The Nelson Cottage Hospital
Early Nelson had no shortage of medical men, but providing medical buildings was much more difficult. The first hospital was a lean-to added to the side of the immigration barracks.
In 1853 the first permanent hospital began on the corner of Rutherford and Examiner Streets and provided nurses' accommodation and beds for about twelve patients.
At this time doctors were allowed to continue their own private medical practice as well as work at the Public hospital.
Public hospital care was only considered to be for the poor, so private medical care was an important source of income for doctors. They would either visit patients at their homes or set up a part of their own home as a cottage hospital.
There were also larger private hospitals, like Manuka Street, for surgical and medical patients. Healthcare was a precarious business.
Mrs. Turnball describes how, as a trainee nurse, she was asked by Dr F.A. Bett how many wounds healed by first intention. She replied "none" and added "Sir, I have never heard of it and what is it?" Almost every wound became messily infected.
Duncan House was a cottage hospital before it was purchased by the Duncan Family. This building was donated to Founders Heritage Park by the Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions and had been the Redwood College music block on Manuka Street. The building arrived at Founders Park in 1983 and then became the cottage hospital. Other Redwood College1 buildings in the Park include the Granary and the Port Museum.
The text of this story was written for an Interpretation Panel at Founders Heritage Park, 2010. (updated 2022)
Sources used in this story
- Moore, C. (1982, November 6) At Redwood College, closing the doors after 104 years. Nelson Evening Mail.
Want to find out more about the The Nelson Cottage Hospital ? View Further Sources here.
Do you have a story about this subject? Find out how to add one here.
Further sources - The Nelson Cottage Hospital
- Low, D. C. (196-?) Salute to the scalpel : a medical history of the Nelson Province, Nelson [N.Z.] : D. C. Low