Lewes Hospital for Infectious Diseases – The 1920s

Lewes Hospital for Infectious Diseases > The 1920s

In the New Year Mr. Clarity was paid an extra £10. 10s. for painting part of the hospital and the committee expressed their gratitude to him at their meeting. A new Ward Maid began her duties early in the year and was supplied with two uniform dresses and six aprons by Messrs. Suter & Son. The Town Clerk had approached the Trustees of William Edwin Baxter regarding the new sewer and received a reply with a list of conditions that were subsequently agreed upon. The surveyor would adhere to these when the sewer was laid.

Tradesmen appointed by the committee from June 25th 1921 were as follows:

Mr. J. Shaw Groceries
Mr. G.L. Leaney Milk
Mr. C. Cartwright Fish
Mr. A. Appleby Meat
Mr. H. Pinyoun Bread and flour

The probable expenditure for the following six months was £285. Mr Clarity resigned his appointment in January 1922, but withdrew it on being offered a further £10 a year.

The plastering of the Diphtheria and Scarlet Fever wards were to be carried out at a cost of £70 each ward and the WC’s will be connected to the new sewer system. The wards were to be numbered 1 – 6 after refurbishment. Dr Lemon was the Medical Officer of Health who attended the meetings at this time. The surveyor reported that all works ordered by the committee had been carried out to his satisfaction including the painting of the outside of the Typhoid Ward, the building of the new WC’s and a lobby, completed by H. Constable at a cost of £222 1s. 3d. and new cisterns installed by E.G. Brown, of Brighton costing £31 17s. 6d.

The Ward Maid, Constance V. Schoblom left the hospital and her uniform dresses and aprons were given to her. Another Ward Maid was engaged to replace her. Among the duties of the Caretaker, he was expected to help with patients, maintain roads, walks, trees, shrubs, drains, and was allowed to work in the town and neighbourhood when there were no patients in the hospital.Committee meetings continued to take place every three months and in October 1923 comprised the Mayor (Alderman Verrell), Councillors Wyborn, Ash, Blackett, Chandler, Wood and Young. The Medical Officer of Health, Surveyor and Inspector, plus Caretaker all attended. A visitor book was also put into regular use. The Caretaker produced a list of necessary items for the hospital, as he regularly did and these were in most cases approved. The Establishment Account included:

J. Allwright W. A. – repairing electric bells £2 11s 1d
Arter & Brook – varnish, brushes etc. £0 7s 6d
Briggs F. – caretakers uniform £5 0s 0d
Browne & Crosskey – cups, saucers £0 8s 0d
Davey & Son – new hot water tap and fixing £0 6s 6d
Lewes Gas Co. – gas £3 10s 8d
Lewes Waterworks – water £0 18s 9d

 Maintenance Account:

Clarity W. –  vegetables £2 6s 3d
Flint F. & G.S. – groceries £10 11s 7d
Fry A.L. – fish £2 1s 2d
Martin J. –  milk and eggs £3 19s 2d
Powell & George – bread and flour £2 1s 8d
Watford G. – meat £4 12s 10d

It was resolved that subject to the Trustees of the Wallands Park Estate, the left-hand side of the approach road to the hospital be fenced with chestnut fencing or other material at the Chairman’s discretion. Permission was given and the road was fenced early in 1924.

The outside of wards 1 and 2 and rooms 3 and 4 were to be painted at a cost of £5 3s. 6d. labour, the paint supplied by the committee and the work to be carried out under the direction of the surveyor. Also the rendering of the inside of ward 4 is to be carried out as per estimate of £25. 16s.

New uniforms were supplied to the Nurse/ Matron, plus material for aprons and Mrs. Clarity would have a new uniform suit at a cost not exceeding £5. Councillor Mrs. Wood reported that she had re-engaged Miss Constance V. Schoblom, as Ward Maid at a salary of £30 per annum, in place of Miss Balcome, who had resigned. The surveyor consulted Alderman Every on what should be done about the disinfector, which was almost beyond repair and the cost of a second-hand army disinfector. After some discussion it was decided to accept an estimate from Messrs. Lowdell, Cooper & Co. for cutting out the bottom of the ‘Thrush’ steam disinfector, refitting new plates etc. for the sum of £81.

