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Essex County Hospital, LEXDEN ROAD (south side)

Grade II.
Original block 1819. By Mark Greystone Thompson. Grey gault brick. Central block of 3 storeys, 3 windows, sashes with glazing hems. Ionic porch, 2 storey, 2 window wings on either side, then projecting 2 storey pavilions. Hipped slate roofs. [2 photo.s by jA]

[Postcard of 1903 with kind permission of J Jephcott.]


SA 8/541/1 - created 1989
Title: Memories of a County Hospital Consultant from 1929
Speaker(s): Sauvan Smith, Dr.Roger; Oliver, Rosemary
Colchester Recalled

Entry by Fabio Casale.
Originally the Essex and Colchester Hospital was an infirmary for the poor. Built at the behest of Archdeacon Rev Joseph Jefferson and funded by donations from the wealthier citizens who elected the committee to run it. (A Round family member has been involved throughout its history.) Built with bricks from the demolished Military Hospital on land that had once belonged to Crouched Friars Priory. The ground floor: Committee administrative office, Doctors' room, Matron's flat, kitchen and two 12 bedded wards (with a small room off each for the nurse to live there). The second floor: a similar large ward and smaller rooms including the Operating Room lit by a skylight. (At that time there was only candlelight available.)
Connecting the two floors was a long straight staircase with shallow steps for ease of patient transport (still present). At the rear paved area: the Outpatients, Dispensary, Laundry, Dead House and Brew House (beer was a daily medicine). A well provided the water as the promised pipeline did not arrive thus rendering useless the modern wcs installed useless.
1825 Portico added.
1879 Third floor added to the front and square additions at each corner of the wings. Built for the improved sanitary facilities, ie wcs plus lavatories (wash basins) and baths with hot and cold running water.
Many alterations and additions at the rear and sides have taken place over the years but this is the facade of the hospital that we see today.
Notable events:
1821 the Colchester Sphinx, a Roman funerary statue discovered in the grounds.
1847 UK first death under ether anaesthesia reported.
1914-18 Women and children transferred to the school in Wellesley Road to make room for sick and wounded soldiers.
1938 UK first Serum Hepatitis reported by Dr Sidney Propert MRCP Cons Physician.
1946 UK first Pertoneal Dialysis performed by Mr Ronnie Reid FRCS Cons Surgeon.
1948 The Hospital Management Committee transfers the Hospital to the NHS and dissolves itself.
1974 Liver Transplant performed here by Prof Roy Calne and his team from Cambridge.
Definitive book: The history of the Essex County Hospital 1820-1948 by Dr John Penfold FRCPath. Published 1984.


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