Memories & Photos: 1875-1899

The Liverpool Mercury newspaper of 4th March 1875 reported the following:

“The Health Committee submitted for approval the plans of the  proposed Port Sanitary Hospital at Rock Ferry.   

"Dr Taylor explained that the building would be of corrugated iron, and would afford accommodation for 24 inmates, besides attendants. The ground, eight acres in extent, would be surrounded by a stone wall nine feet high, and a road 36 yards wide. He had stated on a former occasion, that the cost would be about £3,000; but, owing to the cost of the wall and the road, the engineer now estimated that the cost would be about £5,000.

"The plans were approved.

Contracts for the construction of the hospital were awarded in February 1876, though the final cost of the hospital, including the keeper’s house and the kitchens not included in the original contract, was £14,137-14-3d.

The hospital opened in 1877, but it was four years before a single patient arrived.

In July 1883, the Birkenhead Medical Officer issued the following instructions in the event of Cholera:

“Should a case of cholera be imported on board ship, a berth remote from other vessels would be found for the infected vessel in waters designated by the Port Sanitary Authority. The vessel would be thoroughly disinfected, and all on board subjected to careful medical examination before being permitted to land. Accommodation for patients from shipboard is provided at the Port Sanitary Hospital, Bebington, and should this become full, the grounds in connection therewith would furnish area space sufficient for several hospital tents.”

On 18th January 1884 the Clarence Reformatory School Ship for Boys, which was moored off New Ferry, was destroyed following an arson attack, the boys were temporarily housed at the Port Sanitary Hospital. This only lasted until 19th July 1884 as the sanitary authority thought the hospital might be needed due to a suspected outbreak of Cholera on the St Dunstan, a ship newly arrived from Marseilles.

In April 1892, the health committee considered the “useless expenditure of money on the Port Sanitary Hospital” as it was costing around £700 a year, it hadn’t had a patient for many years and similar facilities now existed in Liverpool. However the motion to close the hospital was lost   by 24 votes to 18.

The costs of running the hospital where proportioned as follows: Liverpool 82.5%, Birkenhead 9.2%, Wallasey 2.5%, Bootle 2.3%, Garston 1.5%, Toxteth Park 1.4% and Lower Bebington 0.5%.

On 26th November 1894, 18 boys were transferred from the Clarence Reformatory School Ship (which had been replaced following the fire) to the hospital, suffering from Smallpox.