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Places of interest in and around Gosport
Haslar Hospital



The treatment of sick and wounded before the establishment of Naval Hospitals


Long before hospitals were founded by the state for the treatment of its sick and wounded, a scheme was devised by Sir Francis Drake and Sir John Hawkins whereby they endeavoured to procure funds, not only for the treatment of the sick and wounded, but more especially to maintain those who had been maimed in their country's fights.

For this purpose an act was passed in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, after the defeat of the Spanish Armada, by which every parish was assessed at a weekly sum for the maintenance of disabled seamen, born and resident within the county. This was the origin of the "Chatham Chest Fund", the resources of which were increased by the seamen voluntarily agreeing to leave certain sums "defaulked" out of their wages to form a fund for their relief. This fund was subsequently further augmented by the compulsory stoppage of sixpence per month from the seamens' wages; this was instituted by Sir Robert Mansell, then Treasurer of the Navy, about 1604. It will be seen that this fund was a sort of "Benefit Society", the moneys of which were controlled by the Commissioners for the sick and hurt. Any surplus money was deposited in a strong iron chest, with five locks, which was kept in the south porch of Chatham Parish Church.

In the reign of Charles II the chest was presented by the crown with twelve acres of land; and in 1688, it was granted the fines imposed by Courts-Martial.

In 1803 the chest was removed to Greenwich, and in 1814 the funds were amalgamated with those of Greenwich Hospital.

The stoppage of 6d per month, however, from the wages of every seaman of the Royal Navy, did not cease until 1829. The fund at the time of the amalgamation amounted to 1,355,400, together with its estates.

The pensions awarded from the funds varied 12 a year for the loss of both eyes, to 4 a year for the loss of one eye, or for fracture of the skull.

Reference to the Chatham Chest Fund occurs in the celebrated diary of Samuel Pepys, who remarks chiefly on the way corrupt officials helped themselves out of it. The chest is now in the Royal Naval College where it was deposited by the Admiralty, in 1845.

In the time of the early Stuarts, the sick and wounded from the fleets were landed for treatment in the civil hospitals of the country, and when these were not available, they were put into private lodgings, and even into public houses for treatment.
The first Hospital near Gosport

The first record of a hospital near Gosport is dated 1713.

It appears that one Nathaniel Jackson owned a hospital called Fortune Hospital, which was furnished with 700 beds for the treatment of the seamen of the Royal Navy. This hospital was probably situated near where Forton Marine Barracks are now built, and would be conveniently placed for the landing of sick and wounded men from the ships in Portsmouth Harbour. Hospitals for the treatment of service men existed at both Fareham and Forton until 1763, when on the reduction of all Naval Establishments to a peace footing at that date, they were abolished.

Mr Jackson contracted with the Commissioners for the sick and hurt, for the treatment of the patients at so much per head, which, as we have seen, was the custom at that time. In fact, the system still survives at the present day in the treatment of the Coast Guard by Civil Practitioners, who are called "Surgeons and Agents".

Reasons for building Royal Naval Hospitals

On 15th September 1744, the Navy Board presented a memorial to His Majesty, in Council, proposing to build Royal Naval Hospitals at Portsmouth, Plymouth, and Chatham, for the reception and cure of sick and wounded seamen sent on shore from His Majesty's ships. The reasons set forth were that "the want of such hospitals is so sensibly felt, and Your Majesty's service suffers so greatly from the loss of seamen, either by death or desertion, who are sent on shore for the cure of their distempers, that we think it our duty, humbly to renew our former application made to Your Majesty, on that subject (26th October 1741), upon the frequent complaints that we had received of the great disorders and irregularities committed at the place where the sick men are lodged, near Gosport. We ordered Sir John Belchan to send one of his chief Officers to visit the sick men there. He found such a scene of drunkenness, as is expressed in the report he made to the Admiral.

The Want of Royal Hospitals is the cause of the lodgings, diet and nursing of sick men being performed by contract; a method liable to such abuses as are often fatal to the health of the seamen, notwithstanding all the care taken to prevent it. But when the folly of the poor men is considered, intoxicating themselves with strong liquors in the height of their distempers, the great numbers that are swept away by such intemperance, and the desertion of great numbers that recover, both compassion to them and the interest of Your Majesty's service, requires the putting a speedy stop to an evil of such pernicious consequences, which can in no way be effectually done, but by building hospitals.

