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This blog makes liberal use of AB's journals, letters, travel notes, and other sources.

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Tuesday, 1 October 2013


Tuesday, October 1st., Comarques, Thorpe-le-Soken.

Hospital for Incurables, West Hill.

The Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability (RHN) was established in July 1854 at a meeting held at the Mansion House, chaired by the Lord Mayor of London. The hospital's founder, Andrew Reed, had a record as a practical philanthropist, having previously set up four other charities, and Charles Dickens, the celebrated author, was one of the first high profile figures to show his support by helping Reed raise funds for it. The RHN was originally known as the Hospital for Incurables. It was based in a converted workhouse in Carshalton, Surrey, but as demand for its services grew, larger premises were required, and in 1857 it moved to a more spacious house in Putney. Just a few years later, even more space was needed and so in 1863 the hospital relocated to its permanent home, Melrose Hall on West Hill, in Putney. Melrose Hall came with 24 acres of land on which, until the 1960s, the hospital ran a working farm, supplying fresh produce for patients’ meals. The Hall also had extensive gardens, parts of which had been landscaped by Lancelot “Capability” Brown. Although much of the land has now been developed, the RHN's patients, residents, relatives and employees still benefit from using the hospital's large landscaped gardens.

What must be the feelings of the patient as he drives into the entrance to this hospital, and sees the big sign: "Hospital for Incurables"?

Additionally for October 1st., see 'Waiting with style' -

As he carried the plate out with the change on it, he held it the least bit in the world at arm's length, exposing it with scorn to the inspection of the chasseur as he passed him. It was a fine, subtle, gesture, and pleased me as much as it annoyed me.

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