Committee meetings 1874-79

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The following notes have been extracted from the Minutes of the Committee of Management 1874-79 held at the Dorset History Centre (NG/HH/DO(C)/1/2/5).


1874 continued

Thursday, 23 April 1874

  • The matron was authorised to discharge Nurse Portsmouth following a report in the visitors’ book.
  • “A Report was received from the members of the Medical Committee, signed by Dr. Lush and Mr. Emson, and the Committee feel themselves bound to express their regret that it should have been thought advisable to make any remarks as to the duties of the weekly visitors”.

Thursday, 9 July 1874

  • The matron (Miss Bell) had died on Monday evening after a lingering illness.

Thursday, 16 July 1874

  • It was resolved that a simple headstone should be erected in the cemetery in memory of the late matron.

Thursday, 23 July 1874

  • The Committee received a letter from the house surgeon tendering his resignation.

Thursday, 30 July 1874

  • The Committee selected Miss Swyer of Southampton and Miss Feek of Bath to interview for the post of matron on 6 August.

Thursday, 6 August 1874

  • Miss Feek was unanimously elected matron.

Thursday, 13 August 1874

  • Miss Feek to commence her duties on 7 September.

Thursday, 27 August 1874

  • Clarification that accident and emergency cases are under the care of the house surgeon if the honorary surgeon (for surgical cases) or honorary physician (for medical cases) are absent.

Thursday, 3 September 1874

  • The chaplain purchased the following magazines: The Leisure HomeSunday At Home, and Our Own Fireside. 

Thursday, 24 September 1874

  • Permission was given to Dr. Lush to introduce another pupil (Mr. Arthur Franklin).
  • The following applications were received for the post of house surgeon:

– Henry Barton Liddell Smith MB CM MRCS

– James Murphy MB ChM LCD

  • The chairman to tell Murphy that his election was improbable because he was unknown to the electors and to advise him to withdraw.

Thursday, 1 October 1874

  • James Murphy withdrew his application for the post of house surgeon.

Thursday, 8 October 1874

  • Barton Smith was elected house surgeon.

Thursday, 29 October 1874

  • “In consequence of some misunderstanding between the House Surgeon and the Matron respecting the serving of their meals, the following resolution was proposed … ‘Until the time that a Resident Chaplain be appointed the sanction of the Committee be given to the House Surgeon and the Matron to have their meals served in separate rooms'”

Thursday, 5 November 1874

  • The Committee were keen to record that arrangement regarding the house surgeon’s and the matron’s meals was a temporary one. “There is not the smallest intention of degrading the Matron from the position, in which she is placed by Rule 69, as head of the Household”.

Thursday, 17 December 1874

  • There was water running down the walls of the house surgeon’s rooms.



Thursday, 7 January 1875

  • Resolution that the house surgeon be requested to resign because of his refusal to dine with the matron and chaplain, which was not carried.

Thursday, 14 January 1875

  • House surgeon Barton Smith’s resignation was accepted. [His full resignation letter is copied into the minutes].

Thursday, 28 January 1875

  • The house surgeon complained that the night nurse on the male ward was too young. The matron was instructed to “procure if possible elderly women”.

Thursday, 18 February 1875

  • Criticism of the hospital’s domestic arrangements had appeared in the Medical Times and Gazette. The Committee condemned the leaking of information.

Thursday, 25 February 1875

  • Voting on whether the house officers should dine together. The chairman had the casting vote and it was agreed that the officers should dine in separate rooms until further orders were received from the Committee.

Thursday, 4 March 1875

  • Resolved that servants of the household be free to choose their own medical men from the staff of the hospital.
  • Resolved to ask the medical committee if they would approved a pupil of the hospital acting as locum for the house surgeons.
  • The following applications were received for the post of house surgeon:

– Richard F. Hearn, M.B.

– Thomas Loane, M.D.

– M. P. C. McCormack, M.D.

– John G. Thornley, M.D.

Thursday, 10 March 1875

  • McCormack had communicated saying he was a Roman Catholic and therefore unable to comply with the rules of the hospital regarding attendance at Divine Service.

Thursday, 18 March 1875

  • Further debate on the hospital’s servants being able to choose their own medical attendants.
  • General meeting to elect a house surgeon. The result was:

– Mr. Richard F. Hearn – 168 votes. Hearn was elected.

– Dr. John G. Thornley – 138 votes

  • Resolved (in line with the medical committee’s wishes) that the matron should inform the house surgeon if any nurse/servant is ill, and the house surgeon will attend and call on the physician, or surgeon of the week, as appropriate, if a second opinion is needed. The Committee added an amendment whereby the nurse or servant can bring in any qualified medical man at their own expense (the Committee must be informed).

