Cranleigh Cottage Hospital: A Glimpse into the Past

October 2023 by Trevor Dale

This month, whilst we’re waiting on the outcome of our grant application we’re continuing the exploration of the history of the Old Hospital Cottage.

It is enlightening to read around the subject and the excellent book by Dr Meyrick Emrys-Roberts entitled ‘The Cottage Hospitals 1859-1990’ is an invaluable source. Note the date – 1859, which refers of course to the inauguration of Cranley (as it then was) cottage hospital. Much of the contemporaneous detail we can find comes from the Handy Book of Cottage Hospitals by Horace Swete published in 1870.

This image, kindly provided by Cranleigh History Society, shows the guiding principles or ‘rules’ for the running of the hospital and was published in the hospital’s annual report of 1879.

As mentioned in previous articles, the cottage hospital was funded by donations from those who could afford it. This enabled the poor to receive treatment free at point of provision in a local facility. Annual subscriptions in the late 1870s totalled around £1,900. However, not all donations received were money as can be seen from this excerpt from the annual report which also shows 25 patients being treated at the hospital in 1878 compared to 30 in 1877.

This list from Cranleigh History Society archives gives an interesting insight to the types of illness and injury treated at the hospital in 1878. Some familiar diagnoses, some less so!

Originally published in The Cranleigh Magazine