H.G. Wells, Sir Edward Sassoon, and telegraphy

Shortly after attending Alban O’Brien’s excellent talk on the Great War poet Siegfried Sasson, I was reading H.G. Wells’s The Sea Lady (as one does) from 1901 and came upon this dialogue:

“And in the next there’s the Sea Lady.”
“I thought she——”

“She’s a mermaid.”
“It’s no objection. So far as I can see, she’d make an excellent wife for him. And, as a matter of fact, down here she’d be able to help him in just the right way. The member here—he’ll be fighting—this Sassoon man—makes a lot of capital out of deep-sea cables. Couldn’t be better. Harry could dish him easily. That’s all right. Why shouldn’t he have her?”

I had to do some research. The “Sassoon man” must have been Sir Edward, Member of Parliament for Hythe and a promoter of cable telegraphy. Here’s a speech to Parliament in May 1900 demonstrating his enthusiasm.

Sassoon was a supporter of the All Red Line, an informal name for the high-tech communications network connecting the British Empire. A map from a 1903 book about the topic gives an idea of the system:

In his humorous novel, Wells was enjoying the idea that his character could defeat Sassoon for the Hythe seat, not as the better candidate, but as a champion of mermaids against deep-sea telegraphy cables. Surely Sasson’s deep-sea cables would threaten the mermaid habitat, and to have a real mermaid for his wife could garner sympathy and score votes against the opposition!

But there are some who would say that Edward Sassoon was a visionary, even if mermaids would not have liked him. He was rich, certainly. The Sassoons were already a wealthy family, and he had married a Rothschild. But he also seems to have had some concern for the public good. In 1910, he would try to get wireless telegraphy made compulsory on passenger ships. He failed, so it was a good thing the Titanic had a Marconi on board. After the Titanic sunk, Sassoon’s idea was made into law.

But his significance goes beyond using technology to make things happen. In the Journal of the Society of Arts (1900), Sassoon laid out his argument about why the government’s involvement was necessary when it came to the telegraph. Sassoon was able to see the place of telegraph in the history of communications. He argued that in the case of the railways, and then electricity and gas, private enterprise began the venture but then public interest had to be asserted against excessive rates, so why not the telegraph? Private companies had expanded and bought up smaller companies, creating monopolies. The public interest was manifest in the expansion of the technology, so government must step in.

This should sound familiar as today’s internet communications apps, ISPs, and companies effectively create monopolies on today’s communications. Sassoon’s public interest, however, had nothing to do with today’s focus on individual freedom. He saw the government’s involvement in the telegraph as necessary for cementing the British Empire together:

The moral connection of these outlying portions of the empire with the Mother Country has been sealed by and consecrated with blood, the way has been paved for confirming the strong sentiment thus evoked by establishing still firmer the bonds of material and common interests, which, as in this work-a-day world, form the only stable foundations, on which to secure the permanence and solidity of this vast Imperial confederation.

Sassoon would not be a popular figure today because he believed in the Empire, but there is no discounting his understanding of the significance of technology to national and commercial goals.

Edward’s son Philip would succeed him as MP upon his death. Philip served in the Great War as military secretary to Field Marshal Douglas Haig, who led the British Expeditionary Force from 1915. Siegfried was, I think, their cousin (the Sassoon family tree is rather complicated). So it all wraps up nicely!

24 hours in Clerkenwell Gaol

Yesterday, lazily wondering what the premise might be for the last mystery in my trilogy, I decided I wanted a character held in prison awaiting trial while my protagonist runs around London trying to clear him of the charge of . . . well, I don’t know yet. Having already set the first mystery in Southwark, and the second around Holborn, I was cruising around Clerkenwell because I wanted to get a little more East End-ish but not go all out Dickensonian. I’m thinking 1870. Maybe my guy should be accused of stealing this clock (Clerkenwell was known for clock-making):

I knew the infamous Coldbath Fields prison was in the area, because I have a previous character in prison there for debt, but I was seeking not a prison but a gaol, a place where they hold people until they go to trial.( I’ve seen too many Father Brown episodes to want my character rescued after he’s been convicted — it’s way too complicated.) And there seemed to be one in the area, but it took a lot of searching to get it all separated from Coldbath Fields and the other prison buildings that had been on the same property before. As one website tried to explain it:

Clerkenwell (old) Prison, also known as the Clerkenwell House of Detention or Middlesex House of Detention was a prison in Clerkenwell, London, opened in 1847. It held prisoners awaiting trial. It stood on Bowling Green Lane conveniently close to the Middlesex Sessions House, where prisoners would be tried, on Clerkenwell Green to the south.

