Thursday, August 23, 2007

20.7.07: Royal Sea Bathing Hospital

2.00 pm:
Margate Museum

On Wednesday evening I passed the old Sea Bathing Hospital on my way in to the town. I am looking for details of earlier lung disease treatment in the museum files.

The hospital opened in 1791 in order to offer poorer people the pioneering benefits of seabathing and sea air treatment for scrofula which was already available to the rich in Brighton. However its intended treatment of pulmonary TB was not to be: it was found that Margate's sea air was far too bracing for damaged lungs.

The placing in the museum of these dolls, early teaching aids from the RSBH, has been contested by some medical practitioners who see them as more appropriate to a hospital context than their current home in museum, where they are much loved.

Finally closed in 1996, the RSBH has been sold and resold to be developed into luxury flats. The front is finished but what about the rest? A workman laughs: "How long is a piece of string?" he says.