Daily Archives: July 27, 2023

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town, 27 July 2023

1212a. Map of Fever Hospital 1949 (source: Cork City Library).

Kieran’s Our City, Our Town Article,

Cork Independent, 27 July 2023

Recasting Cork: A Fever Hospital Report

The annual meeting of the President and Assistants of the Cork Fever Hospital and the House of Recovery was held on 26 July 1923. The Deputy Lord Mayor, Councillor W Ellis, presided. Sir John Scott read the annual report for the year 1922, which had been compiled by the hospital’s Committee of Management. Dr A G Sutton, Resident Medical Officer, recorded that the number of cases admitted during the year were 505. Of these 351 were diphtheria, 21 were scarlatina, 47 were measles, 10 were typhoid fever, 31 were pneumonia, 7 were erysipelas, and all other cases 38.

The official details compiled by Dr Sutton show many interesting details of the hospital’s work, which was located atop Fever Hospital steps near the top of St Patrick’s Hill. A total of 290 cases were admitted from the north area of the city, 86 from the South, 78 from the flat of the city, and 51 cases from the rural districts. These comprised patients of various categories: labourers and their wives, labourers’ children, clerks and their wives and children, servants, students, clergymen, doctors, nurses and people of various other occupations.

The amount received from Cork Corporation was £1,800, £100 from the County Council, £414 from paying patients, £215 from the Joint Labour and Hospital Committee, £134 from subscriptions and donation and proceeds of a whist drive from a Mr D Barry – bringing their receipts to £4,563. The expenses amounted to £3,402.

The serious outbreak of small pox in England caused the Fever Hospital committee some anxiety and there was a fear Cork would be visited by such a dreadful disease. Constant means of communication by sea and by rail increased the danger of the disease being brought to Cork. Preparations were made with a view to coping with any call, which would be made on the resources of the hospital. The committee had twice publicly called upon and communicated with the public health authorities urging them to put a Vaccination Act into thorough operation in the city immediately. Over 2000 children in the City of Cork were unvaccinated.

The water supply of the city was also the cause of some anxiety to the medical profession. However, the committee were pleased to note that the Corporation and the Water Works Committee were taking very practical steps to have the sources of the water supply constantly and thoroughly inspected, and all causes of contamination or pollution promptly dealt with.

The hospital grounds also gave an excellent return of crops of potatoes and vegetables. In addition to being highly appreciated by the patients, it saved the hospital a considerable amount of money.

The report thanked friends and supporters of the hospital – Lady Scott for flowers and plants, St Paul’s Work Guild for articles of clothing, Miss Tel Murphy for toys, Mrs Cantillon of Carrigaline for flowers and cakes, Mrs Lyons of Church View House, Killinadrish for eggs, cream and cakes, Mideleton Dairy for cream, Miss Murphy of Wellington Road for magazines, Mrs Peters of St Finbarr’s Place for home made bread, Mrs Maltby and Mrs Ryan of Sutton’s Buildings for picture books, and many more individuals who sent cakes and prizes for the bridge tournament and whist drive.

The report also referenced Mr P L Smyth of Dublin who through his Derby Sweep (see past columns) organised by him gave a donation of £10,000 to be divided equally between four of Cork city’s hospitals – the North Infirmary, South Infirmary, Mercy Hospital, and Fever Hospital. Each got a sum of £2,500 in cash.

Rev Canon Flewett, in proposing the adoption of the reports, said that in listening to them that he had two points to make. The first was that the Fever Hospital had a great work to do in Cork City, and often “proved a bulwark for the general community against attacks of insidious disease”. He noted thus in the past the Fever Hospital had been most successful and keeping away from the city “every great disaster or trouble that might arise from a possible epidemic”. He further articulated that the hospital was doing great work; “It was doing that work well, and he could not help feeling that one and all connected with institution, the doctor [Dr Sutton], matron [Nurse MacCullagh], nurses, and the attendants, and those who attended the committee meetings, had all contributed their share in carrying out that work”.

Mr S H Newsom seconded the adoption of the reports and endorsed everything that had been said about the working of the institution. He had been associated with hospitals for a considerable time, and his experience had given him an idea of their worth and how they should be appreciated, and he felt that the fever hospital was a very important institution; “The fever hospital staff and nurses were practically always at the front and always in danger, but there seemed to be providential care over them we almost invariably escaped infection. The citizens of Cork are indebted to the institution, which is like a safety valve in connection with any infectious diseases that came on, and I hope it will long continue to be a blessing advantage to the city”.

Another committee member P Brady endorsed the report and made reference to the condition of certain streets in the city come from his personal observation the very worst streets were those abutting on corporation property, especially around the churches of Saint Peter and SS Peter and Paul’s; “The approaches to those churches were often loaded with domestic refuse and the refuse of stables. The bylaws affecting public health should not be allowed to go into abeyance, and had their operators forgotten their duty as regards the supervision that should be exercised over the officials. It was their duty to point out this matter to the cooperation and to raise public interest in it.

Kieran’s Upcoming Tour:

Saturday afternoon, 29 July 2023, Views from a Park – The Black Ash and Tramore Valley Park & Surrounds, historical walking tour; meet at Halfmoon Lane gate, 2pm (free, duration: 90 minutes no booking required). 


1212a. Map of Fever Hospital 1949 (source: Cork City Library).