Westmoreland Lock Hospital

The Westmoreland Lock Hospital (Irish: Ospidéal Loc Westmoreland) was a hospital for venereal disease originally located at Donnybrook and later moved to Lazar's Hill (now Townsend Street), Dublin, Ireland.

Westmoreland Lock Hospital
Westmoreland Lock Hospital in 1890
LocationTownsend Street, Dublin, Ireland
Coordinates53°20′46″N 6°15′16″W / 53.34614°N 6.25439°W / 53.34614; -6.25439
Building details
Alternative namesSt Margaret of Cortona (1946 onwards)
General information
Architectural styleGeorgian
Estimated completion1792
Technical details
Design and construction
Architect(s)Richard Johnston
Francis Johnston
Edward Parke
SpecialityVenereal disease
ListsHospitals in the Republic of Ireland

History edit

Surgeon George Doyle first established a hospital to treat venereal diseases in women and children on Rainsford Street (named for Mark Rainsford) in 1755.[1]

The hospital then relocated on a number of occasions including to South Great George's Street, Clarendon Street and the Buckingham Hospital on Buckingham Street (later to become Temple Street Children's Hospital) as well as finally a fourteen-year spell at Donnybrook, but its distance from the city centre made it unattractive for physicians.[2] At the same time the Hospital for Incurables in Townsend Street was running out of space. It was decided to swap locations, which benefited both hospitals.[3]

The new hospital, which was located at the corner of present-day Townsend Street and Luke Street, was opened on the 20th of November 1792. The part of the name "Westmoreland" refers to the John Fane, 10th Earl of Westmorland who was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland at the time.[4] The 'Lock Hospitals' were developed for the treatment of syphilis following the end of the use of lazar hospitals, as leprosy declined.[5] The part of the name "Lock Hospital" refers back to the earlier leprosy hospitals, which came to be known as lock hospitals after the "locks", or rags, which covered the lepers' lesions.[6] Other hospitals treating lepers in 18th century Dublin included the Lock Hospital in Clarendon Street, and Mercer's Hospital.[7]

Initially, the hospital treated 300 people of both sexes. This was later reduced to 150 beds and from 1820 only women were admitted (males were sent to Dr Steevens' Hospital and the Richmond Surgical Hospital). It was supported by the state from the outset. Catholics and Protestants were segregated. In the 19th century most of the patients were prostitutes, a consequence of the large military presence in the city - Dublin having the "largest garrison of the British army at home or in the colonies" (Under-Secretary Thomas Larcom).[8] It became part of the objectives of the hospital governors to prevent the transmission of venereal disease to troops stationed in the city, and the hospital was provided with a grant from the government to effect this.[9]

In 1794 the Lock penitentiary opened at the Bethesda Chapel on Dorset Street, which catered for women who had been discharged from the hospital.[10] Other destinations for those discharged were the Lying-in hospital (now the Rotunda Hospital), the work-house, or the Cork Street Fever Hospital. The hospital never had the power to hold women against their will.[8]

In 1945 the hospital was given special responsibilities for co-ordinating the treatment of women and infants in Dublin but was given no additional funding to do so. The hospital soon exhausted its savings. Unlike the other Dublin hospitals, it had no voluntary subscribers. It was renamed The Hospital of Saint Margaret of Cortona in 1946[10][11] and transferred to Dublin Corporation in 1951.[12] After the building fell into a state of disrepair it closed in 1956 and was subsequently demolished.[11] Its foundations were excavated in 1998[4] and the site was subsequently redeveloped as the Countess Markievicz Leisure Centre.[13][14]

The Royal College of Physicians of Ireland holds a comprehensive collection of minutes, patient registers, reports and accounts of the Hospital from its foundation up to the end of the 19th century.[11]

Notable physicians edit

Notable physicians included:

