Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 18

Thread: Cambridge Military Hospital, Aldershot - October 09

  1. #1
    Join Date
    September 2009
    Location
    Oxford
    Posts
    2,522
    Thanked
    6804

    Default Cambridge Military Hospital, Aldershot - October 09


    After an early disappointment at Pyestock me, Allstar plus two other friends headed down to Cambridge Military Hospital, a hospital that seems to have largely fallen under the radar, probably because of it's location making it a difficult one to get round without being caught. We had no intention of going round the interior as we didn't have the proper kit, all we wanted was some photos of the fantastic admin block, easily the most impressive derelict building I've seen, possibly the finest admin block in the country. We had heard that the security folk occasionally let people take photos of the exterior, and after a bit of a chat and a phonecall to the MOD we were allowed to take as many as we liked around the main hospital building.

    It closed in 1996 after asbestos and other faults were found throughout. For some reason,despite the totally different layout it reminded me of Cane Hill

    Seeing as this is a seldom-covered location here is some history:

    The Cambridge Hospital was built by Messrs Martin Wells and Co. of Aldershot at a cost of 45,758, and was opened for the admission of patients on Friday 18th July 1879. The hospital was named after HRH The Duke of Cambridge (1819 - 1904) who was the only son of the seventh son of HM George III. He was made a Field Marshall in 1862, and was Commander-in-Chief of the Army from 1856-1895.

    The hospital was originally designed as a series of individual "regimental hospitals" joined by a connecting corridor, with each self-contained to reduce the risk of cross infection. But this system had been discontinued in 1873 before the hospital opened and so it was always run as a single establishment. The architect "proposed that the bricks of the arched roof of the wards shall be perforated, and in connection with flues, through which outlets the heated or ventilated air of the wards shall escape; and the introduction of the external air is provided for by a series of perforated plates of zinc running round the base of the skirting board; and that, moreover, a series of them should likewise run up the centre of the floor for the admission of fresh air into that part of the chamber; and in order to prevent the apertures from in these horizontal plates being obstructed by dust, as well as to guard against fluid during the washing of the ward finding its way into the air passage in connection with the plates, it was suggested that they should be raised, say two inches, above the level of the floor".

    The interior of the walls were to be faced with brick and whitewashed. The Hospital Board did not approve and "earnestly hoped that this plan may not be adhered to, nothing more unseemly or more cellar-like than would be presented by such an imperfect finish to the wards being approved of; no comforts in the rooms, and no arrangements, could ever compensate for the chilling feature of an uncovered surface of brick wall for the sick man's eye to rest on".

    The Cambridge was probably the first base hospital in the history of the Army to receive casualties direct from the battle front. The battle of Mons took place on August 20th 1914. The Aldershot News stated that:

    "The first batches of wounded men arrived at the Cambridge and Connaught Hospitals from Southampton on Sunday. Most of those sent on to Aldershot met with their injuries during the battle of Mons. They were moved to their respective hospitals with the utmost care and solicitude. All tell a terrible story of the desperate character of the fighting at Mons."

    The Cambridge was also the birthplace of plastic surgery in the British Empire. Captain Gillies (later Sir Harold), on leave in Paris in June 1915, met Morestin who was doing wonderful work on the reconstruction of faces in the Val-de-Grace Hospital in Paris. In his own words Gillies "stood spellbound as Morestin removed half a face distorted with cancer". He fell in love with the work on the spot, and at the end of 1915 was sent back from France to start a Plastic Unit in the Cambridge Hospital. His suggestion to the War office that all wounded face and jaw patients should be labelled for Aldershot was received without enthusiasm. Nevertheless he bought 10 worth of labels in a local bookshop and sent them to the War Office for this purpose. He had little hope of seeing them again, but after the battle of the Somme facial wounds arrived in Britain "not only with my labels but with official ones issued by the War Office, neatly made out for me". They prepared for 200 patients, but 2,000 arrived at Southampton. The Unit was established under Sir W. Arbuthnot and Captain Gillies, the dental side of the work was done by Kelsey Fry (later Sir William), and the artist was Professor Tonks of the Slade Art School, who had retired and was found by Gillies working as a secretary in an adjutant's office having volunteered to "do his bit".



    The original part of the Cambridge has not changed greatly since it was built. The famous long central corridor once had entrances at both ends. The Leishman Laboratory was built at the east end and opened by Lady Leishman in 1932. The first Commanding Officer was Major A. Hood and the great Leishman himself worked in the laboratory. During World War II the Cambridge was greatly expanded since Aldershot had become a large military centre, and many well known medical men walked the long corridor.