Thursday, 25 March 1875

  • There was another critical report in the press – the Express and Telegram “last week” – which the Committee condemned the statement in the newspaper as “utterly unjustifiable”.

Thursday, 8 April 1875

  • Miss Feek, the matron, informed the Committee that Lydia Ashman, a patient aged 16, was suspected of stealing a book belonging to the hospital and on examining her “bundle that and several trifling articles belonging to other Patients had been found wrapped up in her clothes. The Committee had the girl before them and, after anxiously considering her case, decided not to give her in charge to the Police on account of the nature of her malady (Hysteria)”. They informed her sponsor and her parents, giving details of what had happened.

Thursday, 22 April 1875

  • Hearn, the new house surgeon, arrived yesterday and was introduced to the Committee.
  • It was confirmed that cases of typhoid fever should not be admitted as medical emergencies.
  • Mr. Middleton resigned as vice-chairman of the Committee. The Committee recognised that he had been grossly insulted at the last meeting but “thought it was useless to treat it otherwise than with silent contempt”. [There is nothing in the minutes of 15 April stating what this incident was.]

Thursday, 29 April 1875

  • Resolved that nurses or servants calling in outside medical attendants must seek permission from the Management Committee first.
  • “The Matron was authorized to obtain the help of a strong girl at low wages to assist the House & Parlour Maid”.

Thursday, 13 May 1875

  • The house surgeon was authorised to order a Continuous Battery and also a Faradic from Messrs. Weiss.

Thursday, 20 May 1875

  • The Committee commissioned  a lean-to, to be erected at the back of the porters’ lodge. They also invited tenders to repair the roof.

Thursday, 22 July 1875

  • A case of death from blood poisoning and another case of erysipelas having been reported to the Committee, they asked the medical committee to investigate and make recommendations.
  • Mr. Tudor had complained of Nurse Howell having neglected a patient, but on investigation it was found that the neglect arose from a deficiency of his.

Thursday, 26 August 1875

  • “A complaint having been made of the Butter, it was ordered that the Butter be served out daily instead of Weekly”.

Thursday, 9 September 1875

  • The house surgeon resigned. The Committee agreed to waive the three months notice if they approve the locum to be supplied.

Thursday, 23 September 1875

  • Dr. R. Sterling was accepted as locum house surgeon.

Thursday, 14 October 1875

  • The Penny Reading to the domestics proposed to be given by the chaplain “had grown into a kind of Public Entertainment”. The chaplain was asked to take care in the issuing of tickets and ensure it not be allowed to interfere with the comfort or welfare of the patients.

Thursday, 21 October 1875

  • The Committee received a letter from Dr. Lush announcing the death of his wife.
  • Candidates for the post of house surgeon who were assessed as duly qualified by the medical committee:

– Mr. Edward Joseph Day, M.R.C.S.Eng., L.S.A.S.

– Dr. John Wilson Hamill, M.D., M.S. Ireland

– Mr. Henry Bramment Pattinson, M.R.C.S.Eng., L.S.A.S.

– Mr. William McCarthy, L.R.C.S., L.R.C.P.E.

– Dr. Robert Sterling, L.R.C.S.I, L.R.C.P.Edin.

  • The medical officers’ report on the sanitary state of the hospital to be distributed to the Committee members.

Thursday, 4 November 1875

  • It was agreed that a special meeting to discuss the medical officers’ report on the sanitary condition of the hospital take place on 2 December.
  • General meeting for the election of the house surgeon:

– Mr. E.J. Day – 86 voting papers, 254 votes (Day was elected)

– Mr. Pattinson – 1 paper, 1 vote

Thursday, 18 November 1875

  • Resolved that “the Dustbin be abolished, and that the dust be removed daily by the Sanitary Authorities”.

Thursday, 25 November 1875

  • “Mr. Day entered upon his duties as house surgeon this day”.

Thursday, 2 December 1875

  • Special meeting to discuss the sanitary report.

Thursday, 9 December 1875

  • The medical staff were asked to provide returns on all cases of pyemia and erysipelas.

Thursday, 16 December 1875

  • Cases of erysipelas (E) and pyemia (P) during the current year:
    • Henry Pitman  E & P
    • Robert Cozens  E
    • James Howard  E
    • George Sansom  E
    • William Davis  E
    • Robert Stickland  E
    • William Moss  E
    • William Green  E
    • Mary Taylor  E
    • Eliza Hall  E
    • William Smith  E
    • Thomas Westwood  E
    • Charles Vallens  E
    • Robert Cake  P



Thursday, 6 January 1876

  • A young man named Wightman, admitted as an accident, appears able to pay for his maintenance. He should be requested to do so and should be discharged as soon as it was safe to do so.

