The North of England Children’s Sanatorium (Southport Sanitarium for Children) (photo from the Merseyside Record Office, Liverpool Libraries) at Rivington, Hoghton Street, Southport, and later at Hawkshead Street South, was a homeopathic establishment, opened in 1860, and closed in 1971,
1850 – Mary Smith rented a house in School Street, Southport to open a sanatorium,
1858 – the old sanatorium closed, but as the need remained, Mary Smith rented another house in Hawkshead Street, and reopened the sanatorium,
1860 – Henry Blumberg senior, founded the Southport Children’s Sanatorium,
1861 – the Southport Children’s Sanatorium opened,
1862 – Henry Blumberg senior left the sanatorium,
1862 – Miss Marriott took over the sanatorium,
1866 – the sanatorium was handed over to a Board of Management which comprised Provisional Committee Members: Rev. J Jackson, Rev. B S Clarke, Rev. W Highton, W Dixon, H Clarke, G H Bromilow, T R Stephenson, F Millson, John James Drysdale, Adrian Stokes, Juan Norberto Casanova, Charles Tysoe Harvey; Treasurer: T R Stephenson; Secretary: J J Banning; Physician: Adrian Stokes. The extracts from the bye laws for the sanatorium were published in the London and Provincial Homeopathic Medical Directory, for children aged 2 – 15 years, who are not suffering from contagious diseases, at a cost of 15 shillings for the first 3 weeks, and 5 shillings for each successive week (for those with a written recommendation from a Governor), and 21 shillings for the first 3 weeks, and 7 shillings for each successive week (for those with a recommendation from anyone who is not a Governor). Anyone donating £10 and upwards shall be a Governor for life, and anyone donating £1 and upwards shall be a Governor for one year, and the government of the sanatorium will be vested in the Governors so qualified. Governors who donate £10 and upwards shall have one vote for each £10, and subscribers of £1 and upwards shall have one vote for each pound donated in the year of subscription, but no votes will be allowed until the subscriptions and donations are actually paid.
1868 – that sanatorium now had 30 beds, and the Board of Management now comprised Committee Members: G H Bromilow, J R Stephenson, F Millson, John James Drysdale, Adrian Stokes, Charles Tysoe Harvey; Treasurer: T R Stephenson,; Secretary: J J Banning; Physician: Adrian Stokes,
1869 – the Board of Management now comprised President: G H Bromilow, Vice President: Thomas Banner Newton; Management Committee: Mrs. Banning, Mrs, Bromilow, Mrs, Christian, Mrs, Daglish, Mrs. Hesketh, Miss Marriott, Miss Mary Smith, Rev. J H Carlisle, William Geddes, Mr. Gillett, S W Kelso, David Loly, James B Newton; Treasurer: T R Stephenson; Secretary: J J Banning; Physicians: Adrian Stokes, Charles Tysoe Harvey,
1878 – A much larger purpose-build accommodation in Hawkshead Street was opened, partly funded by the Cotton Districts Convalescent Fund. The Southport Sanatorium for Children was renamed the North of England Children’s Sanatorium. The sanatorium was meant for children from throughout Britain with non-contagious diseases to recover from illness or have a medically supervised holiday. The new North of England Children’s Sanatorium, Hawkshead Street South, was opened by the Right Hon. Lady Lindsay,
1878 – F W Finchett was Vice Chairman of the sanatorium,
1882 – the sanatorium was open for the care of 60 Children between the ages of 2 and 16,
1886 – Henry Blumberg senior returned to work at the sanatorium,
1888 – the 27th Annual Report of the sanatorium was published in the British Homeopathic Review,
1890 – the Children’s Wing of the new extension to the sanatorium has been named the Harvey Ward in memory of Charles Tysoe Harvey who had been associated with the sanatorium since its foundation 30 years previously,
1893 – Jonathan Dorning of Swinton left £1000 to the sanatorium in his will,
1894 – the Blumberg cot was dedicated to Henry Blumberg senior, who founded the sanatorium, in his memory. The 33rd Annual Report of the sanatorium was published in the British Homeopathic Review, including details of the new wing added to the sanatorium during the year 1893. William M Storrar and Henry Blumberg junior were recorded as Physicians at the sanatorium. 268 patients were sent to the sanatorium by the Cotton Districts Convalescents Fund,
1899 – the 38th Annual Report of the sanatorium was published in the British Homeopathic Review (874 cases treated in that year),
1904 – the Jonathan Dorning Cot at the Sanatorium was donated at a cost of £1000, for the benefit of the village of Swinton,
1908 – David MacDonald was a Physician at the sanatorium,
1915 – George Cockshott, solicitor was appointed Deputy Chairman of the sanatorium,
1923 – Ms. D E Baker is Matron at the sanatorium,
1923 – the Southport Music Festival was held in aid of the sanatorium on 15.7.1923,
1924 – the Annual Report of the sanatorium was presented by Henry Blumberg junior, and published in the British Medical Journal 7.3.1925. 1262 children had been seen in the sanatorium in this year, the average duration of stay was 3 weeks. The children were mostly from industrial areas suffering from chorea, bronchitis, rheumatism, anaemia and debility after fevers. A number of children ‘more or less crippled from infancy’ were also admitted, and Henry Blumberg junior regretted the lack of early orthopaedic intervention in such cases due to lack of provision of orthopaedic services. The sanatorium had a long waiting list. £1741 had been raised by ballot for the hospital, and the income for the year was £5253. Dr. J B Stelfox had endowed 2 beds at the sanatorium during the years in memory of his wife.