Well that helped with location, anyway. Then it goes on:

The House of Detention was built on the site of two earlier prisons, the Clerkenwell Bridewell for convicted prisoners and the New Prison for those awaiting trial. The Bridewell closed in 1794 and its functions were taken over by the Coldbath Fields Prison at Mount Pleasant. The New Prison was rebuilt in 1818 and in 1847, at which time its name changed to the House of Detention.

Confused? Me too. Was it the Middlesex House of Corrections? No, I think that’s Coldbath Fields. House of Detention? Why isn’t anyone calling it a gaol? So Dickens Junior, ever the tour guide, decided to help out, via this page:

House of Detention —affectionately termed by the “profession” the House of Distinction, or more familiarly “the Tench “—is designed primarily for untried prisoners, the discipline being less severe than elsewhere. Prisoners under short sentence of imprisonment without hard labour—technically first-class misdemeanants — are also confined here; being not required to wear any distinctive dress or to have their hair cropped. It stands between Woodbridge-street and Rosoman-street, Clerkenwell. NEAREST Railway Station, Farringdon-street; Omnibus Routes, Exmouth-street and Goswell-road; Cab Rank,Clerkenwell-green.

– Charles Dickens (Jr.), Dickens’s Dictionary of London, 1879

I also started coming across the floor plan, which made it easier to identify.

http://www.victorianlondon.org/prisons/detention.gif

One ghost tour also calls it the House of Detention. By this point, I’m pretty sure I have the right place. And look! It’s still kind of there, though it’s called Clerkenwell Prison.

The Old Sessions House was the Middlesex Sessions House, where the cases were taken for trial, so that helps too.

I even found some engineering information. (And this, children, is why I abandoned studying medieval technology for Victorian England, where there are a fabulous number of sources, all in English and none of them copyrighted.)

This picture kept coming up as I worked, claiming to be visiting hours at Clerkenwell prison, but I was unable to verify if this was the place I wanted.

It looks so nice, all the visitors talking to their friends and loved ones in the door holes. But is this the place? I start looking, as one does, at the Illustrated London News, but no. After doing image search and finding the image on Wikipedia, which does occasionally cite sources, it appears it’s not from the Illustrated London News (or the “Chronicle” as noted on another page), but from Henry Mayhew’s The Criminal Prisons of London, and Scenes of Prison Life (1862). Stupidly, I go looking at Biblio.com and other vendors to buy it ($65!) only to find the whole book, downloadable for free, at Google Books. (Every time I start to yell at Google for being a monstrosity, they do something nice.)

And in that book was everything: not just the image but what kind of prisoner went in what sort of cell, what furniture was in each cell, where the windows were, what sorts of crimes people were in for, and even a menu:

I don’t think it’s right that if he’s there for three months he doesn’t get a pint of cocoa, but no one asked me. Or Mr Mayhew.

After 24 hours, I have a place! And then something serendipitous happened. I was having trouble finding something to watch on the Roku during my exercises when BritBox conked out, so I started watching the film The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (I have been waiting till it was long enough after reading it to see the movie). There’s a scene in a jazz club, and I’m thinking, that looks like Clerkenwell Prison. But of course I’ve got Clerkenwell Prison on the brain, and so I look it up and what do you know: that’s where it was filmed, in the cellar. You can go there and visit the cellar, which didn’t get destroyed in the Blitz, or even hire it for events.

Victorian high tech: the pneumatic railway

I was tracing one of my character’s walks through Holborn, using Google street view and walking my little man along, when I noticed the street name changed to “Holborn Viaduct” and then I came upon structures that looked Victorian and bridge-like. Turned out I was on top of this:

Photo by Matt Brown, Wikipedia

So I looked it up. There wasn’t much at the Wikipedia page, but I found much more at this engineering site. According to this:

Holborn Viaduct is 427m long and 24.4m wide, and is a complex structure mainly of masonry. It incorporated subways for a sewer, a gas main, telegraph wires, the pneumatic despatch railway used by Royal Mail and an Edison electric power station.

What the heck is a “pneumatic despatch railway”? So I went down that rabbit hole for an afternoon.

