The frontage of the old Cornelia Hospital in Longfleet Road (previously Ringwood Road) can still be pictured in the memories of many of Poole’s older inhabitants. Until it was demolished with the building of the new Poole General Hospital in the 1960s, it still had the basic look of the original design from its opening as a small 17-bed hospital in 1907. The hospital buildings obviously changed and grew in size and complexity in its 60 years’ life, a process begun early with the changes brought by necessity by the hospital’s role in the First World War. But nobody today can remember the original interior of the building – although a plan of the 1907 hospital is available, showing the layout of the wards, consulting and other rooms.
However a local newspaper helpfully published a narrative description, which makes it possible to try to visualise the interior. (This was written in July 1906, before construction had begun, and therefore there may have been alterations to some aspects.)
In our issue last week we announced that a tender had been accepted for the building of the new Cornelia Hospital at Poole and that work would be commenced without delay……..
Through the courtesy of Mr Walter Andrew, architect, of Parkstone, who has designed the new buildings, we have been able to inspect the plans and are this week able to give our readers some idea of what sort of building is about to be erected. As most of our readers are aware, the site upon which the hospital is to be built is situate on the Ringwood-road. It is high and dry, and well suited for the purposes of such an institution as will be there erected.
The building is to be of red brick with stone dressings to windows, and the main entrance carried out in stone with the Poole coat of arms carved in a panel over. The main corridor is a good width and is carried through to another corridor six feet wide running at right angles and forming the letter T. From this corridor the three wards can be approached by wide doors to allow of patients being wheeled in. The Operating Room is entered from this corridor and is conveniently near the wards. The children’s ward will be bright, cheerful, and roomy, being 17 feet by 20, and provides for five cots. The male and female wards are 24 feet square, and allowance is made for five beds to be placed in each ward. At one end of each of these wards a corridor, well lighted and ventilated, separates a special ward for males and females. From these corridors the bath rooms are entered, also nurses’ sink in a separate compartment, with w.c.’s adjoining. The small but important adjuncts are fitted with “up-to-date” modern sanitary fittings. The wards are placed south, and are designed so as to admit of as much sunlight as possible with windows on each side and end to allow of cross ventilation.
The floors are to be in terrazzo (composed of marble chippings of various marbles), so as to form a soft, rich hue, resembling a carpet. The whole of the building is to be fitted with electric light and warmed by means of hot water pipes and radiators. Great care has apparently been taken by the architect in designing the doors, skirting and ceiling, so as to minimise the accumulation of dust. The junctions of skirting and walls are to be rounded in terrazzo, the ceiling coved, and the doors perfectly flat on the surface. The kitchen is to be a roomy one, separated from the main corridor by a useful nurse’s ward pantry, where all the food will be taken through a hatchway from the kitchen. The Matron will have a cheerful room, which is entered from the main corridor, close to the main entrance. On the other side is a common room, proposed to be used either for nurses’ dining room, sitting room, or committee room. The doctors appear to be well provided for by a good consulting room, which leads out into an ante-room where patients can prepare themselves while a patient is being examined, the object evidently being to save the time of the doctors in having to wait for the patient undressing. From this ante-room a dispensary is reached with a hatchway through to the waiting room, which is also reached from the ante-room. The out-patients’ comfort has not been forgotten. They will have a well warmed and ventilated room with a shelter outside for wet weather and a protection from the sun in the hot parts of the season. The operating room has received special attention by the architect. The floor is to be in terrazzo, with a slight incline to the outer wall, so that the whole place can be flushed by water. A half channel pipe is to be laid to empty outside, so as to carry off the water. The walls are to be tiled, top light is provided for, an up-to-date operating sink is to be fitted, and altogether this room is to be an up-to-date room for the surgeons to apply their skill. Bedroom accommodation is to be provided for nurses, servants, and Matron on the first floor; sanitary conveniences are provided for male and females near the waiting room, a shed for three motors is provided off the main drive, and a mortuary is to be built, fitted with sink, tilted floor and all conveniences for post mortem examinations. There is to be a circular drive to main entrance with “in” and “out” gates.
The architect of the new Cornelia Hospital building was Walter Andrew, a young architect at just 37, who had a practice in Lower Parkstone. The Hospital Committee had invited him along with George Augustus Bligh Livesay to to put forward designs for the new hospital. Livesay would probably have been thought the front runner, both as the more established architect, and because he worked on the hospital at nearby Boscombe. He is now perhaps best known for his early work on St Osmunds Church, Parkstone. Walter Andrew’s design was the one chosen, however, although he seemingly had no history of designing any hospitals at that point. But perhaps the fact he was a regular architect for the Canford Estate was a major factor – Lord Wimborne, as the Lord of the Manor, was after all providing the land and part of the building costs.
Walter Andrew was a well-known character in Poole – he was a local councillor, and was a sportsman of repute – he was a county hockey player, captain of the local cricket team, he also played for both Dorset CCC and Hampshire CCC. He had perhaps taken advice for his designs from the eminent hospital architect Keith Downes Young, who had earlier advised Lord and Lady Wimborne on the feasibility of rebuilding the existing Cornelia Hospital building in Market Street rather than moving to a new site. Walter Andrew did not charge for his work on the hospital, but then he had plenty of commissions locally from Lord Wimborne, notably on new schools. Andrew, however died from pleurisy only 4 years later while on a trip to Ireland. His junior partner in 1907 was Herbert Kendall, who later started his own practice and became architect to the Salisbury Diocese. Kendall also served many years as Cornelia Hospital’s Honorary Secretary, involved in every aspect of its management. He also took over as the hospital’s consulting architect after Andrew’s death, at a time of frequent developments. In his obituary in 1934 it was said that it was actually Kendall who designed the greater part of the hospital buildings. Either way, the hospital was designed by Walter Andrew’s architectural practice.
Transcript of the newspaper article taken from Poole and Dorset Herald 19 July 1906
For the early sporting exploits of Walter Andrew see the Bournemouth Guardian 14 August 1897