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Galton on the construction of hospitals

Douglas Galton. An address on the general principles which should be observed in the construction of hospitals : delivered to the British Medical Association at Leeds, July 29, 1869, with the discussion which took place thereon. London: Macmillan and Co., 1869. [FCO Historical Collection RA967 GAL]

Like Florence Nightingale (see her Notes on hospitals, here) Douglas Galton drew attention to poor designs of hospital layout, so as to describe their shortcomings and emphasize the simplicity and healthfulness of pavilion ward hospital design. Here he shows two ward layouts, the first a congested block plan in which wards intercommunicate with each other, and with the not well ventilated central corridor/hallways of a medical school, allowing the circulation not of fresh air, but what was known as ‘Hospital Atmosphere’. The hospital is in fact the old King’s College Hospital in Carey Street. The second ward design is taken from the plan of Netley Hospital, and once again, the over-enclosure of space, serving to confine and stagnate air, rather than free it.

Galton was a government Inspector General of Barracks, and a sanitary engineer, and it is likely his views of hospital design were influenced by those of his cousin, Florence Nightingale. By illustrating the Military General Hospital and Swansea New Hospital Galton shows the adaptability of pavilion wards to various ground-plan possibilities.

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