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Illustrated Guide to Christchurch and Neighbourhood

Hospital & Other Public Institutions

page 145

Hospital & Other Public Institutions.

The Christchurch Hospital

Is situated at the junction of Oxford Terrace with the Riccarton and Lincoln roads; with a remarkably pleasant look-out over its own well-kept, large gardens and terraces, across a bend of the Avon shaded by weeping-willows, to the public gardens and park beyond. It was in 1862 that the old portion of the building was erected, but since then three large, lofty wards — separate buildings — connected by a wide corridor running in front, have been built; and the establishment now is more than equal to any demands that are likely to be made upon it, in ordinary times, for some years to come. It is intended to erect another building in the part of the grounds adjacent to the Acclimatisation Society's gardens, isolated from all the rest, as a fever ward. The internal arrangements of the Hospital are very good. The dispensary is large, convenient, and very well supplied with all requisites. The kitchen is large, and furnished with a range of great capacity; and, besides this, each ward has a small kitchen attached, fitted with appliances for keeping hot water, &c., that may be frequently required by the patients. In the rear of the buildings are stables, fowl-house, and a most commodious laundry. Water is laid on all over the premises from tanks supplied with artesian water, by means of rams. The Hospital is under the management of a Board, who perform their onerous duties very carefully and efficiently and thoroughly, gratuitously. The medical staff is chosen, from the profession in Christchurch. The Resident Surgeon is Dr. Robinson, who is very highly spoken of by patients for the care and consideration with which he attends to their cases.

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.

Armagh Street Depot.

This institution is to provide homes for those women and children who have unfortunately to be provided for. It has been in existence somewhere about fifteen years, and is made as comfortable as the building will allow. It is under the control of the Hospital and Charitable Aid Board, and is looked after most efficiently by the Master and Matron, Mr. and Mrs. Wills. Accommodation can be found for about fifty women and children.

Old Men's Home.

This place is situated at Ashburton, and is a home for old men past work, in circumstances distressing enough to call in the aid of charity. It is under the control of the same Board that dispenses gratuitously most of our charities, and answers the purpose as well as the funds at the disposal of the Board will admit. Unfortunately, it is always full; and, indeed, were it much larger, it would not do more than meet requirements.

Out-Door Relief.

Charitable aid of this kind is, we regret to say, necessary in Canterbury, and the Board give it in the shape of rations and rent-paying in all deserving cases brought under its notice. In no case is money given to the applicants. The funds for the purpose are supplied by the General Government.