If it is thought too great an undertaking to erect hospitals at once at all the three above mentioned ports, we do humbly propose that one may be built at the port of Portsmouth, capable of receiving 1,500 patients, which may be completely done for 38,000, as appears by an estimate and plans annexed to the former memorial".
Haslar Hospital
At last it was decided, through the earnest solicitations of John, Fourth Earl of Sandwich, who was then First Lord of the Admiralty, to construct a Royal Naval Hospital at Portsmouth.  A vote was obtained, and the land purchased in 1745.
The site of the present hospital was said to be that of a farm, owned by one Hazelwood, however, that may be, it is not the origin of the name Haslar, which is of much more ancient date than is generally supposed.
In an old charter of the town of Portsmouth, dated 1270, jurisdiction is given to the town authorities over the water from the east of Hambroke to Hasil-Horde, and inward as far as it ebbeth and floweth into Byrg or lake of Fareham, and to Palsgrove.  Hambroke and Palsgrove, as well as Fareham, are still local names.
A round tower is shown on maps of the date of 1540, which occupied the position of Fort Monckton, and was called Haselworth (worth being A.s. for farm) Castle.  An ancient description of the limits of the jurisdiction of the Mayor of Portsmouth, date 1566, refers to Haslar as Haselord Poynte.  It will thus be seen that Haslar is derived from an old place name and from an individual, and place names are generally of great antiquity.
The Hospital is situated on a peninsular piece of land overlooking Portsmouth Harbour and Spithead, having at its south-west extremity Fort Monckton, and on its north-east point stands Fort Blockhouse, guarding the entrance to Portsmouth Harbour.
Boats can approach within about 300 yards of the hospital, and patients are conveyed from the jetty in large four wheeled ambulances which run on rails.  The rails follow the course of the old hospital sewer, which ran in a straight line from its inception near the church to its outfall in Haslar Creek, near to where the jetty is now erected.
In old times, as may be seen in several prints of the hospital, published at the end of the eighteenth century; the water approached much nearer to the buildings than at the present day, but the land which is now used as a recreation ground by the hospital staff, and formerly by the St Vincent Boys, was reclaimed from the mud in Haslar Creek, in 1872-76, and has much improved the general appearance and surroundings of the hospital, as well as having greatly increased its salubrity.
Construction of the Hospital

The three naval hospitals which were built in England about the same time were constructed on three different plans.
 
Plymouth hospital was built on the block system, and was the earliest specimen of a hospital in this country, with a limited number of patients in each block building.  It was built by an architect named Rovehead, between the years 1756 and 1764, and was far in advance of its time.
 
Chatham Hospital was built on the Pavilion system.  Each block or pavilion being in communication with the other, through a corridor.
 
Haslar Hospital was constructed on the Palatial style of architecture without ornamentation.
 
It was built by Mr John Turner, as architect, after the model of Greenwich Palace, which was designed for Charles II by Inigo Jones.
 
The foundations were laid in 1746, and the building completed 16 years later, in 1762.  The hospital was opened, however, for the reception of patients in 1754, the front line of buildings being then completed.  The wings were afterwards added.
 
Before the wing buildings were completed, patients were accommodated in wooden sheds, which occupied the spaces afterwards utilised by the more substantial buildings.  The sheds were not provided with beds and bedding, but hammocks were slung for the patients, who were chiefly the convalescents.
 
The building fronts the north-east: the front being 567 feet long, and the receding wings 553 feet.  The space occupied by the hospital buildings is about 7 acres.
 
It is very substantially built of red brick, made from the local clay, and has white stone facings.  For many years Haslar hospital was the largest brick building in the kingdom, and for that reason was much noted.
 
The hospital, which occupies three sides of a quadrangle consists of a double row of buildings, one within the other.  The double rows are constructed on a modified block-system, communicating with each other at intervals as may be seen from the plan.  The outside block is separated from the inside blocks by an interval of about 34 feet.
 
According to the original intention of the Architect, the hospital was to have been quadrangular in form, one side, however, the South-west has been omitted, and with much advantage, as it allows free access of both sun and air.
This vacant side of the square was afterwards filled up with lofty iron railings (twelve feet in height), having in the centre a gateway leading to the unpretentious little church of St Luke's built in 1762.
 
One was frequently asked the reason for these huge iron railings and gate.  They were put up in 1796, by request of the Governor, in order to check the too frequent desertions which took place, at the same time the lower windows of the hospital were secured by heavy iron gratings, and the doors kept locked at night.  This was the time when the press gang was in full force, when the Navy recruited by force and by emptying the jails.  To obtain a clear picture of the expressment and its atrocities, with the consequent desertions, one must study naval history and the newspapers of that date, such as the old volumes of the "Times".
 
The iron railings were demolished in November 1905, and as a consequence the hospital has assumed an appearance less like that of a prison.
 
The walls of the hospital are of great thickness, and the foundations are of immense depth.  In the lower story the walls are four feet thick, and decrease as they go up, to 1 feet in the attics.  The cellars under the buildings are vast, and the groined arches over the cellars support a floor of brick and concrete.
 
There is no damp-proof course in the old walls, such as is now put into all modern buildings, it had not been introduced when Haslar was erected.
 
The hospital buildings, as I have said, occupy about 7 acres.  The airing grounds - so called because the convalescent patients are allowed to walk and "take the air" there - comprise 33 acres, and are surrounded by a high brick wall, altogether, the enclosed land amounts to 46 acres.  The Haslar-land proper is far more extensive, and extends over 95 acres, including the large field, now used as a recreation ground for the Hospital staff and submarines, and formerly by the St Vincent boys.
 
