The erection of this magnificent institution is now so rapidly approaching completion, that the Kesteven County Council has arranged to hold its next quarterly meating in the capacious theatre, on November 16th, and it will be highly probable that the opening ceremony will take place in February next. Thanks to the courtesy of Mr. H. K. Knight, our representative recently had an opportunity of inspecting this palatial asylum, Mr. H. Knight kindly officiating as cicerone. We agree with our Spalding contemporary that the site in an ideal one, and standing on its elevation on a delightful autumn day, the view therefrom was picturesque and restful to a degree.
The asylum estate at Rauceby is situated an near the centre of Kesteven as is practicable, covers 115 acres, is 100 feet above sea level, is about two miles from Sleaford, is surrounded by hill and woodland, adjoins the G.N.B. station at Rauceby, and is probably the most "up-to-date" institution of the kind In Great Britain. The main building covers 7¼ acres, and is a considerable distance from the highway. There is one entrance near this railway station, and another near Greyless Crossing, on the main road from Sleaford to Grantham. At the Greyless Crossing entrance to the grounds are a gate lodge, a pair of cottages for attendants, and a pair for staff, and at the station entrance a gate lodge, all pleasantly situated and facing the highway. The medical superintendent's house is to the southcast of the main building, wholly detached, standing on an excellent site, and is splendidly equipped. The chapel, which is nearing completion, is opposite the entrance to the main building; the isolation hospital faces the road near the station lodge gate, and in due course a bailiff's cottage farm and buildings will be erected near Broadwater spinney, some little distance south of the hospital. The whole, which when occupied will constitute a considerable colony, are being constructed by Messrs. Kirk Knight & Co., the famous Sleaford contractors, will acccodate some 500 patients, and from first to last the cost will not be less than £166,000. Probably few such contracts have been completed so rapidly or so satisfactorily. It is two years last August since Messrs. Kirk Knight and Co. commenced the superstructure, and they have every confidence the builIng will be ready for occupation next February, according to the terms of their contract - equipped with all the latest machinery, illuminated by the electric light, and arranged and decorated on a system which will furnish the maximum of brightness and comfort to the distressed inmates.
To go further into detail, it is interesting to note that, in the main building, the patients' blocks are arranged for the brightest and most sunny aspects, and face respectively south, south-east, and south-west, the males on the east side, and the females on the west side. In the centre and facing south, between the patients' blocks, are the quarters for the head nurse and housekeeper near the female patients, and the assistant medical officer's quarters near the male patients. These contain dining, sitting, bed and bath rooms, &c. The administrative part is between these blocks on the south, and the front entrance on the north. On the east of this block, are the attendants' quarters looking-into a large court, and on the west are the quarters for the nurses, with a large court also in front. On the north of these courts are the laundry block and the drying ground, and tho workshops' block. Near the latter is the general mortuary. The materials generally used are - for the entrance, Leicestershire red pressed bricks and Ancaster stone dressing, the roof being in Vermont green slating, the rest of the facing of the main building being red wire cuts from Leicestershire and Darley Dale stone dressings, the roof being slated throughout. The patients are in four divisions on either side, viz. :- Sick and infirm, two floors; epileptics, with chronics over; recent and acute, two floors; and working patients, two floors. Each block has two entrances from the main corridors, and contains day rooms, with bays, dormitories, smaller corridors, off which are attendants' rooms, ward sculleries, single rooms, stores, lavatories, boot rooms, and annexes. These blocks have fireproof floors and ceilings throughout, furnished by Messrs. Stuart's Granolithic Co. The day rooms are very spacious, and have pitch pine panelled dadoes, screens, doors, floors, and general finishes. The dormitories have finishings, &c., also in pitch pine, but no dado. The ward sculleries are lined with glazed bricks, as are also the boot rooms, lavatories, and annexes. The lavatories have ranges of basins, supplied by Messrs. Doulton & Co, Lambeth. The boot rooms are fitted with racks for boots and slippers. The annexe or sanitary spur, which stands off the main block, is connected by a short corridor, with cross ventilation, and has the following on two floors :- W.c's. and fittings, baths, lavatory, &c, the baths and lavatories being supplied also by Doulton & Co. The main corridors connecting the various blocks are 9ft. wide, and paved with wood blocks, and have a dado on either side of golden brown glazed brick. The administrative block consists of recreation hall and stage with the dressing rooms, &c., off. The walls of this building, are panelled, &c., in pitch pine and have stained glass windows, and it constitutes a splendedly fitted theatre, capable of holding 700 people, and fitted with permanent stage, foot-lights, &c.