Thursday, 20 January 1876

  • The matron was instructed to engage Georgina Bullock as head nurse in the upper ward at a salary of £20 per annum.

Thursday, 16 March 1876

  • The report of the sub-committee appointed to look at expenses (particularly alcohol) was discussed. Various proposals were agreed for tightening up cost control.

Thursday, 6 April 1876

  • A special meeting to consider the report of Dr. Evans (an external expert) on the sanitary condition of the hospital. Various proposals adopted including fitting “Tobins’ upright tubes” in the wards.

Thursday, 13 April 1876

  • Further consideration of Dr. Evans’ report.

Thursday, 20 April 1876

  • Discussion of earth closets.

Thursday, 27 April 1876

  • Maria Shepherd was appointed nurse with effect from 26 April.

Thursday, 11 May 1876

  • An under-nurse (unnamed) was discharged because she was in a state of intoxication.

Thursday, 18 May 1876

  • The porter was reprimanded for impertinence to the matron.

Thursday, 15 June 1876

  • Dependent on their behaviour and efficiency the nurses’ wages are to be increased by not more than £2 per annum – up to £20 and up to £25 for the head nurses.

Thursday, 3 August 1876

  • Patient Alfred Hellyar, being treated for heart and kidney disease, was found to have lice. He was moved to a separate ward and allowed to stay another week.

Thursday, 31 August 1876

  • Mr. Wright’s butter was complained of.

Thursday, 7 September 1876

  • Letter from Mr. Wright stating that the weather had been unfavourable for keeping butter but he promised an improvement.

Thursday, 28 December 1876

  • The house surgeon requested that he be released at once to take up practice in the town. The Committee agreed subject to him finding a locum and that the house surgeon would still be responsible for the proper carrying out of his duties for three months.



Thursday, 22 February 1877

  • There was just one applicant for the post of house surgeon: Mr. Herbert J. Capon.

Thursday, 1 March 1877

  • It was proposed that an annex be built near the long wards to house water closets. The plan to be submitted to the original architect, Benjamin Ferrey.

Thursday, 8 March 1877

  • General meeting to elect a house surgeon – Herbert J. Capon was elected.

Thursday, 17 March 1877

  • It was resolved that Mr. Chapman  be appointed as clerk of the works to oversee the completion of the annex, for the sum of £5.

Thursday, 9 August 1877

  • The medical committee pointed out that not all patients are in indigent circumstances and they could pay for their treatment/maintenance.



Thursday, 10 January 1878

  • The porter (unnamed) gave notice.

Thursday, 24 January 1878

  • Joseph Davey was elected porter. [The terms of his appointment are set out in full in the minutes.]

Thursday, 21 March 1878

  • The house surgeon’s salary was increased to £100 per annum.

Thursday, 27 June 1878

  • A gratuity of £5 was granted to the cook for long and faithful service.

Thursday, 4 July 1878

  • “In consequence of the recommendation of the Medical Committee, and our appreciation of his services, the Dispenser’s Salary was increased by £10 per annum”.

Thursday, 25 July 1878

  • “As there appear to be no rules for the Election of a Treasurer Except at the General Anniversary Meeting, the Committee have thought it advisable to Elect Mr. Robt. Williams Junr., who is willing to accept the office, provisionally, until that Meeting takes place”.

Thursday, 26 September 1878

  • “At the request of Dr. Lush, James Peter Fenoulhet of Wyke Regis and Edward John Penny of Abbotsbury were admitted as medical pupils to the Hospital”.

Thursday, 17 October 1878

  • “The Clerk was desired to write to the Meat Contractor informing him that the mutton is coarser and fatter than his contract specifies and to state that unless its character be altered it will not be received”.



Thursday, 9 January 1879

  • “The Committee sanctioned an entertainment to be given by the Total Abstinence Choir provided the Medical Staff see no objection”.
  • Anniversary Meeting – Robt. Williams Junr. Esq. elected Treasurer in the place of the late Herbt. Williams Esq.

Thursday, 23 January 1879

  • The house surgeon, Capon, asked to be released from his post as soon as possible. The Committee agreed as long as he made temporary arrangements satisfactory to the Medical Committee.

Thursday, 20 March 1879

  • The following candidates were deemed eligible for the post of house surgeon:
    • J. T. R. Davidson, M.B., C.M.
    • Skene Gordon, M.B., C.M.
    • W. Cole Haime, L.R.C.P., L.R.C.S.
    • Joshua Lytle, M.D., M.Ch.
    • Julian A. B. G. Messum, M.R.C.S.S., L.S.A.
    • William Rowney, M.D., M.Ch.
    • J. R. Salter, M.R.C.S.E., L.S.A.

Thursday, 3 April 1879

  • General meeting to elect the house surgeon – upward of 300 votes for Messum, who was duly elected.


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