The allegorical piece of sculpture over the main entrance was highly esteemed in the early days of the hospital.  It was executed by a Mr Pierce, in Portland stone.  In the centre are the Royal Arms of George II.  On the left a female figure represents navigation; she leans on a rudder and pours oil on the wounds of a sailor.  The north star above her head, and the compass at her feet.  At the angle the stem of a ship, with shells, pearls, and zephyrs.  On the right hand side, commerce is represented as sitting among bales and chests, distributing money, fruit, and flowers.  At the angle a sailor in distress, and a bird bringing what appears to be, the serpent of Esculapius in its beak.  At the extreme angle Boreas, shells and ornaments.
 
The hospital was originally constructed to take 1800 patients, with an air space of 600 cubic feet per head, but during the Crimean War there were as many as 2,000 patients under treatment in the hospital at one time.  At the present day it is arranged to
The Water Supply
The water supply for the hospital is derived from two deep wells in the Gunboat Yard, close to the hospital, and within a few feet of Haslar Road.  The south well is the old well, and was sunk at the time the hospital was built.  The south well is on a smaller scale in every way than the north wall, it goes down to a depth of 146 feet to the first water bearing stratum of sand.  The well is lined with a cast iron cylinder 6ft 10in in diameter.  It still yields a fair supply of water.
 
We have a complaint at a very early date, 1759 from the plumber that he had great difficulty in procuring enough water from the well to supply the hospital.  The pumping was done by contract, and the power was a four horse machine.  the circle worn by the tread of the horses was only obliterated in 1905, when the electric light plant was erected in the building.  The sides of the well were not lined with iron at first, as we find an account of the side caving in from the tramping of the horses.  Horses continued to do the work until 1855 when a new steam engine was erected.
 
The north well was sunk in 1859 to a depth of 340 feet.  It goes through the Bracklesham beds and other strata to the chalk.  The shaft of the well is lined with a cylindrical shell of cast iron of 8ft in diameter, for a distance of 51ft 6ins from the surface.  The bore pipe rises up the centre of the well to a height of 16 ft, through which the water overflows into the well itself.
 
The bore pipe, or what is called the old bore, has a diameter of 16 inches, and at a distance of 138 feet from the surface meets the first water.  Apparently the old bore pipe stopped here, but in 1859 the new bore pipe of 12 inches diameter was sunk to a depth of 330 feet, and the boring to a further 10 feet, making a total of 340.  Water was found at various depths, first at 138 feet; then a spring was encountered at 212 feet; water strata at 316 and 340 feet.
 
The lower 29 feet of the bore tube is perforated every 3 or 4 inches.
 
The tube was tested in 1885 and found to be clear for 300 feet, the lower part was reported to be silted up.
 
This well from the surface passes through 2 feet 6 inches of mould and 2 feet of clay, then 18 feet of rock, the only rock met within its whole depth, layers of sand and clay, some of them water bearing of varying thicknesses and formation, extend to the end of the boring.
 
The advantage of having two wells is obvious, when one well or pump is under repair, the other can supply the hospital.
From the wells the water is pumped by the engine, which also drives the laundry machinery, into two large iron tanks at the top of the water tower.
 
Each tank holds 125 tons of water or 50,000 gallons.  The water tower itself is 120 feet high, and forms a conspicuous land mark for many miles around.  It was built in 1885.
 
The tanks in the water tower are 75 feet above the level of the ground, and as they are ten feet deep, a full head of water of 85 feet can be obtained, so that the hydrant can force water over any building in Haslar.  The tops of these tanks are open to the air, and therefore have the advantage of aeration.  From these two tanks the water is carried all over the hospital.
 
The mains also supply a large tank above the laundry, for use of that establishment; it contains 230 tons, and is 23 feet above the ground level; and would be available in the case of fire.
 
Besides this reserve of water in case of fire, there are the old water tanks which are supplied by the storm water from the roofs of the hospital and residential houses.  There are ten tanks underground in the quadrangle and airing grounds made of brick, each having a capacity of 43 tons, four tanks underground in the Terrace, with a capacity of 150 tons, and two near the main gates.
 
These underground tanks hold a reserve of about 630 tons of water.  The water in these tanks is supposed to have been used for various domestic purposes, but it was a water liable to contamination from vegetable and other refuse washed from the roof of the houses, and the overflow from these tanks being into the main tower, not only could sewer air gain access, but rats also from the main drain.
 
Then there is also a large reservoir in the Gunboat Yard, which was at one time supplied from Haslar Mains, but is now in connection with the Gosport water supply.  This reservoir which is really a small artificial lake, used as an experimental pond in which the models of newly designed ships are tested to ascertain their stability and sea-worthiness, contains 3,375 tons of water.  This water could be pumped through the mains into the water tower and so become available for fire, but as it is more or less impure and would contaminate the Haslar water by being pumped into the mains the stationary fire engine can pump the Gosport water direct into the mains without going through the experimental tank.
 
The storage of water at Haslar exceeds 1000 tons, besides being now in direct connection with the Gosport water supply.
 
The Haslar water is a good water for drinking and other domestic purposes, although it is very hard, and contains much sodium chloride and ammonia.
 
