The Royal East Sussex Hospital was founded at a meeting held at the Marine Hotel on the 7th of November 1839, being intended for the poor of the rape of Hastings. The land was purchased from the Eversfield Estate for the sum of £300, with construction costs being £2,000 and the Infirmary, designed by James Lansdell, as it became known was opened at White Rock in 1841 with six beds (Ross in his 1835 guide suggests there were twenty beds).During 1843, ten more beds were added and a new wing constructed in 1867.
In 1884, the name was changed to the Hastings and St Leonards and East Sussex Hospital and reconstruction was commenced utilising a rotunda style, this being best suited for the limited space available on the site. The Hastings, St. Leonards and East Sussex Hospital (otherwise known as 'The General Infirmary', at White Rock, was erected in 1887, at a cost of £20,000 within the footprint of an earlier hospital on the site. The keystone was placed by Thomas Brassey, who had arrived in his vessel "Sunbeam" for the purpose of the ceremony. It was constructed of red brick, with Portland stone dressings, the wards being arranged in two circular wings attached to a central building with 73 beds. On the roofs of each wing were 'sun rooms' and space for patients to promenade.
References & Notes
- A Guide to Hastings & St Leonards (Thomas Ross 1835) pg.9 Google Books
- Brett Manuscript Histories Vol. 2 Chap. 22
- Hastings & St Leonards Observer 28 August 1886 pg. 6
- Hastings Survey of Times Past and Present (Anthony Belt F.L.S.) 1937 pg.120 ESCC Library
- Hastings and St Leonards Observer - Saturday 15 October 1887