Way back in 2013 the New Statesman published an article about what they call the “Victorian hyperloop”, a pneumatic railway for the mail in London.

It was a fascinating technology, essentially an underground tube with cars that carried the mail across town. It was tested above ground at Battersea.

The first one was inaugurated at Holborn (did it go through the viaduct? no, it went under it, but not till 1865, two years too late for my character).

People could fit in it.

And they experienced “no ill effect”.

Illustrated London News, 7 February 1863 p. 135.

It was so exciting that it appeared on a cigarette card:

A human-sized line was run from Crystal Palace in Sydenham so people could try it and see how it worked.

It worked very well. You put your mail (or busybody investor) into the car, and sealed up the end, forming a vacuum. One direction pushed, the other sucked. The first section was supposed to be a straight shot from the Euston Station packages depot to Holborn, but the Duke of Bedford didn’t want the digging, so it had to have a turn. They ran another from the General Post Office. Telegraph wires ran alongside for signalling. Some reports said it got up to 60 miles per hour; other estimates were more modest. Either way it got the mail there in minutes, and avoided the streets above, which were overcrowded with unregulated traffic, including carts, horses, pedestrians, cabs, etc.

Illustrated London News, 28 February 1863

There were approvals for more branches, but not enough money. A few technical problems, yes, and it didn’t save as much time as hoped, but the main problem was cash.

The New Statesman was using the pneumatic railway (also known as an “atmospheric railway”) to tease Elon Musk, and rightly so. This thing was planned to run all over London, underground. Infrastructure was part of the plan. Even though it ran out of money, and was left derelict, pneumatic tubes for papers would become part of businesses and banks (the bank up the street has one, and I remember the thrill of using one at the drive-through bank when I was a child).

I think it’s a shame that the reporting of new hyperloops is so ahistorical. Even this criticism of Virgin Hyperloop only cites the TGV and a similar Chinese line from seventeen years ago. I would have loved to know about this Victorian model before.

Before the Time Machine: Young H. G. Wells

For those who want to hear me rattle on about my research, here’s the recording from the talk I gave yesterday to the wonderful Victorian Britain group.

Before the Time Machine: Young H. G. Wells from Lisa M Lane on Vimeo.

At a cost to the economy, 1862

Although it was not as beloved as the 1851 Crystal Palace Exhibition, the Great Exhibition of 1862 in London was extraordinary, as I noted in a previous post.

In addition to celebrating industrial and artistic achievement, the Exhibition also hosted meetings of several international groups. This included the International Congress of Charities, Correction and Philanthropy. On June 13, the speaker was Sarah Parker Remond.

A free person of color born in Massachusetts, Remond was anti-slavery from an early age. It is reputed that she made her first speech against the practice when she was 16. Her parents were successful business people. They were active in anti-slavery societies, and made sure their children got a good education, despite the lack of good schools for non-white children.

Sarah was already known as a lecturer for the American Anti-Slavery Society (founded by William Lloyd Garrison) before she was asked to go to London in 1858. Her intention was to get a better education, and she enrolled at the Bedford College for Women while continuing to lecture. While she was there, the American Civil War began.

Her speech at the Exhibition in 1862 emphasized support for emancipation, and by implication the Union blockade against the Confederacy. Britain had declared itself neutral in the conflict, and British ships continued to bring in products to northern ports. She pointed out how the British cotton industry used the products of slaves, although Britain itself had outlawed slavery in 1824. The British Parliament had further passed the Slavery Trade Act of 1873 and were actively involved in confiscating slave ships, but were continuing to benefit from the manufacture of cotton grown by slaves in America. She said,

Let no diplomacy of statesmen, no intimidation of slaveholders, no scarcity of cotton, no fear of slave insurrections, prevent the people of Great Britain from maintaining their position as the friend of the oppressed negro, which they deservedly occupied previous to the disastrous civil war.

This was despite the fact that she recognized that:

Thousands among the commercial, manufacturing, and working classes, on both sides of the Atlantic, are dependent upon cotton for all material prosperity. . .

As the result of the efforts of Remond and others like her, Britain respected the Union blockade of the Southern states. But the result of the decline in raw cotton importation was mill closures and starvation in places like Lancashire. There it’s become known as the Lancashire Cotton Famine.