Ballads edit

A number of broadside ballads were printed in Britain and Ireland in the 19th century referring to the Lock Hospital or a similar institution, and the downfall of a young man or soldier (and later, woman).[21] According to Bishop and Roud (2014), the earliest-known variant, a late eighteenth-century/early nineteenth-century broadside in the Madden Collection, is called "The Buck's Elegy".[22] Another early mention of a hospital is on early 19th broadsides. A song was called My Jewel, My Joy in Ireland and was collected in Corke in the 1790s. A single-verse fragment of this song was noted, along with the tune. In 1911, Phillips Barry, who had studied folklore at Harvard, published an article claiming that the origins of "The Unfortunate Lad" were to be found in the fragment called "My Jewel, My Joy".[23] (There is a Folkways record - "The Unfortunate Rake", FS 3805 - dedicated exclusively to The Unfortunate Rake family of songs). In America, the song has been adapted to the cattle range (The Cowboy's Lament or The Streets of Laredo)[24] and the gambling hall (St. James' Infirmary).[25] Christy Moore recorded a song named Locke Hospital on the album "Prosperous" (1972).[26]

References edit

  1. ^ "Royal College of Physicians of Ireland" (PDF). www.rcpi.ie. Retrieved 14 June 2023.
  2. ^ Commons, Great Britain Parliament House of (1854). "Accounts and Papers of the House of Commons". Ordered to be printed. Retrieved 14 June 2023.
  3. ^ Gentleman's and Citizen's Almanack. Pettigrew and Oulton. 1842.
  4. ^ a b Claire Walsh, excavation, 2000 pp. 57-8
  5. ^ "A Concise History of Venereology in the UK". European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology. Archived from the original on 2 September 2006. Retrieved 5 May 2019.
  6. ^ "Lock Hospital, Hyde Park Corner". Sara Douglass, Old London Maps. 2006. Retrieved 2 February 2010.
  7. ^ Wright, An historical guide to Dublin. Dublin, 1825. p. 215
  8. ^ a b Black '47 and Beyond: The Great Irish Famine in History, Economy, and Memory By Cormac Ó Gráda p. 179
  9. ^ Minutes of the Select Committee on the Contagious Diseases Act of 1881
  10. ^ a b Frank Hopkins: Rare Old Dublin. Dublin, Marino Books, 2002. p. 43
  11. ^ a b c "Westmoreland Lock Hospital" (PDF). Royal College of Physicians of Ireland. Retrieved 5 May 2019.
  12. ^ "The Hospital of Saint Margaret of Cortona Transfer Order, 1951". Irish Statute Book. Retrieved 5 May 2019.
  13. ^ "Townsend Street, The Lock Hospital and the German Lutheran Church". Hidden Dublin. Retrieved 5 May 2019.
  14. ^ Archives, RTÉ (5 July 2012). "RTÉ Archives". stillslibrary.rte.ie. Retrieved 6 August 2020.
  15. ^ In Search of a Broadminded Saint: The Westmorland Lock Hospital in the Twentieth Century by Susannah Riordan Irish Economic and Social History, vol. 39, 2012, pp. 73–93.
  16. ^ "The Late Sir Philip Crampton". British Medical Journal. 1 (78): 521–522. 1858. PMC 2251290. PMID 20743387.
  17. ^ Carmichael, Richard; Dickey Gordon, Samuel (1862). Clinical Lectures on Venereal Diseases. Hodges and Smith. p. 214. Richard Carmichael Westmoreland Lock Hospital.
  18. ^ Irish Times, Dublin, 13 June 1871
  19. ^ Notes for an obituary compiled by Dr. T. Percy C. Kirkpatrick (Dublin: Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, 1954.)
  20. ^ "Thomas Percy Claude Kirkpatrick Archive" (PDF). Royal College of Physicians of Ireland. Retrieved 5 May 2019.
  21. ^ "Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads". ox.ac.uk. Archived from the original on 5 September 2008.
  22. ^ Bishop, J. and Roud, S (2014) The New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs, Penguin Classics, Kindle Edition.
  23. ^ Barry, P (1911) Irish Folk Song. The Journal of American Folklore. Vol. 24, No. 93. pp 332-343
  24. ^ The Whorehouse Bells are Ringing, Guy Logsden, 1989, p. 291, University of Illinois Press
  25. ^ The Folk Song Journal volume IV page 325
  26. ^ "Lock Hospital". BBC. Retrieved 5 May 2019.

Further reading edit

  • Fagan, Terry. Monto - Madams, Murder and Black Coddle. Dublin: Printwell.
  • Boyd, Gary A. (2006). Dublin, 1745-1922: Hospitals, Spectacle and Vice. Four Courts. ISBN 978-1851829606.

External links edit