The Royal Hospital Haslar was designed by Theodore Jacobsen and built between 1746-61. The site opened as a Royal Navy hospital in 1753. It has had a very long and distinguished history in the medical care of service personnel both in peacetime and in war since that time, treating many tens of thousands of patients. Haslar was the biggest hospital and the largest brick building in England when it was constructed. Dr James Lind (1716-1794), a leading physician at Haslar from 1758 till 1785, played a major part in discovering a cure for scurvy, not least through his pioneering use of a double blind methodology with Vitamin C supplements (limes). The hospital included an asylum for sailors with psychiatric disorders, and an early superintending psychiatrist was the phrenologist, Dr James Scott (1785-1859), a member of the influential Edinburgh Phrenological Society.
In 1902 the hospital became known as the Royal Naval Hospital Haslar (abbreviated to RNH Haslar). In the 1940s, RNH Haslar set up the country's first blood bank to treat wounded soldiers from the Second World War. In 1966, the remit of the hospital expanded to serve all three services; the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force, after which time, it became known as the Royal Military Hospital Haslar. In 1996 the hospital again became known as the Royal Hospital Haslar. In 2001 Haslar was designated a Grade II listed historic park and several of the buildings are listed. Also in 2001, the provision of acute healthcare within Royal Hospital Haslar was transferred from the Defence Secondary Care Agency to the NHS Trust. The Royal Hospital was the last MOD-owned acute hospital in the UK. The decision to end the provision of bespoke hospital care for Service personnel was taken prior to the UK's expeditionary campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, but was nevertheless followed through, largely on the grounds of cost. The change from military control to the NHS, and the complete closure of the hospital have remained the subject of considerable local controversy. The hospital formally closed in 2009 and the site has since meant to have started redevelopment, although there are no signs of this having taken place.
The citizens of Gosport are said to deeply saddened by the closure of Haslar and there are campaigns to keep the hospital open. Gosport politicians cite that the UK is the only country in the Western world not to have a dedicated Military hospital, run by and for its military staff who understand the needs and ideology of the service person. At present, most casualties from conflicts return to Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham for treatment at the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine.
I visited with Sentinel (aka Rolf Harris) who kindly drove, Secret Door (aka Back Door Entrance) and bassboyjoe (aka mummys boy joe). We spent a good few hours dicking around avoiding driven security patrols and trying to find a way into the main building. Our perseverance eventually paid off and we had just over a couple of hours to see as much as possible before we needed to head back to london. The amount of stuff to see in there was incredible, around every corner there was something fascinating, XRAY scanners, MRI scanners, operating theatres complete with operating lights, waiting rooms full of chairs, beds, corridor porn, and amazing views across the whole site which is gigantic. The best bit for me was the gamma laboratory full of lab equipment including a centrifuge for spinning test tube samples amongst other things. The roof was also pretty spectacular with it's multiple white triangular skylights everywhere, quite a cool sight. Despite having seen all of the stuff photographed below, we still probably only saw about a quarter of the whole site which highlights just how huge the place really is. Definitely one of my favourite sites to date, surely the best hospital in the country in fact.... Loves a good hospital I does!
There's shitloads to photograph in there, could easily have posted 2 reports with different shots, hope you enjoy.
Thanks for looking ladies and gentlemen!