Victorian London - Health and Hygiene - Hospitals - Consumption Hospital, Brompton


The intended new hospital, of which the engrabving below represents the elevation, is about to be erected upon an eligible plot of ground, at Brompton, fronting the Fulham road. It will be a detached building, and, from its magnitude and architectural character, will add considerably to the embellishment of its locality. The style will be of the Tudor period. The exterior walls will be faced with red and blue bricks, in patterns, with Caen stone dressings. The plan of the building consists of a centre and two wings, in the form of the letter H. The wings extend equally before and behind the centre building, and will be appropriated exclusively to the in-patients' wards and offices; one wing being appropriated for the male, and the other for female patients. The centre of the building will be for the business and domestic branches of the establishment.
    At the extremity of the right wing will be a chapel, built in the decorated style of English church architecture, calculated to accommodate about 400 persons. This part of the undertaking will commend itself to the sympathy and support of the Christian public it will not only provide church accommodation for the immediate neighbourhood but also produce a permanent increase to the funds of the charity, by annual collections and sacramental offerings. The architect is Mr. Frederick Francis, of Oxford-street, and who was selected out of above thirty competitors.
    The following is a brief history of the institution of the present hospital, and the origin of the intended new building. 
    In September, 1642, the present hospital, which is situated at Chelsea, was opened for the reception of that numerous class of patients who are the victims of pulmonary consumption. It was the first of the kind ever established. There is scarcely a disease of any severity, which does not find ready admission into the wards of the numerous hospitals and other asylums of refuge with which the metropolis abounds; but consumption, the most frequent and, destructive malady in existence, finds all those establishments closed against it. The plea on which this vast number of persons, so affected, are refused admission, is the lingering and almost certain fatality of the disease.
    The following statement will show the magnitude of the evil which this institution is formed to remedy. Of the 60,000 deaths which occur every year in England and Wales from slow and lingering diseases, about 36,000 are traceable to pulmonary consumption. One-ninth, therefore, of the total mortality at all ages, and more than one-fifth of the mortality of adults is due to this cause; and as the duration of the disease, taking one case with another, is about two years, it follows that about 72,000 persons are constantly suffering from consumption, being at the rate of 4 persons in every 1000, of all ages; and 8 in every 1000 adults. Again, of the 45,000 deaths occurring every year in the metropolis, about 5,600, or one-eighth of the total mortality of the metropolis at all ages, and little less than one-fifth of the mortality of adults arises from this fatal disease, and upwards of 11,000 persons-being about Sin 170 of the entire population of the metropolis, and more than 1 per cent, of the adults are constantly wasting away, under the attacks of this lingering malady.
    Of these, about three-fourths occur in males, of whom a large proportion are working-men unable to provide for themselves and families - systematically excluded from our general hospitals, and uniting in their own persons every conceivable claim to sympathy and assistance. It may be well to add that many, very many, of these poor sufferers are the acknowledged victims of unventilated workshops - ill constructed dwellings - vitiated atmosphere - long hours of work, and the want of open places for exercise and recreation.
    Since the opening of the existing hospital, up to the present month, 115 patients have been received within its wards, and relief and medicine afforded to near 1500 out-patients. But in consequence of the limited size of the building, it has been toned totally inadequate to the reception of the many distressing and urgent applications for admission. The Committee have appealed to the public fur assistance to enable them to build a new hospital, capable of receiving a much greater number of patients; and there can be no doubt when the claims of his important charity, and its appeal for assistance be more generally known, that it will meet with a ready response.
    The new hospital when completed will present such a combination for the most esteemed methods of treating consumption, as no other institution possesses. The warming and ventilation will he on list moat approved principles, with special reference to the application of temperature of various degrees, so as to approximate with that of different climates, and with means for the impregnation of the atmosphere of particular apartments with various gases, vapours, &c.
    The first stone of the new building will be laid, by a distinguished personage, in the ensuing month of June.
    The hospital is under the patronage of our benevolent Queen, who is an annual subscriber of 10.
    It also ranks amongst its Vice-Presidents a long array of the nobility and eminent characters.

from The Illustrated London News, 1844

CONSUMPTION HOSPITAL, Brompton (founded in 1841). The present picturesque Elizabethan structure, pleasantly situated in the Fulham Road, was erected in 1846; makes up 210 beds, and relieves annually between 6000 and 7000 patients. Madame Jenny Lind-Goldschmidt was a great benefactor to this excellent charity. A chapel was built in 1850, from the designs of E. B. Lamb, and at the expense of the Rev. Sir Henry Foulis, Bart. The annual expenditure is about 8000l.; but unfortunately the annual subscriptions only amount to half that sum.
    There is also a Hospital for Chest Diseases near the Victoria Park, N.E., with an income of 1100l.; it relieves upwards of 6000 cases annually.

Cruchley's London in 1865 : A Handbook for Strangers, 1865

CONSUMPTION HOSPITAL, Brompton, fronting the Fulham-road, was commenced in 1844, June 11, when Prince Albert laid the first stone; the site was formerly a nursery garden, and the genial, moist air of Brompton has long been recommended for consumptive patients. The Hospital is in the Tudor style, of red brick, with stone finishings; Francis, architect; it was opened in 1846. In 1850 was attached an elegant memorial chapel (see CHAPELS, p. 213); and in 1852 was added the western wing of he Hospital, towards which Mdlle. Jenny Lind, when residing at Old Brompton, in July, 1848, munificently presented 1606l. 16s., the proceeds of a concert held by her for its aid. This noble act is gracefully commemorated by Mdlle. Lind's bust being placed upon the Hospital staircase: here also is a painted window, of characteristic design, presented by a governor. The Hospital is ventilated by machinery, worked by a steam-engine; and is warmed by water heated by two large Arnott stoves. In the kitchen, steam is used for boiling caldrons of beef-tea, mutton-broth, arrow-root, coffee, chocolate, &c.; and the provisions are wound up a shaft to the respective wards. The patients take exercise in the well-ventilated passages: and the wards are tempered by warm fresh air, which enters at the floor, and escapes by valves in the ceiling. There are a library for the in-patients, and the Rose Charity Fund for convalescents. The deaths in this new Hospital have never exceeded one in every five in-patients, whereas in the former Hospital they were one in four.

John Timbs, Curiosities of London, 1867