Early Hospital Photographs

Some early photographers were interested in documenting the patients and equipment in hospitals. I found some good examples online.

Babies in incubators. Crystal Palace Hospital London, 1910.

An early form of X-Ray machine being used, 1913.

Lydia Ward for children. Guy’s Hospital, London. 1907

An experimental ECG machine being used for heart tests. National Heart Hospital, London. 1916.

Children outside on a hospital balcony. Salford, Lancashire. 1905. At the time, great emphasis was put on fresh air to aid recovery.

The new operating theatre at Dollis Hill Hospital, London. 1920.

The Canadian Military Convalescent Hospital in Epsom. 1918

The Whirlpool Bath at Manor House Hospital, London. 1920. The man with his leg in the bath is wearing Army hospital uniform, so is likely to still be receiving treatment for injuries sustained in WW1.

The Women and Children’s Hospital in Leeds, Yorkshire around 1916. Once again, they have wheeled the children outside for ‘fresh air’.

President Ward at St Bartholemew’s Hospital in London. 1909.

The Orthopaedic Hospital in Oswestry, Shropshire. 1910. The ward is open to the elements during the day for more of that ‘fresh air’.

Finsen light treatment for Lupus. The London Hospital, 1906.

39 thoughts on “Early Hospital Photographs

  1. Fascinating photographs. Thank you, Pete. As I was born in 1932 (don’t b elieve it…) my mother’s beautiful sister of seventeen died of Tuberculosis, as did many others then. In my life-time, there have been so many amazing strides forward in medicine. I can recall far more deaths in childbirth then too. All credit to those concerned. It’s so easy to criticise…Cheers.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love those pictures. They do remind me of Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain. And I lived in the Salford district for a while (much changed, though) and visited Leeds often, so I wonder where some of these places would have been. The machines are amazing as well. Thanks, Pete!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. HI Pete, the hospitals were spotlessly clean and looked so orderly. Our hospitals seem rundown and I don’t believe they are cleaned properly. I always clean them myself when Michael is in hospital. Fresh air is good for healing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Robbie. I am sure those old hospitals were very clean. They had a lot of staff back then of course, and nurses were expected to also be cleaners on their wards. Now hospitals here have contracted out the cleaning, standards have dropped.
      Best wishes, Pete.


  4. (1) In the future, babies in incubators end up as astronauts in hypersleep chambers.
    (2) I’m reminded of one my characters: Sam X. Rayburn (a play on X-ray and, spelled backwards, Xmas).
    (3) Lydia Ward ordered that baby carriage from Montgomery Ward. (Might as well keep the money in the family!)
    (4) You have the National Heart Hospital. We have The Family Heart Center.

    (5) One of the boys taking in fresh air hopes to become the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
    (6) How much does a ticket cost to get a front row seat at the operating theatre?
    (7) The Canadian Military Convalescent Hospital in Epsom was a waste of money. Not a single patient can be seen in the photo!
    (8) Actually, that’s Mr. Derry churning butter with his leg. Give him time, and he’ll get cranky.
    (9) Fresh air Leeds to better health.
    (10) St. Barth of Simpson rarely shows up at the hospital. Doh!
    (11) The Orthopaedic Hospital in Oswestry, Shropshire is open to the elements. Some of those elements are Mercury, Arsenic, Francium, and Plutonium.
    (12) The staff at the London Hospital attempted to treat Larry Talbot for lupus, but couldn’t prevent him from becoming the Wolf Man.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My late father in law was born on Ellis Island since his father was stationed there to screen immigrants to the country. We visited a few years ago and found it pretty chilling to see how easily someone could be turned away or put in quarantine. Not really a hospital there, but similar large ward.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Our current government (for the last 12 years) is well on its way to trying to change the NHS into ‘big business’. I can only hope we vote them out of power before they succeed in doing that.
      Best wishes, Pete.


  6. How fascinating! The wards in the hospital where I work are terribly stuffy and over-warm. Nobody ever opens any windows, and most of them have limited openings anyway ‘for your safety’. Estates put a lock on my then ground-floor office window about 7 years ago. It was so stifling in there that I got Sam to come in one weekend and take it off. Whether Estates put it back on again after I left, I’ll never know.

    Liked by 2 people

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