Mrs. S.J. Philcox was sent a letter of thanks for her kindness in sending gifts to the hospital patients. The Chairman Councillor Blackett, was accorded the best thanks of the committee for his work during the past year and for the numerous visits he paid to the hospital. The Sanitary Inspector reported that a patient had been admitted to the hospital from the Board of Guardians and asked what fee should be charged under the circumstances. It was agreed that the fee should be 5s. per day or £9. 10s. for the full period and an account be tendered to the Board of Guardians.


A letter dated January 20th was read from Mr. Clarity on behalf of himself and his wife, resigning their positions as Caretaker and Nurse / Matron for the reasons set out, to take effect from March 31st 1926. The resignations were accepted with regret, and it was agreed that the Town Clerk be authorised to place advertisements in local publications inviting applications from married couples, not exceeding 40 years of age for the vacancies at a commencing joint salary of £110 per annum. Mr. and Mrs. Clarity were granted a testimonial in respect of their 10 years satisfactory service at the hospital.

Mrs. Philcox of High St. had kindly presented a cane-bottomed carrying chair for use at the hospital and the thanks of the committee were again conveyed to her. The Town Clerk reported that only one application had been received in response to advertisements, namely that of Mr. and Mrs. Clark, of East Ham, London. The Mayor offered to interview them at his London office. The Ward Maid would also be leaving at the end of March and this position was also advertised at a salary of £36 per annum.

The Medical Officer of Health stated that he would be able to arrange with the Councils of Brighton and Chailey for the admission of patients to their respective isolation hospitals at a charge of £3 3s. per patient per week if it was desired because of staffing problems.  Councillor Dusart, having called attention to certain repairs required at the hospital, the Borough Surveyor was instructed to have these attended to.

As the only applicants for the main vacancies were not acceptable a further advert was placed in newspapers and three couples replied. They were invited for interviews. They were Mr. and Mrs. J. Billings, of Lincoln; Mr. H. Cowlam, and Miss. E. Noxon (fiancée), of New Cross; and Mr. and Mrs. S. Hewitt, of Winchester. Following interviews Mr. Cowlam and Miss. Noxon who contemplate early marriage were appointed at a salary of £110. p.a.

There was no response to the Ward Maid advert, so Mrs. Wood ascertained that it might be possible to obtain the services of a suitable girl from the Girl’s Training Home, Chatham at a suggested wage of £19 p.a. She had been in touch with the home and a girl could commence work as soon as possible. Cllr. Wood would make all the arrangements.

Early in the following year an outbreak of mumps had affected the nursing staff at the Victoria Hospital and it was agreed that nurses would be treated at the isolation hospital until the outbreak was over. The surveyor reported that the combination range for supplying hot water to the Diphtheria Ward was worn out and a quotation for supplying and fixing an open fire Ideal Domestic Boiler was obtained amounting to £9 10s. It was agreed that it be accepted. Repairs to the kitchen stove in the Caretakers apartment amounted to £1 15s. and the cost of a new one was £21 5s. The estimated expenditure for the year ending March 31st 1929, was £532.

Instructions for an account for expenses in connection with the case of admission of a girl suffering from mumps was forwarded to her employers, the girl being in domestic service at Plumpton. The employer returned the account. An account amounting to £26. 11s. was received from the Chailey Isolation Hospital for the maintenance at the hospital of a patient during the period of staff holidays last year. The facts were reported in detail and the account was paid.

The committee met at the hospital and inspected the certain parts of the premises which required attention, particularly the Typhoid Ward. They considered the cost of maintaining the hospital and whether desirable arrangements could be made for accommodating at another institution. After some discussion they decided that existing arrangements should continue. With reference to typhoid patients being sent to Brighton they received a letter saying that they were prepared to take patients at a cost of £3 10s. for the first and £3 3s. for any subsequent, per week. The acting Medical Officer of Health submitted a report on a recent inspection of the hospital and stated that since the last meeting eight cases of Diphtheria had been admitted.

The Ward Maid resigned and a new one, Miss. R. McAndrews, had taken up the vacancy at a salary of £38  p.a. plus uniform. The committee extended a warm welcome to Dr. W.R. Dunstan on his first attendance at a committee meeting as Medical Officer in charge at the hospital. He reported favourably on the general condition of the hospital. The Clerk reported that following reports to him by the Matron the Ward Maid, Miss. R. McAndrews, had her services terminated after being employed for less than a month.  Soon after Miss. Doris Parker replaced her at a salary of £30 p.a.;  £6 less than Miss. McAndrews. The committee also engaged a part-time charwoman. Fourteen cases of various diseases were receiving attention at the hospital at this time.