The first edition of the Gazette of the 3rd London General Hospital was published this month in 1915. We’ve already used some of the articles in it on blog posts on the opening of the hospital and a royal visit.
Contributions to the Gazette came from both staff and patients at the hospital. The editorial comments that they “little guessed, when we advertised for contributions, how prompt would be the response from the poets”. Not all submissions were considered suitable for publication – the second letter opened contained a series of poems dedicated to encouraging the “slacker” to enlist, which the editors decided was laudable “but here singularly unnecessary”.
Illustrations were provided by several of members of the Chelsea Arts Club, including C R W Nevinson – who provided a Futurist view of the Hospital grounds – and Stephen Baghot de la Bere contributed a series of cartoons. These were described as having “characteristics already familiar to many of our readers through the public press”, although additional information about his career is slightly more difficult to find. Some of his paintings are in galleries around the country, see here for more information. The cartoons covered the reactions across the hospital to the rumour that a lowly nursing orderly might be promoted.
According to the CO in a later Gazette, the majority of the orderlies to begin with were young men recruited from Messrs Hitchcock and Williams (which seems to have been a drapers). After the hospital was set up, orderlies were given the chance to transfer abroad if they were deemed fit enough, so that by the time the Gazette was produced all of the orderlies were either over 38 or under 19. At least two artists were orderlies, as mentioned above, but they were joined by an ARA, an ARSA and members of the International Society of Painters, Sculptors and Engravers, the Royal Institute of Oil Painters and the Société Nationale des Beaux Arts. There were also teachers, actors, a retired professional boxer, a piano tuner, a “character vocalist”, dentists, a stage carpenter and a cinema pianist, amongst others.
The Gazette gives some statistics on how the hospital was staffed, as well as details on where the staff came from. There were 42 officers and 204 NCOs and men and 114 Territorial Force sisters and nurses. VADs were called Probationers, there were 134 of them. A hospital extension was due to be completed, meaning that figures would only go up, but staff also included Engineer’s staff, laundry staff, tailoresses, officers’ and nurses’ servants – plus 25 Lady helpers from the Red Cross Society and Labour Exchange.
You can read more about the 3rd LGH here: http://thirdlondongeneral.blogspot.co.uk/
The Gazette is available in the Heritage Service.