doors. These, when I entered the ward, were closed with one exception; the atmosphere of the place was consequently most distressing. This ward is without exception the worst ventilated in the building. Dr. Yates himself admits that the roof is altogether too low, and that there is not nearly sufficient ventilation. Nevertheless, this ward could be immensely improved with very little expense or trouble.

There being no means of registering the temperature in the Hospital, I would suggest that a thermometer be supplied to each ward.

* It is unadvisable that lying-in-wards should be anywhere near, let alone within, a general hospital.