Patient Case Study: Alner, Lydia

In-patient, 1852 (died)


Hospital Dorset County Hospital Patient type In-patient
Number 2393 Date admitted 11 Sep 1852
Name Alner, Lydia Renewed
Age 33 Under whose care Dr. Cowdell
Occupation H[ousehold] Servant Disease Erysipelas.

Diff[use] inflame[matio]n of cellular tissues

Parish [Holy] Trinity [Dorchester] Discharged 12 Oct 1852
Recommended by Mr. Patch. Household servant until 2 Oct Outcome Died
Note The second diagnosis was added later
Source Dorset History Centre, Dorset County Hospital in-patient admissions register 1847-59, NG/HH/DO(C)/5/2/1



  1. 1851 census – Lydia Alner, general servant, aged 31, unmarried, born Piddlehinton, living in the home of her employer, Thomas Patch, organist and bookseller, aged 50, at High West Street, Dorchester. [The National Archives, HO107/1858, folio 77, p. 15]
  1. Lydia Alner, servant, aged 33, died of diffuse inflammation of the cellular tissue on 12 Oct 1852 at Dorset County Hospital, Dorchester. [General Register Office death certificate]
  1. Lydia Alner, aged 34, from the Hospital, buried 15 Oct 1852 at Holy Trinity, Dorchester. [Dorset History Centre, Dorchester Holy Trinity burial register, PE/DO (HT): RE 4/1, p. 6, entry 42]

Comment: This is a clear example of an employer sponsoring their employee for treatment. It is interesting to the note that, having put her forward for treatment, Thomas Patch dispensed with Lydia’s services less than a month after her admission. Employers were required to pay 7s. a week for household servants to be admitted as in-patients; no such payment was required for discharged servants.