In the early days of the hospital the deep well water was supplemented by numerous shallow wells.  The water from the shallow wells was very hard and brackish, and interfered with the laundry work.  It was therefore suggested to the Governor by a
The New Zymotic Hospital
The zymotic hospital is built to the south of the general hospital, close to the sea-wall, and overlooking Spithead.  Erected in 1899, it was occupied 3 years later, in February 1902.
 
It is built on the separate block or pavilion system, each block being separate and independent.  There are four blocks of two stories each, with the administration buildings in the entre, two blocks being on each side.
 
There is a covered way running the whole length of the hospital, but open at the sides, by which one can reach the wards of the different blocks or the administrative buildings without being exposed to the wet in bad weather.
 
Each block consists of two floors, a lower and an upper, and each is an exact counterpart of the other, being separate and quite independent.  The stair, which goes from the covered way to the upper floor, is not at all in connection with the lower floor, but ascends in a separate building open to the air on all sides, and leading to the ward by a passage, open at the sides.
The keeping of cows in the hospital.  Before the houses in the terrace were occupied, the four principal resident Officers, with the Chaplain and Dispenser, had, by direction of the sick and wounded Board, been permitted to feed cattle in the following proportion, viz. two to each of the principal, and one to each of the other gentlemen, on the hospital airing and burying grounds.
 
As eight other officers became resident, by occupying the Terrace houses, the Governor requested their "Lordship's direction how that indulgence should now be appointed.  It is supposed the land, which is bout 23 acres, will maintain one cow to each and any proportion for myself their Lordships may do me the honour to think my situation may entitle me to keep".
 
Their Lordships decided that each of the principal officers should have the privilege of keeping one cow in the grounds belonging to the hospital, and the Governor two.  This privilege of keeping cows was enjoyed by the residents in Haslar till quite recent years.  When the keeping of cows was abolished the residents received a yearly payment in lieu, but even this was stopped about 5 years ago, and any money that is derived from grazing, or from hay grown on the paddock and airing grounds, is devoted to the keeping up of the grounds, flowers, shrubs, etc.
 
In 1800, the Governor seems to have reached the lowest depth of despair as regards his house, "the house is constantly wet, and the servants' rooms streaming with rain".  He plaintively requests that the Admiralty would stop Mr Bunce, the Architect, from making "experiments which have been constantly tried, and as constantly failed to make my house habitable".
Haslar Museum
We are indebted to the exertions made by Sir William Burnett while Commissioner of the Victualling Board in 1822, for the establishment of the museum as well as the library.  The keys of the museum and library were handed over to Dr Scott, on 18th June 1827.
 
The museum at first consisted of two rooms, one on the ground floor, and one above.  The museum is situated on the inner wing of the south side of the hospital square, near the centre.
 
On 26th June, Dr Scott began to remove the specimens from the cupboards in the hospital wards, in which they had been deposited, to the museum, which smelt so strongly of turpentine, that it would have been improper to have sooner commenced the work.
 
In the earlier years of the museum, large quantities of skins of mammals and birds, as well as geological, botanical, and other specimens, were received through the victualling office.
 
In 1828 a number of pathological and other specimens were received from Malta, also in 1835, some came from Melville hospital, Chatham: and from Greenwich hospital in 1846.
 
Another room was added in 1840, and in 1850, Mr Barron was appointed Curator, which appointment he held until 1884.  From this date until the appointment of Fleet Surgeon Bassett-Smith, in 1900, very little was done in the museum.
 
The Museum as may be readily surmised from its intimate connection with the Navy, contains a large and varied collection of specimens from all parts of the world, zoological, botanical, geological, and a miscellaneous collection of weapons and objects of curiosity.  There is also a good and rapidly increasing collection of pathological specimens.
 
The total number of specimens catalogued in the museum, amounts to 11,585, but this by no means accounts for all the objects in the museum, as neither the pathological nor the entomological specimens are yet catalogued.
 
In 1903, a much needed additional room was added for the anatomical and pathological specimens.
 
It is difficult to select any one group of objects as being specially representative or specially interesting, but there is a very good representative collection of human skulls from widely divided parts of the globe, also some fine tattooed heads from New Zealand.
 
The Hon Court of Directors of the East India Company presented a fine collection of coloured casts of fossil remains of vertebrata, from the Sewalik Hills, India.
 
There is a fine collection of marine fossils, presented by P C Sutherland, Esq.
The Burial Grounds of the Hospital
The whole land to the south-west of the hospital, including the enclosed ground now known as the paddock and the old cemetery, as well as the ground on which the Terrace stands, was used indiscriminately as a burial ground in the early days of the hospital.  As I have already mentioned, any excavation in the neighbourhood of the Terrace, even now, disclose skeletons, only a few feet from the surface: although the skulls and the long bones are fairly well preserved, there are no traces of coffins, and it is doubtful if any ever existed.
 
No record was ever kept of the numbers of bodies interred here, but no doubt they were very great.  We know that in the eighteenth century, the men died literally by hundreds.  Dr Lind, who was Physician to the hospital states that in 1780, which was not an exceptional year, 909 died in the hospital, while in 1779, there were 807 deaths.  Then there were in addition, the bodies of all those men who died in the ships at Spithead and in the harbour, and we know that the crews of these ships were frequently decimated by disease.  Although there was no registration of interments, yet, it is stated that, in three years towards the end of the eighteenth century, 3,600 bodies were buried in the paddock.
 
