Haslar Heritage Group

The Wards

Such was the urgency to admit patients to the Royal Hospital Haslar that an order was given by the Board of the Admiralty for 100 patients to be admitted on the 12th October 1753 and with no record of an opening ceremony the hospital was commissioned.

During the 18th/19th century even the attics served as wards especially when Sir John Moore’s Army returned decimated by disease from Corunna when the hospital patient numbers would have well exceeded 1,000.

By the turn of the 20th century there were some 58 large wards at Haslar each taking 14 patients. At the time the wards were two to a floor with a connecting door within each hospital block. The wards underwent modernisation and the central wall was altered and the wards opened to the full size.

Electricity was introduced to the hospital in 1905 with three fixed lamps being installed per ward (these can be seen in the latter three pictures pre First World War).

Many of the original wards served as Day Surgery, Theatres, out-patients and offices and in some areas the original ward design could still be seen in later years.

1762 – ‘A’ ‘B’ ‘E’ ‘F’ Blocks

Completed in 1762 and 167 metres (553ft) the main buildings of Haslar were built from bricks made on site from local clay and imported stone. The walls at the foundations are over four feet thick. Haslar was described by James Lind “as an immense pile” and was described as the largest Red Brick building in Europe.

1984 – The Crosslink

With ever-expanding requirement for services the Crosslink was added and houses Operating  Theatres and other patient support services.

The Quadrangle 1984

1800 – Ward

Wards of this time would have been crowded and very busy with patients undergoing surgery on the ward.

1897 – Benbow Ward

This was the pensioner’s ward and long term care was the order of the day. This picture shows the connecting door into the adjoining ward area.

1900 – Ward

A rare picture of one ward – note the scrubbed and wall surround. With neat counterpanes, all is very ship shape. Note the adjoining ward through the doorway and some patients around the stove very homely.

Pre 1905 – Ward

Change was underway as this picture shows the centre wall having been demolished and the ward enlarged.

Early 20th Century

These three pictures depict a ward scene with highly polished wooden floors post 1905 by which time electric light had been installed and Haslar had its own Electrical Generating Station. There was still a large stove for heating the ward. Patients can be seen wearing hospital day dress.

TB Patients outside ‘F’ Block

TB was a problem for the Royal Navy as any other area of early 20th Century life. The treatment at the time included copious amounts of fresh air, even in the winter. Therefore, when weather permitted, the beds were moved outside to facilitate this.

1950 – Ward

Following a major refurbishment of the hospital the wards were even brighter but little change in layout.

1960 – Ward

The changes continue. The curtains around the patients beds were added to provide privacy.

1970 – Ward
The change continues.

2003 – Wards

These two pictures show a much-changed scene and still the floors shined. The wards were light and pleasant for both patients and staff, the wards having undergone notable changes over the years.
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