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Medicine and Magnificence: British Hospital and Asylum Architecture, 1660-1815 | Books and Media | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Medicine and Magnificence: British Hospital and Asylum Architecture, 1660-1815



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Medicine and Magnificence: British Hospital and Asylum Architecture, 1660-1815 (Hardcover)
by Christine Stevenson (Author)

# Hardcover: 320 pages
# ISBN: 0300085362

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The late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries represent a golden age in terms of the design and construction of hospitals in Britain and its American colonies. Between 1660 and 1815 the great veterans' hospitals at Chelsea and Greenwich were erected, the ancient London foundations of Bethlem ('Bedlam'), St Thomas's and St Bartholomew's completely reconstructed, and more than fifty other hospitals and asylums purpose-built by charities or by the Navy. This is the first substantial account of this great period of planning and construction, and considers both the architecture and function of the hospitals and the considerable public response to them. Major public hospitals were a concrete manifestation of the concerns of the time and reflect decisive shifts in military organisation, charitable forms, medical practice and urban culture.

An architectural historian, Christine Stevenson looks beyond the intrinsic value of their design to consider what the buildings meant to architects, builders, donors, physicians and the public and how these meanings and functions changed. Blending social history with the details of construction she explores views of the appropriateness of architectural display in buildings for paupers and invalids, the importance of the circulation of air for the prevention of cross-infection, the preoccupation with segregation by sex, class and diagnosis, and the provision of such 'true magnificence' as facilities for exercise. In the final analysis, Stevenson argues, hospital planning attempted to reconcile man's works with those of God. Through her path-breaking scholarship, she brings to life those involved in designing and working the institutions, and those attacking them too, offering a broader view of architectural, cultural and medical practice in the period as a whole.
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