1938 – the sanatorium was extended to 150 beds,
1945 – Sheffield lad Jack Hoyle was a patient at the sanatorium,
1947 – the sanatorium had 134 beds,
1948 – the sanatorium was taken into the NHS,
1971 – the sanatorium closed,
The Sanatorium’s origin is not altogether clear as no records of its foundation have survived. This uncertainty is reflected in the slightly differing accounts given in the available reports, newspaper cuttings and so on; there are in any case no surviving records before 1867 (these were in the homeopathic publications quoted above).
It seems that the need for a Sanatorium was first perceived in the 1850s when Mary Smith rented a house in School Street, Southport for the purpose.
This venture closed around 1858, but as the need remained, Mary Smith rented another house in Hawkshead Street. At her request John D’Arnin (Henry) Blumberg senior, a Hungarian homeopathic doctor, became its medical officer. He only stayed there until 1862 so the work of the Sanatorium was soon at risk once again (John D’Arnin (Henry) Blumberg senior eventually returned to the Sanatorium and Southport, dying in 1893).
Fortunately the management was taken over by the Miss Marriott who in turn handed the Sanatorium over to a Board of Management in 1868.
At this time the Sanatorium was still in the rented house on Hawkshead Street with accommodation for just thirty children. Much larger purpose-built accommodation was opened in 1878 – partly funded by the Cotton Districts Convalescent Fund.
Further extensions were made in 1938, allowing for the treatment of about 150 children at the same time. Although most patients were from the North of England, children from all over the country were admitted.
The hospital was funded by voluntary subscription and donation until it was taken over by the National Health Service in 1948.
After this date it underwent many changes which were especially criticised by Rosa D’Arnin Blumberg (John D’Arnin (Henry) Blumberg senior‘s daughter). (There had been earlier pre-War controversy concerning the extent to which the hospital should be run on homeopathic lines, and whether there was any constraint on the Board to run it in this way.)
By the time the Sanatorium closed in 1971 it had radically changed its function, and was acting as a geriatric hospital.
