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Dean Clarke House
( Exeter - Devon )
Closed 2007 A hometown hit ! I had my eye on this one for a while. It was sealed tight until the builders moved in.... then it was wide open in places, as long as you were happy walking past builders in the day time, looking like a lost photographer with no hard hat or hi-vis....
The hospital is situated in Southernhay in Exeter and was opened in 1743. The first stage of the hospital had four wards - the Devon, the Exeter, the Bristol and the Winchester Wards. Interestingly, the beds were placed with their sides to the wall, foot to foot, under the windows.
Later, they were placed with the foot of each bed against the wall, and it wasn't until 1821 that the head was placed in the conventional position, against the wall. Another feature, that could be reintroduced, for medicinal purposes only, was the brew-house which supplied three pints daily to each patient.
Water was likely to be contaminated, so the supply of beer was usual in workhouses and hospitals, and would also supply the patient with much needed carbohydrates and vitamin B.After the Duke and Duchess of York visited the hospital in 1899, the hospital was given permission to add Royal to its title, becoming the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital.
Many medical improvements were introduced in the early 20th Century, especially radiography (x-rays) and improved anaesthesia. It wasn't until 1928 that the first Maternity Department was partly completed.The Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital escaped damage in the Exeter blitz and on 24th August 1948 the last board meeting was held before the hospital became part of the newly formed NHS.
The buildings of the RD&E were becoming inadequate for a modern health service and in 1974, the hospital moved to a new, purpose built facility on the Heavitree cricket field at Wonford.Since 1974 it been used by the Exeter Health trust until June 2007. Now it is earmaked for redevelopment as a mixed site including residential accommodation, a hotel and office premises. The planning process is expected to take 12 to 18 months and, due to the grade II* listing status, this will involve English Heritage.
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