A fine engraved view of Haslar Hospital, published September 1751
Titled: A Perspective View of the Royal Hospital now building for the Reception of Sick and Wounded Seamen at Gosport in Hants
Framed and glazed in our studio
Overall size including frame: 34 cm x 29.5 cm
The need for a hospital specifically for sick and wounded seaman arose in the 17th century, particularly after the the Dutch wars of 1652 to 1674, but it took another hundred years until a building program was finally instigated by the Admiralty with hospitals being built at Gosport, Plymouth and Chatham.
The Admiralty chose a site at Haslar owing to its proximity to the Harbour and the ease of unloading wounded sailors by sea. The 95 acre site purchased in 1745 was previously known as Hasler Farm and was leased to Messrs Appleford, Holmes and Goodeve.
The Admiralty had stipulated that the new hospital be a 'strong, durable, plain building consisting of three stories; the same to form a large quadrangle with a spacious piazza within'. Only three sides of the quadrangle were ever built owing to cost concerns.
The unfinished hospital admitted 100 patients as early as 1753 under Admiralty orders, although the sick men had to sling their hammocks in the builder's huts until the wards were ready to admit them! The building was not completed until well into the 1760s, and was much added to during the 19th century.