In 1862, as now, the problem was not just that economic strain had thrown people out of work. It was that there was not enough of a social safety net to provide for them when they lost their jobs. The British government engaged in some compensation experiments, including minor funds distributed directly (similar to today’s stimulus checks), but it was minimal and in many cases never reached the people who needed it.  The new Poor Laws had funded workhouses rather than “outdoor” relief to help people at home. Ultimately, some relief occurred when the government provided money to local councils, who then created new opportunities for employment in public works. But that wasn’t until 1864. Before that any efforts were supported primarily by private charity (similar to today’s GoFundMe), partly out of a suspicion of increased government activity*.

In 1862 the issue was the moral culpability involved in profiting from slave labor. Now it is the moral culpability of forcing workers into plague conditions. Jobs that take place indoors have the greatest risk of infection, while those outdoors have the least.  Safer jobs could include massive infrastructure repair on America’s roads, bridges, and parks. Designs could be implemented to move commercial, educational, and political enterprises into better ventilated conditions.

Perhaps public works, and a bit of advice from Miss Nightingale (see previous post), might be an answer beyond 1864.

 

____

* Hall, Rosalind. “A Poor Cotton Weyver: Poverty and the Cotton Famine in Clitheroe.” Social History 28, no. 2 (2003): 233.

Thoughts on locked-down London

I came upon this wonderful film today.

The walker is taking a walk I’ve done many times, from Trafalgar Square bus stop, round Canada House, across the Square, up Charing Cross Road, across to Leicester Square, out past the Chinese gate, past the Swiss thing, through Piccadilly Circus and up Regent Street.

But when I make this walk, I am jostled by tourists and shoppers. I’m usually trying to get from one place to another. And although I sense the buildings, see their shapes out of the corner of my eye, I’m rarely able to take a good look. Stop on the pavement and you’re a target; stop in the road and you’re flattened.

The film was made the day before lock down, so that would be 22 March.

Some would, I’m sure, describe this filmed walk as eerie, or creepy (a word that goes back to Victorian times, it turns out). Some might say it’s something out of science fiction, or note how clean the air is without so many vehicles, or even (as the filmmaker does) call it “empty”.

To a historian, and quite possibly the social scientist, the only thing that’s missing is modern-day crowds. All the history is there, in the buildings themselves. You can actually see the base of the National Gallery without the tall Yoda actor in front of it, the whole front of the Cafe Royal, the way the shops on Regent Street hug the corners. Normally, the bottoms of the buildings, where they meet the pavement, can’t be seen at all. Outdoor shop displays, homeless people, piles of rubbish bags outside everywhere usually prevent that. Here the whole building design can be viewed.

The dearth of people also makes it possible to see the statues.  The lions at the base of Nelson’s Column are marvelously bereft of climbers. There’s the statue of Edith Clavell on Charing Cross Road, normally hard to get to between the close traffic on either side and the inevitable political campaigners in front of her.  Piccadilly Circus is usually blocked by people taking pictures of each other, and of themselves. And I saw something new: the Paddington Bear statue in Leicester Square (I’m there a lot, because that’s where the cut-price ticket booth is). I had to look that one up to find they recently installed movie-themed statues I can see next time. Maybe.

Even the rubbish bins look quite fashionable without the actual rubbish overflowing out of them.

You can also see the security measures: the steel bollards, the heavy planter boxes, the metal fencing around the square, the measures put in place to make it more difficult for someone to run a vehicle into a group of people. And like London itself, the video is unplanned, accompanied by the soundtrack of a Jesus preacher in Piccadilly Circus. It leant the whole thing a sort of Assassin’s Creed tone. I kept expecting Ezio to go walking in front of me, bumping into pedestrians and rattling armor.

Please understand, I am not in any way downplaying the horror of the pandemic, or the extraordinary cost in lost trade and jobs. But it’s so rare to rejoice in the cleanliness and design of the city. One usually doesn’t get that chance.

Home health tips from Miss Nightingale

While she was not writing about people quarantined in their homes, Florence Nightingale’s Notes on Nursing (1859) were about caring for people in their homes, and doing it well.

Nightingale is known, of course, for her service during the Crimean War and her active reform of nursing and hospital hygiene in the mid-Victorian era. She’s the one who realized that many deaths in military hospitals were unnecessary, caused by unhygenic conditions rather than wounds or injury. And she came to this conclusion when aneasthetics were in early days, and antiseptics as yet unknown (Joseph Lister would start his famous work after the war).