There is a curious complaint, "that corpses landed from the ships for burial, are often left lying the whole day at the landing place, owing to the neglect of the hospital labourers."
 
The sick and wounded of Sir John Moore's army which occupied Haslar, perished in large numbers, and were interred in the paddock.
 
The army continued to use the naval burial grounds for many years.  A part of the ground was set apart as a Turkish cemetery, but on the building of the zymotic hospital, the Turkish tombstones and remains were removed to the new cemetery.  Many of the men who perished in the wreck of the Royal George are buried in the paddock, and it is possible, that the remains of Admiral Kempenfelt himself lie here.
 
In 1826 the north corner of the paddock was enclosed by a wall, and the ground consecrated and used as a cemetery.
 
The tombstones scattered over the paddock were ordered to be removed, and carried inside, and placed against the wall of the newly enclosed ground.
Among these stones, is that to the first Governor of the Hospital, as well as one to a Russian Noble.  Only one horizontal stone was left, this is quite near the south end of the terrace, and although now illegible, it was deciphered a few years ago, as erected to the memory of two brothers called Marshall, one a Chaplain in the Navy, and the other a Colonel of a regiment in Gosport.
The old cemetery was discontinued as a burial ground in 1859, and is now used for the production of flowers and plants for the hospital, as it is well wooded and carefully kept, it forms one of the most charming spots in the neighbourhood.
The new cemetery situated about a quarter of a mile beyond the old burial ground, was opened in April 1859, and so rapidly has it filled that more ground had to be enclosed in 1904.  One of the largest and most imposing monuments in the new cemetery is that erected to the memory of the 311 officers and men who perished in HMS Eurydice, which foundered off the Isle of Wight on 24th March, 1878.
Here also are interred the bodies of two officers and nine men of the submarine A.1. disaster, which occurred on 18th March 1904.
The mortality in Haslar hospital shows remarkable uniformity, during the last six years, the highest death rate per annum has been 69 and the lowest 63, a difference of 6 only, an average of 65.
The new cemetery has not only to provide space for those who die at Haslar, but for the whole port, as well as for the marines in barracks.
Haslar Bridge
A history of Haslar hospital would be incomplete without a reference to Haslar Bridge, which connects the establishment with Gosport.

We find in the old records, frequent reference to the "Ferryman, who was borne on the books of the hospital as part complement.  His duties were to convey the Officials of the hospital from one side to the other of the Creek.  This ferryman, as we will see, was in constant danger of being seized by the press-gang: and we read, how in fear and trembling he sought the protection of the Physician and Council.

Previous to 1762, there was no bridge across the "lake" or creek, but in that year the Physician and Council pointed out to the Commissioners for the sick and hurt, the advantages of having a bridge erected.  One of their chief arguments in favour of the construction of a bridge, was, that in the case of fire, they would be so much nearer to Gosport, and thus obtain assistance so much quicker, and as justifying their demand, they refer to the unfortunate accident that had befallen Plymouth hospital, from fire.

They also state that it would be of great service in procuring provisions cheaper from the contractor.  The Brewer alone, "says he would supply beer, 30 a year under the present contract, and the other contractors would make abatements in proportion".

In 1795 we find the bridge built, and as we may presume, Lewis, the ferryman, finding his appointment threatened with extinction, commenced to build a house at the foot of the bridge, on the Gosport side, wherein he proposed to sell beer, having obtained a licence from the Gosport Magistrates.

This conduct of the late ferryman irritated the Governor of Haslar, who promptly tried to prevent him selling intoxicating liquors.  In this the Governor failed; and the ferryman not only sold beer, but obtained a licence also to sell spirits, which aggravated the case still more.
As the Magistrates would not take away the licence from the public at the foot of the bridge, and as the people of Haslar went over the bridge to get liquor, and much drunkenness followed, the Governor recommended the Admiralty to remove the bridge altogether, but this they refused to do; he then suggested that the road leading from the bridge to Haslar, which is a private road, should be stopped, and the land let to a farmer as a field (1796).

This bridge, it appears, was not a Government bridge, but was owned by a Mr Forbes.  The bridge did not exist very long, being destroyed about 1801.
We find in 1810, the Admiralty agreed to pay Mr Forbes, late proprietor 20 per annum, for the time the people of Haslar passed over the bridge without toll.
In 1811, the people of Haslar petitioned the Admiralty to build a bridge over the creek.  An order was accordingly given to the Officer Commanding the Royal Engineers, to erect a timber bridge over the water.  This seems to have been only a temporary bridge, or probably only a foot bridge.

In 1813, we find Mr Forbes or his executors had not yet been paid the 20 per annum for the time people passed over his bridge free.
In 1814, the residents in Haslar again petitioned the Government to build a bridge, and in 1815, the Admiralty refused to entertain the question of building a bridge, owing to the great expense, and the small convenience it would be to Haslar hospital.

