Annual report for 1854

The following is an extract from the annual report for the year 1854 which was published in January 1855. The report is amongst uncatalogued material at the Dorset History Centre (temporary reference number NG/HH/DO(C)/Accession 4898).



The Committee might justly be suspected of indifference to the important benefits conferred by the Dorset County Hospital, whose management they have been permitted to superintend during the fourteenth year of its existence, if they did not both heartily feel, and warmly express their gratitude to Almighty God for the remarkable and unlooked-for prosperity with which He has been pleased to bless it, since the presentation of the last Annual Report.

The difficulties which they could not but anticipate at that time, in consequence of the high price of provisions, and from the fact that the Income of the preceding year, had fallen short of the expenditure to the amount of £80, were indeed speedily removed, to a considerable extent, by the ready acquiescence on the part of several Subscribers in the request that they should double their usual contributions, and by a munificent donation, amongst others, presented by the Rev. J. C. Bristed of the sum of £100, with a special view to the exigency of the times.

Nevertheless, there was still much reason to apprehend a deficiency at the end of the year, and the Committee had in fact just addressed an urgent representation to the Clergy of the County, when a suggestion was put forth by the Lord Bishop of the Diocese that the collections made on the “Thanksgiving-Day for the abundant Harvest”, should be devoted to this or similar Institutions.

The result has been that a sum amounting altogether to £718 6s. 3d. has been received from this single source, enabling the Committee not only to meet the expenses of a peculiarly heavy year but also to pay off the balance due to the Treasurer;  to fund the sum of £500, including the legacy of £100 from the late Rev. Edmund Bryer, of Dorchester:  and still to retain a Balance in hand of £111 15s. 9d.

The Committee have already forwarded to the Bishop a resolution expressive of their grateful sense of his most valuable and seasonable suggestion;  and this they are assured the Governors will very cordially confirm;  whilst at the same time they will doubtless unite with the Committee in tendering to the Clergy, through whose hands these collections have been received, their warmest acknowledgments for the essential and welcome aid thus imparted.

The Committee are greatly rejoiced to think that the connexion of this Hospital with some 200 Parishes has now been fully recognised, by its selection as the recipient of their thank-offerings;  and also that the great value and efficiency of this mode of supporting it have been at length experimentally ascertained.  They can hardly doubt but that it’s claims will be much more generally advocated from the Pulpit in the present and future years than heretofore, and that thus it will, by God’s blessing, be permanently place in a position to meet every demand that may be made upon it’s charity.

Though the Statistical Table of Patients appended to this Report exhibits, in its sum total, a result different but very slightly in the number of In-Patients treated from that of last year, and in the daily average precisely coincident with it, still the pressure at certain periods has been unprecedentedly great, and especially in the last few months.  The Committee, however, have deemed it incumbent upon them to respond to the liberality of the County by making every possible effort to strain the accommodation of the Hospital to the very utmost, and in this they have been heartily seconded by the Officers of the Institution.

The committee cannot speak too highly of the cheerful energy and ability of the House Apothecary.  In consideration of the value of his services, the Committee felt, on a recent occasion, they could not do less than present him with a gratuity of £20 to assist in defraying the expenses of a temporary absence, which the failure of his health appeared to his Medical Advisers to render imperatively necessary.  Every year also adds to this obligation under which the County lies to the Matron, for the systematic kindness and regularity with which she carries on her highly responsible and important duties.

In conclusion, the Committee would advert to a single subject of regret, in the midst of so many causes of gratification, in the severe loss the Institution has sustained by the death of the late respected Lieut. Criswick, R.N., for some years their Vice-Chairman, who had always taken a deep interest in the welfare of the Hospital, and gave his constant attention to its domestic operations.