Contrary to her “lady with the lamp” image, Nightingale was a no-nonsense, if not actually abrasive, person. She was once even cussed out by a doctor who might have been the first woman to get a medical degree in Britain, except that s/he identified as a man (more on this person in a future post).

I have had a copy of Nightingale’s Notes on Nursing for awhile. I don’t even recall why I bought it. I assumed it was a book for teaching nurses, since Nightingale founded her school of nursing at St. Thomas’s Hospital. But it’s a book about nursing, not just in hospitals, but in the home. And her emphasis, not surprisingly, in on creating healthy conditions.

It is also not surprising that this was considered a job for women, and in my opinion this book should reside on a shelf alongside Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management, published in series at the same time, and printed as a book only two years later.  Most people know that Ms. Nightingale was a big advocate of fresh air. In fact, the odd configuration of the new St. Thomas’s Hospital, opened in 1867, was the result of her promotion of cross-ventilation.

Have you ever opened a window for fresh air, and it became so chilly you wished you could leave the heat on? Nightingale recommends this, or at least keeping the fire going with a window open, so that an ill person can have fresh air. She points out that you can keep the patient warm with blankets, and safely allow fresh cold air into the room.

Her book also notes that opening doors and windows is to no avail if the air that comes in isn’t fresh. If your room opens onto a utility closet, or you leave your chamber pot open under the bed (oh those master bathrooms!), or your window overlooks a refuse heap, you are not doing any good with air. Ill people really should be taken out into the garden to get a little sun and air, which I see done all too seldom. I’ve been in elder nursing homes where the windows don’t open and the only outside is a little paving of cement in a courtyard. Nightingale was not a fan of courtyards — the air isn’t fresh enough, going round and round.

              Too much bedding, too many visitors

All of her advice was based not only on her experience, but on research and statistics. Her faith in scientific endeavor was firm. In the early 1860s, when the plot was being hatched for passing the Contagious Diseases Act, she argued against it based on statistics. The idea was that preliminary arrest and examination of prostitutes would prevent venereal disease in the military. The act would give the police power to arrest any woman they suspected of being a prostitute. Many who were against the idea argued on the basis of feminine modesty, or the inappropriateness of making a private disease a public issue, or the likely abuses by the police. Nightingale argued on facts: everywhere that harsh measures arresting and examining prostitutes had been enforced by a state, the V.D. numbers had actually increased rather than decreased.

Her household nursing advice seems so common-sense, and yet is often ignored, then and now. She had to recommend that damp towels be spread out to dry, that one not chit-chat inanely with someone who wasn’t feeling well, and that one should always sit beside the sickbed rather than hovering over it, forcing the ill person to crane their neck. And here’s more:

  • Reading the patient the funny bits of a book you’re reading (update: bits and memes off the internet) is extremely annoying to the ill person.
  • Quiet is important, because when someone is ill certain sounds can be distressing or even intolerable.
  • A bedroom, where one sleeps, is not the same as a sickroom. A person in bed because they are ill needs not only air but light, and should be able to see out an open window.
  • The bed needs to be aired daily — in fact Nightingale suggests two different beds so the sheets of one can always be aired. Not doing this, or using too much bedding and thick mattresses, leaves the patient essentially in their own waste of sweat and their own breathed air. (The current metal hospital bed is likely based on the iron ones she recommended.)
  • Cleaning must be thorough. Damp cloths, not dusters that just raise the dust into the air. Carpets are horrible even if lifted and beaten 3 times a year (I can just imagine what she’d think of wall-to-wall carpeting). Bad smells indicate organic matter is stuck to things, and it shouldn’t be.

See why I want this filed next to Mrs. Beeton? It’s far less about medical nursing than about good housekeeping. The medical advice reminded me of Hippocrates, especially when it came to diet (“The diet which will keep the well man healthy may kill the sick one”). But at this time, when there is more than the usual concern about people being ill at home, it’s still good advice.

 

Visiting 1862: The International Exhibition

I’ve been doing some research into London in the year 1862. For me, this is stepping back 25 years from my usual research area, so I find a lot of surprises, in addition to this novel technique for social distancing:


The first thing to do after putting on my crinoline was to find good maps of London, big maps where you can see street names and even buildings:

Guide to the what? The International Exhibition of 1862. Although the Great Exhibition of 1851, with its Crystal Palace, is more famous, this one was supposed to be even bigger. You can see the catalogue here. It took place in South Kensington, on Cromwell Road, where the Natural History Museum would be later.

