Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: July 26, 2017.
Webpage updated: July 26, 2017




In January 1885 this 20-acre site, a part of the Higher Mount Gould Farm owned by a Miss Trick, was purchased by Plymouth Borough Council for 1,200 and wooden buildings were erected for an infectious diseases hospital.   It was felt that the surrounding trees would be enough to shield anybody living outside the site from the diseases. 

However, when the Infectious Diseases (Notification) Act 1889 became law, the Council felt that the wooden buildings would not meet the requirements of the Act and should be replaced by a more solid structure.  The Borough Engineer, Mr G D Bellamy, was asked to draw up the plans.  Upon entering the hospital grounds the porter's lodge was just inside the gates.  Further up the entrance path, on the left, would be the administration block.  This was to be constructed in local limestone and Portland cement.  The block would contain the bedroom and living quarters for the matron, the medical officer, the nurses and the servants.

The isolation pavilion was divided into male and female, as was usual at that time.  In each section was a ward measuring 24 feet by 18 feet to hold two beds, with a duty room and a nurse's room.  Each wing would also have a ward measuring 36 feet by 18 feet to take three beds.  All the rooms were to have a height of 13 feet, as prescribed by the Local Government Board's regulations.  The southern side of the building was to have a veranda.  It should be borne in mind that the patients had to pay for their stay even though they were being isolated for the public good.

More in the centre of the site were to be two more pavilions, one to accommodate 12 patients and the other for 16.  There was still plenty of space on the site for expansion at a later date.  The floors of wood blocks, saturated in paraffin wax, would be on a concrete base.

Also on the site were two laundry rooms, one for the patients and one for the staff, and a steam powered disinfection plant and a small mortuary. 

What later became the Administration Block was formally opened in 1897 by the Mayor, Mr C H Radford, and Mr J H May, chairman of the Sanitary Committee.

On the recommendation of the Tuberculosis Committee, during 1915 the Council adopted a scheme for the treatment of TB in the Borough.  As it was considered that the best treatment was lots of fresh air, pavilions accommodating forty-two beds were to be provided at Mount Gould Isolation Hospital, with further long-stay facilities at Didworthy Sanatorium, at South Brent, and Udell Tor, at Yelverton.

The Hospital was re-opened by their Royal Highnesses, the Duke and Duchess of York on Tuesday May 24th 1932, when it became the Mount Gould Orthopaedic Hospital, treating patients with tuberculosis.  As a result the Udal Torre Sanatorium at Yelverton was to be closed.

Amongst those present were the Mayor of Plymouth; Alderman and Mrs H M Medland, chairman of the Public Health Committee; Miss Waterhouse, matron of the City Hospital; Miss Lipscombe, matron the Swilly Isolation Hospital; Miss Edis, matron of Udal Torre; Miss Lees, matron of the South Devon and East Cornwall Hospital; Miss Kenwell, matron of the Royal Albert Hospital, Devonport; Miss Adams , matron of the Central Hospital; Miss Wilshere, matron of the Royal Eye Infirmary; and Miss Mitchell, matron of the Mount Gould Hospital.

Messrs A N Coles (Contractors) Ltd started the construction work in October 1931, when the foundation stone was laid.  The total value of his contract was 55,876.  The buildings were not architecturally ornate but gave an impression of solidity and efficiency.  The brick walls were covered with roofs of Delabole slate or, in the case of the flat roofs, by concrete and asphalt.   The floors were of polished oak blocks.

In the buildings that made up the original hospital much reconstruction had taken place.  Ward A was to accommodate 44 male patients while ward B would provide facilities for 16 female patients, which could be increased to 32 if required.  A further 24 females would be accommodated in ward C.    An additional timber building housed ward D, which included the dining rooms, reading rooms, and occupational treatment facilities.  The old laundry was still to be converted in to a central kitchen and dining room for the staff.  The former kitchen wing was converted in to bedrooms for 32 nurses and 12 maids.

The new orthopaedic block contains three wards capable of accommodating 120 patients.  The central block held 10 male and 10 females.  On either side are the children's wards, each taking 50 children and each with a teacher's room.  There was a large solarium in to which the beds could be wheeled so that the patients could derive the fullest possible benefit from the rays of the sun.  The southern side of the building could be opened to the sun and fresh air.