Nothing further was done for twenty years, when the present proprietary bridge was constructed, and opened for traffic on 1st April 1835.
The Admiralty agreed to an annual payment of 50 to the bridge company, in consideration that the Officers and persons belonging to the hospital, their families and servants should be exempt from toll.  The residents of Haslar hospital still continue to be exempt from toll, and the annual payment remains the same.

Those who invested their money in this bridge, did wisely, as I believe, the shareholders of the company receive handsome dividends.
Haslar & it's surroundings
In 1761, Mr Trotman, the Steward, suggested laying out the quadrangle, and the Physician and Council thought something of the kind ought to be done.
The quadrangle was eventually laid out, and wooden posts and rails put up to keep the patients from walking on the grass and flowers, but these posts were so frequently broken, that an estimate was obtained of 50, to erect stone posts and chains.  The stone posts and chains still remain.

The airing grounds have a long stretch of sea front overlooking Spithead, with beautiful views of the Isle of Wight on the right, and Portsmouth and Southsea on the left.  This sea-wall was not finished until 1797, it ends in Fort Monckton, the Fort in which the Military guard of the hospital formerly were lodged, on the south-west; and on the north-east in a narrow spit, on the extreme end of which stands Fort Blockhouse, which guards the western entrance to Portsmouth harbour, and from which in by gone times great chains were stretched to the opposite end of the harbour.  These chains were tightened in time of danger by means of capstans, and thus served to protect the harbour from hostile fleets.  They were last used in 1778, but were still present at the beginning of the 19th Century.  On this point, also, stood a gibbet on which the bodies of local criminals were hung as a warning to evil doers.  The last time it was used was in 1780, when Jack the Painter, a notorious criminal, who attempted to burn down Portsmouth Dockyard, was hung in chains, here.
Early failures
A seaman fell from the top of a ship fitting at Plymouth, and was dreadfully injured.  "He was immediately conveyed on shore, but nobody could be found to open the gate of the Hospital.  At last access was obtained; but the surgeon could not be found; he was attending a gentleman of great fortune in Cornwall".  It is added that the man died from the haemorrhage from his wounds.

The same writer also relates "how a Post Captain was so ill as to be carried on shore in his bed to sick quarters.  He was visited on the third day by a private Physician, who came at the desire of the Surgeon of the Royal Hospital, as the latter was attending the accouchement of Lady M. at sixty miles distance".
Trotter recommended that the Surgeons of Royal Naval Hospitals should be lodged within the walls, also, that all the Assistants of the hospital should reside within the hospital and have suitable apartments and house provisions allowed.  "At present they live at a distance, and many of them keep shop".  He also advised the total abolition of the private exercise of the profession by Officers of the hospital.

The hospital at Haslar was opened for the reception of patients in 1754, but at that time, and for many years after its inauguration, Haslar hospital consisted of little besides the building of the front block.  The Medical Officers had no official residences, and the senior officers appear to have lived away from the hospital altogether, but the junior Medical Officers and minor Officials had accommodation within the walls; even many of the labourers with their wives and children were lodged in the hospital, which thus curtailed the space available for the few patients who could be admitted.

The majority of the sick were still distributed to the hospitals at Fareham and Forton, and scattered about the town of Gosport, not excepting even the public houses.
The organisation and administration of a large institution like Haslar Hospital have been the slow growth of years.  In its early days, the hospital was administered by what was officially designated the "Physician and Council", this comprised the Senior Medical Officer and the Principal Officers of the hospital, seven in number, who were responsible to the Commissioners for the sick and hurt.

The hospital records date from the 24th February 1756, and although the Physicians and Council were responsible for the good government of the hospital, yet they could not engage a nurse or dismiss a labourer without the sanction of the Commissioners for the sick and wounded.  Letters were constantly passing between the Commissioners in London and the Administrative body in Haslar, which thus gives us a clear insight into the working of the hospital in its infancy.

The staff consisted of the Medical Officers, Dispensers, Steward, Matron, Nurses, and 4 or 5 labourers; and to this nucleus others were gradually added as time went on.  Thus the Physician and Council had great difficulty in finding a fit person to act as barber, while it took many weeks to procure a suitable man as plumber.
On 14th September 1763.  Orders were received to reduce the Royal Hospital at Haslar, during the time of peace to the following establishment.
 
            1 Physician                                           at         200 per annum
            1 Surgeon                                             at         150 per annum
            1 Assistant to him                                 at         5/- per day
            1 Steward                                            at         100 per annum
            1 Clerk to him                                      at         50 per annum
            1 Agent                                                at         100 per annum
            1 Clerk to him                                      at         50 per annum
            1 Chaplain                                            at         50 per annum
            1 Dispenser                                          at         100 per annum
            1 Assistant to him                                 at         50 per annum
            1 Matron                                              at         25 per annum
            1 Butler                                                at         20 per annum
            1 Porter                                                at         30 per annum
            1 Barber                                               at         20 per annum
            1 Cook                                                            at         12 per annum
            1 Ferryman                                           at         20 per annum
            1 Plumber                                             at         2/- per day
 
            With only such a number of labourers as the service may really require to keep such a large building in proper order, at the rate of 5/- a week, each, and the provisions of the hospital.
The Guard at the Hospital

In the early days of the hospital and until well into the nineteenth century the hospital grounds were patrolled by a guard of soldiers, drawn from the regiment stationed at Fort Monckton.