The kitchen and scullery walls are dadoed in glazed brick, and well lighted by window and roof laterns, the fittings, &c., supplied by May & Co., London. The steward's store at the north end of this block has large basement, general store on ground floor, with serving lobbies and gallery, and also office fittings generally. The nurses' and attendants' quarters consisting of a visiting room on each side (male and female), mess-rooms, day rooms, sculleries, officers' mess-rooms, head attendants' rooms, bedrooms, baths, and lavatories. The laundry block contains general laundry, with washing, ironing, sorting, receiving, delivery, drying, &c., of the most modern and effective, the fittings, &c., being by Summerscales & Sons, Keighley. A large drying ground with paved causeway is in proximity to these buildings. The entrance block has vestibule and hall with mosaic floor and tiled dado. In this block are the waiting rooms, porter's, clerk's, and committee rooms, superintendent's office, pathological room, assistant medicat officer's office, dispensary, steward's office, lavatories and w.c.'s, photo room, dark room, &c., and on the first floor are billiard room, committee's dining room, library and chaplain's room, steward's sitting bedrooms, &c. The committee's room and dining rooms have also pitch pine panelled dado. There is also a general bath house on each side, lighted by roof lantern, With glazed brick walls, and special cement floor. Off this is the dressing-room, with wood block floor, and wood dado and seats. A lavatory, &c., adjoins. The workshops' block contains plumbers', carpenter's, upholsterers', tailors', cobblers' shops, store room, lavatory, boots, bricklayer's shed, artisans' mess, pump house, &c., and large materials' yard. The tower, about 100ft. high, contains two large tanks of 13,600 gallons capacity, for supplying the whole institution with water from three bore holes, where can be obtained an unlimited supply of pure water, which will be softened by a patent process. There are also two store rooms and battery room beneath. The chimney shaft is built with the tower. There are also engine house and dynamo room, pump room, smithy, engineers' shop, boiler house, hot well, well house, coal shed, &c. The boiler house contains two large Lancashire boilers, 7ft. diameter and 28ft. long, space being left for an additional one. Next to the boiler house is the bakery, on the most modern principles, with flour store over, stokery and oven by Werner & Perkins, London, and bread room, and scullery.
There is a capacious subway under most of the main corridors, in which are placed cylinders, condensers, piping, hot and cold mains connecting the various blocks, all off which are easily accessible. The heating and ventilation are carried out by Messrs. Korting Bros., London; the electric lighting by Messrs. Cox & Walker, Darlington; the telephones and bells, by Messrs. Gent & Co., Leicester; the fire appliances, by Messrs. Merryweather & Co., London, and Messrs. Simpson & Co., London; the fireproof plaster partitions in the nurses' quarters, by the Mural Decorations Syndicate, London; and the roof lanterns, &c., by Messrs. Mellows & Co., Sheffield. Fire mains and water supply are laid to the superintendent's house and hospital. The chapel is built of red brick, with Ancasher stone dressings and covered with Vermont slating. There are chancel, organ chamber and vestry, nave and aisles, north and south transepts, and two epileptic rooms at the west end. The medical superintendent's house is, as already stated, detached from the asylum, the south and east 'fronts looking towards Silk Willougliby and Quarrington, the north front towards the main road from Sleaford to Grantham, and Rauceby beyond. The building is in red brick, with Ancaster stone dressings and Broseley tiled roof. It will possess every convenience, even to the electric light, greenhouse, stables, carriage house, &c.
The grounds, which are capacious and delightfully situated, will include kitchen garden, orchard, airing courts, recreation grounds, and will be laid cut under the direction of Mr. W. Goldring, of London. Several shrubs and trees have already been planted. The architect for the Asylum, &c., is G. T. Hine, Esq., F.R.I.B.A., of London; and the contractors for the superstructure are Messrs. Kirk Knight & Co., of Sleaford, who are no strangers to large and important contracts, and enjoy a deservedly high reputation.
Suffice it to say that the workmanship and material throughout are of the best; that an inspection of the buildings is an object lesson in the effort to guarantee the most humane and helpful conditions for present day lunatics; and that, costly though it has been, Kesteven generally, and Sleaford in particular, will not be likely to have much cause to regret the resolution of the County Council to erect and control its own Asylum.
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