The Victorianist blog has some good information, and points out that the death of Prince Albert in December 1861 put a damper on the whole proceedings from the start. And it says the building, above, cost £300,000 but the cost was covered by the profits from the Great Exhibition of 1851. My studies of Victorian science education claim that the entire system of British science education was basically financed by the same pool. Which makes me think that the money from the Great Exhibition of 1851 is like pieces of the cross. There is no possible way that they made enough profit in 1851 to fund everything that’s been claimed.

Another page with information is here.

And look, they even had cameras then:

 

 

A historian’s tools

I love computers, but sometimes it’s gotta be tape, scissors, and crayons.

St Thomas’s Hospital at the Zoo

The cholera ward, of course, was in the giraffe house…

In my recent researches of St. Thomas’s Hospital, Southwark, I have discovered an unusual episode, a time when the hospital went to the zoo.

St. Thomas’s Hospital was located on Borough Street in Southwark from the medieval period until 1862. (What remains of it, the Old Operating Theatre Museum and Herb Garret, is my all-time favourite museum in London.) At that time, the railway was forcing itself through the area as companies competed with each other. The proposed railway went right through the heart of the hospital grounds. So in 1862 the hospital was sold to the railway company, for £296,000, according to this.

Guy’s and St. Thomas’ Hospitals shown on “Improved map of London for 1833, from Actual Survey. Engraved by W. Schmollinger, 27 Goswell Terrace”

‘St Thomas’s Hospital 1860’, aerial view. Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images, Roberts, G.Q., A brief history of St Thomas’s Hospital (1920)

A new hospital site was arranged to be built where most of it still stands, in Lambeth, across from the Houses of Parliament. But this site wasn’t complete until 1871.

View of St Thomas’s Hospital with plan taken from Henry Currey’s, St. Thomas’s Hospital, London. [London] : [Royal Institute of British Architects], 1871 [St Thomas’s Historical Books Collection PAMPH. BOX RA988.L8 T1 CUR]

Most sources skip over this gap. Where did the hospital go in the meantime, for nine years?

It went to Surrey Gardens, in Newington, Walworth, in September 1862. Surrey Gardens had been a pleasure garden, like Vauxhall. It had a zoo. But as business declined, the animals were sold off to build a huge music hall. The hall was gutted by fire in 1861, which coincidentally led to a court case that determined you cannot hold someone to a contract when it’s impossible to fulfill it (in this case, a concert reserved for a burnt-out hall).

St. Thomas’s Hospital decided to lease the whole property, repaired the building, and repurposed some of the zoo.

I’ve been looking for histories and records of St. Thomas’ Hospital to learn more about the situation at Surrey Gardens. The St Thomas’s Hospital Report of 1867 is available, for some reason, at Google Books. Amputation fatalities, I discovered, were lower at the new location.

[Aside: there were also some figures in the Report tables that seem odd to me. How could the average stay in hospital for an ankle sprain be 11 days (p602)? This made me wonder whether one had to stay in hospital to be allowed off work, or whether people really had no one at home to take care of them (or no home — quite possible in a poor neighborhood), or whether ankle sprains were for some reason more serious then? Four men and four women had sprained their ankle that year, and the average stay was 11 days? Perhaps they had more wrong with them than a sprained ankle.]

The giraffe house really was the cholera ward, and the old elephant house was used for dissections. That piece of information comes from a book about Florence Nightingale, who was a big part of all this. She had opened her first nursing school at Old St. Thomas’ only two years before the move, and helped provide for room and board for nurses at the hospital. She also helped design the new Lambeth hospital for maximum light, ventilation, and separation of patients into pavilions. [And she promoted hand-washing as the best anti-infective, as true now as it was in 1860.]

The Illustrated London News of December 1862 (copy available at HathiTrust) features a quick column on how the facilities at Surrey Gardens boasted the “rapid and complete conversion of the old buildings to their new and beneficent uses”, and imagined the gardens would provide a unique opportunity for medical students to stroll and contemplate. Nightingale, who believed in patient access to the outdoors, would have approved this. She wrote a letter to Henry Bonham Carter (her cousin and the Secretary of the Nightingale Fund) on the advantages of temporary buildings for hospitals, but it isn’t available online.

The 9-year relocation gets only a single-sentence mention in Wikipedia. That’s a shame. It seems like such an interesting interlude.