In 1795 the guard was only a subaltern's guard, which allowed an inadequate number of men to be on duty at a time.

The Governor pointed out, that the wall enclosing the hospital and grounds was about a mile in circumference, and had to be guarded day and night.  The number of men then allowed was 9 sentinels by day and 12 by night.

The Governor requested that this number should be doubled and that sentinels should be posted outside the wall as well as inside the wall to prevent the too frequent desertions.  The Governor was granted 15 additional men.  The sentry boxes were on wheels, so as to be continually moved, in order that the patients should not determine the exact position of the sentry.
After the soldiers' guard came the old Dockyard Police force. This was a force of special police, who were employed for the protection of the Dockyards and other naval establishments.
The force patrolled the hospital until 1860, when the Dockyard and hospitals were taken over by the Metropolitan Police. The men of the old Dockyard Police were absorbed into the new force, which have continued ever since to guard the interests of the Naval Hospital.
Although there is not the inducement for the men to desert as formerly, yet the prevention of desertion is but a minor part of the Policeman's duties at the present day.  It is due to the vigilance of the Police that the precincts of the hospital are kept clear of undesirable characters, and that the smuggling of articles either into or out of the hospital is frustrated.
The present police force consists of a station sergeant, at the head, two sergeants and eleven constables; one constable is detailed to look after the fire arrangements and engines, which takes up the whole of his time.
Patients
Haslar in its infancy, as we have seen, only admitted a small proportion of the crowd of sick and wounded that were sent on shore.  Some were sent to a hospital at Fareham, some to a hospital at Forton, while others were scattered over the town of Gosport in private houses as well as the public houses.  We can imagine what care and treatment would be bestowed upon poor suffering humanity in a public house, with the sign of the "Dog and Bull", if it were not proved by the complaints of the Physician and Council, who ordered that the patients, quartered there should be moved, and nor more sent.
Frequent complaints are made of the crowded state of the houses in Gosport, where the sick were quartered; of the dirty condition of the beds, etc., Officers seem always to have been quartered in the town of Gosport or Portsmouth.  One Officer was brought on shore, from the Surgeon of his ship, by fraudulent means.
The patients were often received into Haslar in a wretched condition.
In those days there were no uniform nor dress regulations laid down for the seamen, as a consequence we have frequent reports from the Physician and Council that "many patients are sent here sometimes with a single jacket, and at other times with no clothes in their hammocks, we are also in danger of being overrun with vermin from the men having no shift of linen".  Again "many patients relapse into fevers and rheumatism for want of clothing".  It is reported that Officers' servants are sometimes sent on shore nearly naked, one man had only a pair of trousers and a shirt quite worn out.  We have the Physician and Council reporting that men were kept in hospital because they had "no clothes to go out in", while others "were entirely destitute of clothing".
We have frequent reference to the vermin in the men's clothing and to "lousy bedding".  All the men's clothing and bedding were put into the "smoake house" on the admission of the patients, to be smoked.  In 1756 the Board enquired of the Physician and Council if the shed used for smoking the clothes answered the purpose for which it was designed, viz. killing the vermin.
The Physician and Council were reluctantly compelled to answer that it did not.
The patients received into Haslar were not exclusively confined to men of the Royal Navy.  Soldiers were several times received.  In 1757, orders were received at Haslar to admit "all soldiers and women who may be sent on shore with small pox, from the transports of St. Hellen's" and again in 1760 the Physician and Council were to receive "such infirm provincials from America, made prisoners of war, as shall be brought to Portsmouth".  While in 1808 the hospital was lent to the Army for a time.
The staff at the hospital must have been kept fully employed if we are to judge from the number of patients entering the hospital and under treatment.  The Physician and Council state that "between 17th December 1757 and 14th January 1758 we received into this hospital 693 patients, notwithstanding there were upwards of 900 in the house at the beginning of this period" and they were taken in "near a 100 at a time".
We have seen that patients on admission to Haslar, frequently required clothing, they no less urgently required the application of soap and water.  Orders were therefore given that all patients that were considered fit to undergo the process by the Physician and Surgeon were to be washed, and labourers were employed to bathe them in tubs.
The furnishing and equipment of the hospital were of the most primitive description, there were no baths, nor were any baths installed during the first fifty years of the hospital existence.  We have the Physician and Council complaining that they could not give effect to the order to wash the patients, as they were in want of a "copper for warming water fixed with a fire place".
Even at the beginning of the 19th century there were no baths, but patients were still bathed in tubs.  Trotter says it was impracticable to get patients to bathe in these tubs, because they reminded them of scrubbing, by way of punishment, on board.  Trotter considered that a "sailor under disease ought to be bathed like a gentleman".
We have frequent complaints from the Physician and Council pointing out the dire distress they were in for want of lint to dress their patients.  Old linen was apparently supplied to the hospital instead of lint (1756) and the labourers on the surgical side of the hospital were constantly employed "scraping lint", from the old sheets and nightshirts supplied to them by the Matron.  The Matron also cut up the old sheets to make caps for the patients.         
