Benenden’s First Inspection in 1912
At the time of the inspection, Benenden had three Pavilions, Garland, The Post Office Pavilion and Cadogan. These wards offered 103 beds for members of a range of Society’s and Associations set up to provide treatment for TB sufferers.
Interestingly, at the time of the visit, 20 patients were accommodated in a tent. The report notes, ‘we were much struck with the apparent popularity among the patients of a large tent which contained some twenty patients, who seemed to be well contented and happy in their quarters’.
The Museum archive contains a wealth of wonderful memories and the two images below, show patients outside large tents.
The assesor, Sir Henry Burdett, further notes the ‘excellent smoking shed’, designed by Mr A West, it states, ‘it is one of the very best we have ever seen’.
Sir Henry Burdett, was a Financier and Philanthropist with a particular interest in hospitals. His report, published in 1914, commends the excellent treatment of consumptives but does question whether the administering of fresh air should extend to the dining hall at mealtimes. The reports states ‘it is impossible under such conditions to serve a hot meal’.
The report included an assessment of the effectiveness of treatment in the Sanatorium during the period 1907 – 1911. Attempts were made to contact every patient discharged during this period to determine whether they remained well, had been readmitted for further treatment or whether they had since died.
During the visit, the staffing numbers were recorded as three Resident Medical Officers, Matron and eight nurses. Sir Henry comments that the workload was significant, considering that two fifths of the patients were acutely ill. Average length of stay in 1912 was recorded as 112 days.
The report finally notes the water closets ‘were not well kept’. It went on to recommend that these ‘were inspected and cleansed once every twenty-four hours’.