Skip to main content

Blandford Hospital

Blandford's first hospital opened in 1883 and was financed by Miss Portman, a member of Bryanston’s Portman family. It could be found adjacent to the Corner Coffee House near the junction of Salisbury Street and White Cliff Mill Street. The Coffee House was run by the Church and was a sort of welfare centre.

One of its earliest patients was a man who had been involved in a wagon accident at Tarrant Hinton. According to the Blandford Express of 17th March 1883, he was taken to ‘the new Cottage Hospital.’ From 1885 to 1887 it became known as ‘Nurse House’ but did not take in-patients. They were sent to hospitals in Bath, Dorchester, Weymouth or Bournemouth.

In September 1887, Blandford Hospital Sunday took place when members of friendly societies and public bodies joined a procession to Blandford Church. The service collection and other donations were passed to local hospitals including the Nurse House. While the previous week the village of Pimperne had passed on the vegetables and flowers donated to decorate the church for Harvest Festival.

Julietta Forester was the wife of Lord Portman’s steward. In her diary she wrote, a little smugly, of a lady patient. After receiving a large inheritance, the lady celebrated by drinking quite a bit of alcohol. She went to bed but then decided to partake of a drop more. Sadly the lady stumbled, fell down the stairs and broke her leg.

Jane Short was the matron and she was called to the scene of an accident to town crier, Charles Rolls. He had been hit by a runaway horse and cart startled by a Wimborne to Blandford train. Despite her efforts, his injuries proved to be fatal.

In 1888 plans were made for Nurse House to become a Cottage Hospital but it is not known if it ever did. In 1889, 46 patients were admitted 15 of which came from the surrounding villages. The limited facilities were frequently overstretched and it became evident that a much larger building was required. This led to the expenditure of £3165 on the building of a new Blandford Hospital on the current site. Again, this was much due to the generosity of the Portman family. Consisting of twelve beds, four cots and two private wards, Blandford Cottage Hospital opened in April 1891.

(Illustration: Blandford’s new 1891 Cottage Hospital.)


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

True Lovers Knot - a Tragic Tale

True Lovers Knot public house describes itself as a traditional  inn set in a picturesque Dorset valley in Tarrant Keynston. Yet, this historical hostelry is said to have gained its name from a particularly tragic tale and still to be haunted by a distressed former publican. This publican’s son met and fell in love with the daughter of the local squire. Because the young lad was not from the gentry they decided to keep their relationship secret from her father. Unfortunately, a stable hand saw the two young lovers together and told her father. Set firmly against this friendship the squire made plans to send his daughter away from the district. Not able to face up to life without her boyfriend, the young girl decided to commit suicide and hanged herself from a tree in the village. So upset was the publican’s son of hearing of his girlfriend’s death he too hanged himself from the same tree. The Tarrant Keynston publican had, himself lost his wife at child birth and now losing his son b

Chimney Sweep Tragedy

Crown Hotel, Blandford is reckoned to be one of Dorset’s oldest hostelries. Yet its most tragic day, during a long history, must surely be when a young chimney sweep lost his life. The chimney sweep, who was just a child, suffocated and was burnt to death in a Crown Hotel chimney which had been alight a little while before. ‘His cries were dreadful and no-one could give assistance. Part of the chimney was taken down before he was got out.’ (Salisbury & Winchester Gazette 27th March 1780) The lad had gone up one chimney and attempting to go down another had become stuck. At the time children were used to climb up chimneys to clean out soot deposits. With hands and knees, they would shimmy up narrow dark flue spaces packed thick with soot and debris. After the 1731 Great Fire of Blandford it was realised that it was important to sweep chimneys regularly while many rebuilt houses had narrower ones. Smaller chimneys and complicated flues were a potential death trap for children. The sw

Tarrant Rushton's Nuclear Secret

Tarrant Rushton was a large RAF base used for glider operations during World War II. It was then taken over by Flight Refuelling for the conversion of aircraft for the development of aircraft in-flight refuelling. However, between 1958 & 1965, the Tarrant Rushton airfield had a much more secretive and less publicised role. This was in support of the nation’s nuclear bomber deterrent, as Tarrant Rushton airfield became a QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) dispersal unit.   During 1958, contractors Costain reinforced the main runway and carried out other work to ensure the giant bomber aircraft could be accommodated. At times just a few miles from Blandford, there would have been up to four RAF Vickers Valiant bombers at Tarrant Rushton ready to become airborne in minutes charged with nuclear weapons. The bombers were from 148 Squadron at RAF Marham in Norfolk. As there was no suitable accommodation at the airfield, an old US Air Force Hospital building at Martin was used. At the time, the