Liquor and Smuggling
One of the most frequent causes of trouble and insubordination in the hospital was the introduction of intoxicating liquors.
The patients were allowed to have a drink of beer to quench their thirst between breakfast and dinner, and also between dinner and supper, should their thirst demand it.  The wines and porter prescribed by the Medical Officers, were also on a very liberal scale, but if any patient was receiving more than one bottle of wine a day, it had to be specially reported.
It was no uncommon event to receive patients in a state of intoxication.  Alcoholic liquors appear to have been easily procured in those days, with the result that the patient often had a drinking bout with his mess-mates before taking his departure for the hospital. 
Liquor was smuggled into the hospital by the patients, by their friends outside, by traders in the way of business, and in various other ways.  Soldiers were in the habit of throwing bottles of gin over the wall to the sailors inside, and we find the Physician and Council taking measures "to prevent patients getting liquors through the bars".
The Physician and Council report to the Commissioners "that the hospital swarms with publicans every day, and provisions and liquor are introduced more frequently than ever".  They further relate the punishment that was awarded to the offenders caught dealing in liquor within the hospital.  "We found four retailing spirits in the house, two escaped, but the two others we got impressed, and believing this last severity will put an entire stop to it".
They were shipped off to Spithead to serve their King and Country.  It is astonishing to find that the patients were able to smuggle such large quantities of liquor into the hospital.  In June, 1779, a patient smuggled at least five gallons of liquor into the hospital, from his ship, in bladders.  The nurses and even the guard were not always above suspicion of smuggling liquor for the patients.
Smuggling was also carried out on a large scale, as we read of "a large seizure of brandy made on the beach at the back of the hospital in which one of the labourers was concerned".
Desertion
It is stated that in 1755, Haslar was a common "take off" for deserters and it is not surprising that the poor fellows used every means in their power to regain their freedom.  The Navy in those days could not be recruited by voluntary enlistment, recourse was therefore had to force by what was called "the press-gang".  The press-gang captured  the able-bodied seafaring man when possible, but on failing to secure seamen they pressed landsmen; and on the numbers proving insufficient, the authorities took the scum of the population, prisoners from the jails, and patients from the hospitals.
The hospital boundary wall was patrolled by a guard of soldiers, who had their quarters in Fort Monckton, but they could not stop the desertion.  We therefore find the Physician and Council submitting a proposal to lock the patients in the wards at night.
It was the custom to offer a 1 reward for the recovery of a deserter, the money being deducted from his wages.  This regulation seems to have been in abeyance for a short time, with the following result as related by the Physician and Council.
"Since the patients have been informed that the reward of 20/- is no longer to be given for taking up seamen who desert from hospital, they have become extremely riotous, insomuch that forty or fifty men have gone over the hospital walls in the middle of the day, some of whom return often drunk, and in a worse state of health than when they went out".
Desertions continued all the time the hospital was in charge of the Physician and Council, nor were they checked by the appointment of Governor and Lieutenants.
Soon after the appointment of a Governor, he petitioned the Lords Commissioners to enclose the South-west side of the quadrangle with high iron railings, (1796) also to have the windows barred with heavy cast-iron gratings; the doors were also locked at sunset; but notwithstanding all these precautions the desertions went on as before.
To shew the devices by which men effected their escape from the hospital, we read on Sunday night, (1796) four men escaped by lowering themselves down through the bogs, into the main drain of the hospital, and out into the Creek.
A sentry was placed at the mouth of the drain, and caught one man the first night.  The Governor found on examination that it was perfectly accessible at low water day or night, either to go fro or come to the hospital, and he was confident that quantities of liquor have been smuggled in by that means, and many men have escaped.  The old sewer is a brick culvert 6ft 3ins in height by 3ft 4ins in width, and ran in a straight line from Haslar Creek up the centre of the quadrangle to near St. Luke's Church.  It had also full sized side branches.
It was also suspected that the patients bribed the nurses and sentries with liquor in order to be allowed to escape, as much as three full bottles of wine having been found on one patient, saved up from the allowance, daily prescribed by the doctor.
The Governor sent in a return showing the number of men who had made good their escape from the hospital; the numbers were more or less incomplete, except for the year 1797, when 180 men are reported to have run.
When the seamen of the eighteenth century failed to get out of the navy by desertion, or if his nerve was not equal to the attempt, he frequently made use of another method of escape from the service, namely, by endeavouring to outwit the doctors, by feigning sickness, or as it is called" malingering".
Dr Trotter who was Physician to the hospital towards the end of the eighteenth century, says, that the patient was frequently detected malingering, "He employs caustics to produce ulcers, and drinks a decoction of tobacco to bring on emaciation, sickness at stomach and quick pulse".
Trotter also considered that impressment brought on a kind of mental affliction, peculiar to men who had been impressed, and that numbers perished from this alone, without any other apparent disorder.


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