One of Bath’s best-loved Georgian buildings could be about to shut up shop.
With a personal view of developments, Professor George Odam, who was Patient Governor of the RNHRD for nine years until his resignation in August last year, raises his concerns for the building’s future and has his own ideas about how the Min could still play a useful role to enhance the city’s reputation as a health spa.
In 1988 there was a move to relocate The Min to the RUH site in Combe Park and the plans and rationale can be viewed at the Guildhall Archive. Merging the administration of the two hospitals makes good sense, but the identity and mission of both are very different and both need preservation so that they can continue to function. This has been achieved in many other English cities.
However, in 1988 the proposal was to sell The Min and make it into a shopping mall, with a Plan B of a hotel. Since the rebuild of Southgate, the loss of The Podium and the new hotel development in Beau Street, the most likely outcome of the sale of The Min would be a boarded up site that would deteriorate and be subject to vandalism.
But money <strong>is</strong> a central issue and a new campaign to save, recondition and modernise the interior of The Min and restore the Grade 2 exterior would have to be found. There are local, national and private funds for this sort of thing once a case has been well made, and I am certain that many patients, families and friends would wish to support such a venture.
Bath is the only significant and active European Spa City without its own Spa Hospital. In the 1960s and 70s The Min’s hydrotherapy pool was fed by the Roman Spring until the amoeba stopped it all. The conduits still lie beneath the streets.”
<strong>’DISEASED, DOUCHED AND DOCTORED’</strong>
<strong>EDITOR</strong> Professor Odam mentioned the launch of Dr Roger Roll’s new book describing the rise of mineral water as a therapy and how treatments in Rheumatology have changed. It will be launched in the Chapel at The Min on Monday, November 26th. It’s a ticket only presentation which is complemented by an exhibition of original 18th century patient records and historical medical artefacts.
<a href=”http://virtualmuseumofbath.com/virtual-museum-of-bath-2012/chapel/#main” rel=”attachment wp-att-481″><img title=”chapel” alt=”" src=”http://richardwyattblog.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/chapel.jpg?w=280″ height=”168″ width=”224″ /></a> The chapel at The Min
Kate Lane and her helpers at the hospital have been putting it together and l know she wants to develop the display further and hopefully be able to let school groups in to visit. I have asked her to do her own Virtual Museum piece on the subject in the not too distant future!
However, l have been lucky enough to have a sneak preview of some of the exhibits. I love signatures and have had the fantastic opportunity of gazing down at the names of some of the city’s historical ‘greats’ in their own hand writing – including Richard Nash, William Oliver, Ralph Allen and John Wood the Elder. Also some of the earliest patients records in very clear handwriting.
<a href=”http://virtualmuseumofbath.com/virtual-museum-of-bath-2012/ralph-allen-signature/#main” rel=”attachment wp-att-485″><img title=”ralph allen signature” alt=”" src=”http://richardwyattblog.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/ralph-allen-signature.jpg?w=280″ height=”210″ width=”280″ /></a> Clearly ‘Ralph Allen’
<a href=”http://virtualmuseumofbath.com/virtual-museum-of-bath-2012/richard-nash/#main” rel=”attachment wp-att-486″><img title=”richard nash” alt=”" src=”http://richardwyattblog.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/richard-nash.jpg?w=280″ height=”168″ width=”224″ /></a> Look down the list for ‘Jo Wood’
<a href=”http://virtualmuseumofbath.com/virtual-museum-of-bath-2012/patients-report/#main” rel=”attachment wp-att-483″><img title=”patients report” alt=”" src=”http://richardwyattblog.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/patients-report.jpg?w=195″ height=”260″ width=”195″ /></a> Patient records from 1749!
Remember this was a hospital serving the poor of all England and many of them stayed here for many weeks. At the bottom of each entry is a clear indication of whether they had benefitted from their treatment or died!
I loved the collection of badges which had to be worn by patients to identify them as such. One entry records the fact that a patient was turned out for being caught in a local public house. Landlords could be fined for serving patients from the hospital.
<a href=”http://virtualmuseumofbath.com/virtual-museum-of-bath-2012/hospital-badges/#main” rel=”attachment wp-att-482″><img title=”hospital badges” alt=”" src=”http://richardwyattblog.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/hospital-badges.jpg?w=195″ height=”260″ width=”195″ /></a> Collection of ward and patient badges
There is much here that truly deserves to be seen by a wider audience. This ancient institution – England’s first national hospital – is an important part of this city’s history.