    The clock tower of the hospital once housed a large bell and two smaller ones. The large bell has a twin which went to Windsor Castle, and they are called the Sebastopol bells. They were brought home along with other captured Russian trophies from the Crimes in 1856, and came from the Church of the Twelve Apostles in Sebastopol. Cast by Nicholas Samtoun of Moscow, each weighed 17cwt 1qr 21lb, and they were put on show at Woolwich Arsenal in February 1856. The Aldershot bell was erected on a wooden stand near the Headquarters Office huts which stood between Gun Hill and Middle Hill, and a sentry rang the bell like a gong on each hour. The bell was moved into the Cambridge clock tower when it was built, where it continued to ring the hours. The smaller bells bore the inscription: "Cast by Gillet Bland & Co., clock makers to Her Majesty, Croydon 1878 London". They were used to ring the quarters until, in 1914, a senior officer decided that the bells should be silenced as they disturbed the patients. The large bell was moved to Steeles Road in March 1961, where it was unveiled by the GOC Major-General R.A. Bramwell-Davis, and later moved again to its present site outside Gun Hill House.

    For the last 30 years of its existence, civilians were admitted to the hospital when beds were available, with priority given to those with military connections. The esteem in which the hospital was held can be judged by the number of people who tried to gain admission. One lady advancing her claim, announced that her grandfather was killed in the Boer War. Although since the Second World War the Cambridge had decreased its bed strength, it still provided a third more beds that when it was first opened, having 350 beds including 27 for officers and 102 for women and dependents. The Central Sterile Supply Service started to supply syringes during the Suez crisis in 1956, expanded rapidly to supply ready packed operating equipment. By the 1990s it supplied made-up packs for practically every medical and surgical procedure large and small. The Cambridge Hospital was amongst the first in the country to establish this type of service. The hospital housed the Army Chest Unit and a well appointed outpatient department located at the west end of the corridor was opened in 1967.

    Sadly the disadvantages of the historic old building were used to support the closure of the hospital. Asbestos found in the walls and ceiling of the building was being removed as wards were refurbished two or three at a time, until work was halted by the proposed closure. Fire hazards prevented most of the upper floor being used, although fire standards had been improved. Many departments were cramped, and because the hospital was built on a hill for hygiene reasons, any outwards development was prevented. (It was originally thought that building it on a ridge would encourage clean air to waft through the wards.) The kitchens were said to need modernization to bring them up to food safety standards, and water was supplied through cast iron pipes which give it a yellow tinge.
    enough text, here's some pics













    Last edited by mookster; 28th Oct 09 at 22:30.

  2. Thanks given by: Alalex
  3.  
     
  4. #2
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    In the past
    Age
    60
    Posts
    1,841
    Thanked
    549

    Default


    Great shots there fella,it is indeed a very elegant looking admin block.

  5. #3
    Join Date
    September 2009
    Location
    Oxford
    Posts
    2,522
    Thanked
    6804

    Default


    cheers:)

    have uploaded these and the rest of the shots I took to my flickr here http://www.flickr.com/photos/mookie4...7622560102647/

  6. #4
    Join Date
    June 2009
    Location
    Feltham - West London
    Age
    29
    Posts
    90
    Thanked
    8

    Default


    Some of my shots

    Admin



    Could this be the mortuary?



    Nature reclaiming the site



    Some of the decoration on the admin block directly under teh clock tower



    I like this upward shot


  7. #5
    Join Date
    January 2009
    Location
    North Berkshire.
    Age
    67
    Posts
    3,392
    Thanked
    1580

    Default


    What a great place:)
    May the shadow of Murphy never darken your door."
    Flickr

    Forgotten Fairmile
    Spuds Rural Explorations
    The Church explorer

  8. #6
    Join Date
    September 2008
    Location
    Reading
    Age
    32
    Posts
    296
    Thanked
    5

    Default


    No entry to the buildings?

  9. #7
    Join Date
    June 2009
    Location
    Feltham - West London
    Age
    29
    Posts
    90
    Thanked
    8

    Default


    We only had permission for external shots, mainly for my friends uni project, but obviously we got some photos for ourselves :)

  10. #8
    Join Date
    September 2008
    Location
    Reading
    Age
    32
    Posts
    296
    Thanked
    5

    Default


    Ah, I see. It's a tricky one to get into.

  11. #9
    Join Date
    April 2008
    Location
    Aberdeenshire
    Posts
    185
    Thanked
    11

    Default


    Nice photo's the front looks kind of similar to Dr Grays Hospital in Elgin

  12. #10
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    In the past
    Age
    60
    Posts
    1,841
    Thanked
    549

    Default


    The mortuary is round the back down the path..


Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

About us
DerelictPlaces is a forum for people with an interest in the history and documentation of disused, derelict and abandoned buildings to come together and share their experiences, photography and historical findings. Our military, industrial and historical heritage is fast disappearing under the pressure of regeneration, the need for new housing, and often through simple neglect; Our aim is to document these places before they disappear entirely.
Follow us