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Illustrated Guide to Christchurch and Neighbourhood

The Sunnyside Hospital for the Insane

The Sunnyside Hospital for the Insane

Is one of those institutions which visitors to Christchurch should inspect. Though capable of improvement, owing to its being in an incomplete state, it is still in many ways all that can be desired; and Christchurch has reason to congratulate itself upon the fact that the Resident Medical Superintendent (Dr. Hacon) is eminently qualified for his position by training, experience, temperament, and an enthusiastic love of the branch, of his profession which he has adopted. The establishment is situated about two miles from Christchurch, on the Lincoln-road. The grounds cover 50 acres, now in use and cultivation. An adjoining section of 100 acres has also been purchased, but page 146not handed over to Dr. Hacon yet, owing to a lease under which it was held being still unexpired. The site originally was a bad one, owing to the swampy nature of the ground; but when the system of drainage now being carried out is completed, this defect will in a great degree, if not entirely, be remedied.

The wooden portion of the buildings, which the visitor sees on the left on entering the grounds, is the original Asylum, erected by the Provincial Council in 1863. Previous to that year unfortunate patients were confined in the Lyttelton Gaol, where it may be said that their recovery was highly problematical, and their death almost certain. Fortunately there were not many whose confinement was necessary in those early days of the settlement, but that even the few lived to enter the Sunnyside Hospital is due more to the care taken of them by Mr. Edward Seager, in charge of the gaol, than to anything else. On the right of the grounds the visitor sees the new portion of the building, containing ten wards—four for females and six for men. They are built of concrete, admirably arranged, lofty, well furnished, cheerful, with a full allowance of space for each patient. The sleeping wards, with their beds and ample supply of the best bedding, all beautifully clean, are well worth inspection. They simply leave nothing to be desired, and testify to the admirable care which Dr. Hacon takes of those under his charge.

The old building—the original Hospital—is now a day-room and dormitory for women, and similar accommodation for men; besides dispensary, kitchen, &c., with two fenced yards, in each of which are urinals and two refractory cells. This is the part of the establishment we would gladly see demolished; but till the plans of the new building are completed or, at all events, added to, so as to give accommodation for kitchens, &c., it must still be used.

The grounds about the Institution are kept in a very fair state of cultivation, entirely by the labour of patients. The number of patients, including convalescents and others in the Hospital, varies continually. At the time of our visit there were 225 men and 123 women under treatment.

We cannot close this account without drawing the attention of our kind-hearted readers to the great charity they would exercise in sending for the use of these unfortunate patients—so greatly afflicted—illustrated papers, prints and lively pictures to decorate the walls of the wards, and flowers. For the Christchurch Hospital the presents of these things are many and liberal, and we are sure that attention has only to be page 147drawn to this matter to induce our readers to do all that can be wished for the Sunnyside Hospital for the Insane.