The records of the sanatorium are held by the Merseyside County Archives 1867 – 1960, and in the Liverpool Record Office, (deposited on 7 February 1977, on permanent loan, by A W Cunliffe, District Administrator, District HQ, Sunnyside Hospital, Knowsley Road, Southport),
Barrow was a British orthodox physician who converted to homeopathy, the successor of Dr. Van der Henvel, a Belgian homeopath, originally Barrow settled in Kimberly, he fell foul of the allopaths but still managed to secure a ‘splendid practice’, Barrow replaced William M Storrar at the Southport Children’s sanatorium, and he also practiced at 57 Hoghton Street, Southport,
John D’Arnin (Henry) Blumberg senior 1829 – 1893, MD, LRCP 1858, was born in Hungary and studied medicine in Vienna. His great grandfather was the Hungarian Ambassador to St. Petersberg,
Henry Blumberg senior came to England in 1856 (probably when he adopted the first name Henry) during the uprising, and converted to homeopathy, a ‘tall sparely built man with long black hair, eyes and sallow complexion” – was a poet, linguist (six modern languages)’,
Henry Blumberg senior married Frances,
1881 – Henry Blumberg senior attended the International Homeopathic Convention,
Henry Blumberg senior‘s death in 1893 was mentioned at the British Homeopathic Congress in 1893 and reported in the American Medical Century,
Henry Blumberg senior wrote The Medicine of the Future, Tabes Dorsalis as a consequence of the abuse of mercury,
Rosa D’Arnin Blumberg, daughter of John D’Arnin (Henry) Blumberg senior, was also closely involved with the sanatorium, and she attended the Manchester College of Music,
Henry Blumberg junior, son of John D’Arnin (Henry) Blumberg senior, was a British orthodox physician who converted to homeopathy, and who was also associated with the sanatorium in 1924,
George Cockshott 1875 – BA Master of Laws, born in Preston, the son of John James and Jane Cockshott of Southport, he was educated at Uppington School and King’s College Cambridge. He married Mary Eileen Beatrice in 1906, daughter of Samuel Mason Kent of Wicklow, and had 2 sons,
Jonathan Dorning of Swinton was the sole lessee of the Thames and Channel Passenger Service (steam shipping), founder of the Galway and Packet Station, Director of the South Wales Railway Company and Atlantic Royal Mail Steam Navigation Company and MP for Galway,
Charles Tysoe Harvey ?1821 – ?1890, MRCS England 1848, Licentiate of K&Q College Ireland 1860, was a British orthodox physician who converted to homeopathy, Member of the Northern Homeopathic Medical Association, who also practiced at 48 Houghton Street, Southport,
Right Hon. Lady Lindsay was Emily Florence, the wife of James Lindsay 26th Earl of Crawford (a family with a long tradition of advocating homeopathy),
Ms. Marriott was a sponsor and advocate of homeopathy in 1871, and a friend of Mary Smith, (E Marriott and Co were dispensing homeopathic chemists in Havelock Road, Hastings in 1884), (Dr. Marriot was a homeopath working for the Royal Army Medical Corps in 1916),
Mary Smith was a sponsor and advocate of homeopathy in 1871,
William M Storrar wrote A Digest of Ten Years Work at a Children’s Sanitorium,
Yorkshireman Jack Hoyle treasures vivid memories of the unusual first holiday he spent in Southport more than 60 years ago. For three weeks in late 1945, 11 year old Sheffield lad Jack Hoyle was a patient at the North of England Children’s Sanatorium in Hawkshead Street.
Despite its imposing exterior and warnings of an ‘awful’ reputation, Jack describes his stay as “a great experience and adventure. Now 73 and living in Grimsby, Jack told LookBack that he owed his first stay beside the sea to a nasty bout of wartime malnourishment.
He said: “A few weeks before I went my mum had said to me, ‘you’re so thin I could easily play a tune on your ribs’. Years of wartime rations and food shortages had left us without a great choice of food variety.
Taken to a doctor for examination, Jack was referred to the Children’s Sanatorium on the grounds he “needed feeding up. Initially, his reaction was one of excitement, but this turned to trepidation when, on arrival at Chapel Street station, his father asked a passing woman directions to the Sanatorium. “She gaped at Dad and said ‘You are surely not taking that nice boy to such an awful place,’ remembered Jack.
The old Victorian building itself on Hawkshead Street was far from welcoming. Jack said it looked ‘cold and sombre, with bars on its upstairs windows and surrounded by a high wall. Inside, while it was ‘rather cold and draughty’, Jack saw ‘a play area full of lovely brand new toys of many kinds’.
He continued: ‘However I was told that we could only play with them on rainy days, the reason for this was that it was important for us to get fresh air and exercise – usually while kicking a ball in the park’.
Once, while out with other patients, Jack saw a prominent local businessman being pushed in a wheelchair. The elderly man was Bob Martin, the entrepreneur behind the range of pet products that were produced in the town.
Also among Jack’s vivid memories of his stay were a visit by the then Mayor of Southport, Mr S. Ernest Charlton, and a journey by horse and dray – the only transport the Sanatorium had. After a Catholic Mass held to celebrate harvest festival, Jack and another boy were given a ride back to Hawkshead Street on a horse and dray, ‘driven by an old man with a waxed moustache’.
Jack said: ‘Our job was to carry and load all the produce from the service onto the dray and bring it back to the home – some treat!’
After three weeks at the Sanatorium, Jack had put on 3lbs and was judged able to return to his parents. ‘It had been a great experience and adventure, which I have never forgotten’, he said.