Cork Hospitals and Asylums

The Foundling Hospital, in Leitrim-street, was opened in 1747 It is governed by an incorporated board, consisting of the diocesan, the mayor, recorder, aldermen, sheriffs, common-councilmen and common-speaker, with 26 of the commonalty, elected by the D'Oyer Hundred, and is maintained by a local tax on coal and culm, weigh-house fines, carriage licenses and penalties on car drivers, amounting to about £5500 annually. The infants, received periodically from the churchwardens, are placed out at nurse till they are six or seven years old, when they become inmates until of an age to be apprenticed. The average number of the former class is 1000 and of the latter 400. They are educated as Protestants and bound to Protestant masters. Good conduct during apprenticeship is rewarded by a gratuity of three guineas. The building is a small quadrangle, of which the chapel forms one side; the other three are appropriated to school-rooms (two for the boys and two for the girls), dormitories, and other necessary apartments. A resident chaplain superintends the details of the institution.

The North Infirmary, adjoining the churchyard of St. Anne's, Shandon, was formed in 1744 by the members of a musical society, who appropriated their surplus funds for its support, and by individual subscriptions, and was established by an act passed in 1752; it is supported by a Grand Jury presentment of £250, a grant of £50 from Government, and voluntary subscriptions, all which together, with funded property arising from bequests, amounts to about £500 per annum. In 1829 Mr. Sampayo, a native of the city, but resident in London, contributed £1000 for the enlargement of the hospital accommodation, which having been increased by a bequest of £500 from Mr. Rochford and by other subscriptions, amounting in all to £3200, the trustees determined to erect a new building capable of containing 100 beds, on the ground belonging to the old infirmary.

The building, erected by Mr. Hill, a resident architect, consists of a plain structure, of three stories, forming three sides of a quadrangle, 100 feet in front, with lateral returns of 75 feet each. The ground floor is appropriated to the dispensary department and to accommodation for officers; the two upper stories are laid out in wards. The expense of its erection was £3760.13.6. Its affairs are conducted by a board of trustees partly official and partly elected annually. The number of patients during 1835 was, interns, cured 227, relieved 30, died 8, remaining at the close of the year 30; total, 295 externs, cured or relieved, 14,606; general total, 14,901. The income for the same year was £1703.12.2., and the expenditure, £1559.4.6., from which latter item is to be deducted £800 paid to the architect on account of the building, leaving £759.4.6. for the current annual expenses of the institution. The South Infirmary was established under the 11th and 12th of George III., and is supported by a similar presentment of £250 late currency from the Grand Jury, an annual grant of £50 by the Government, and subscriptions amounting to about £200 per annum.

The building contains about 32 beds, and is well adapted to its purpose; the wards are large and well ventilated. The number admitted in 1835 was 381, of whom 243 were discharged cured, 76 relieved, 25 died, 6 absconded, and 30 remained on Jan. 1st, 1836; during the same year, 14,354 externs were cured or relieved. An attempt was some time since made by the trustees to unite these infirmaries and constitute them a general hospital both for the county and the county of the city of Cork, and to erect a large building sufficient for the purpose; this arrangement being subsequently limited to the union of the infirmaries only, an act was procured in the 2nd and 3rd of William IV., but from some difficulty which arose the design was ultimately abandoned.

The Fever Hospital and House of Recovery, established in 1802, and supported by annual subscriptions and Grand Jury presentments, is situated in an airy part of the north suburbs; and from its opening to the 31st of Oct., 1836, not less than 51,085 patients have been admitted. In 1816 a detached building, capable of containing 80 beds, was added to it, into which, during the prevalence of cholera, 775 patients of that class were admitted. The building is spacious, well arranged, and thoroughly ventilated, and contains 200 beds: the total expenditure for the year 1835 amounted to £1295. 17. 10. The Lying-in Hospital, on the Mardyke parade, was established in 1798, and is supported by subscription under the superintendence of a committee of ladies; it contains 12 beds, and, in 1835, 368 poor women participated in the benefits of the establishment. The Cork Midwifery Dispensary and Institution for Diseases of Women and Children was opened in Brown-street in 1834, and is supported by subscription.

The Cork General Dispensary, Humane Society, and Cow-pock Institution was established in 1787, and is supported by Grand Jury presentments, donations, and subscriptions: in the year ending April 1st, 1836, not less than 11,198 patients received medical and surgical relief from this establishment, of whom 5066 were relieved in their own dwellings. The Lunatic Asylum for the county and city is situated on the Blackrock road, and is connected with the House of Industry adjoining, and under the direction of the same board of governors; the house, though spacious, is not adapted for complete classification; a considerable piece of ground in front enclosed with a high wall is used as a place of recreation for the patients, and is cultivated by them; the number in 1836 was 370, which is 70 more than can be properly accommodated; the institution is supported by presentments on the county and county of the city, apportioned by sharing equally certain fixed expenses, and by contributing to the maintenance of the inmates according to the number sent from each: the annual average expenditure amounts to £4000.

The asylum is under the medical superintendence of Dr. Osburne, and of a moral governor, the former of whom has a private establishment at Lindville for the reception of insane patients, beautifully situated on a limestone rock gently sloping to the river, of which it commands a pleasing view; and attached to it is an enclosed demesne of 14 acres, affording extensive walks and ample means of recreation to the patients under his care. The House of Industry is an extensive building, affording accommodation to 1200 inmates, who are always under its roof, and of whom two-thirds are women; these are employed in household work, washing, spinning, plain work, weaving, and platting straw; and the males in picking oakum, weaving, quarrying and breaking stones for the roads, and in cleaning the streets. The establishment contains two medical and surgical hospitals, in which are 150 beds; and there are three schools for boys and girls, each under a separate teacher. It is supported by Grand Jury presentments, the labour of the inmates, collections at charity sermons, and by subscriptions and donations; and is conducted with the greatest regard to the comfort and moral improvement of the inmates.

The Magdalene Asylum, in Peacock-lane, was founded in 1809 by Nicholas Therry, Esq., for the protection and reformation of penitent females of dissolute habits, who now contribute to their own maintenance by honest industry. The County and City of Cork Refuge, in Deane-street, instituted in 18-25 for destitute females, and more especially for female liberated prisoners, is supported by subscription; there are at present 30 inmates in this institution. There are various almshouses, principally of parochial character, among which the chief are the corporation almshouses, and those of the parishes of St. Finbarr, St. Nicholas, Christ-Church, and St. Peter and St. Paul; the almshouses in connection with the South Presentation convent, founded by Miss Nagle for aged women; and St. John's Asylum, in Douglas-street, for aged men, the two latter of Roman Catholic origin. Capt. Bretridge, in 1683, devised the lands of East Drumcummer to the corporation for ever, in trust for the payment of 10s. 6d. weekly to seven poor old Protestant men that had been soldiers, the surplus to be applied in apprenticing the children of poor soldiers of the Protestant religion in the city and liberties, or in default of such, the children of other poor Protestant parents; the present income is £258 per annum.

In 1584, Stephen Skiddy bequeathed to the mayor and aldermen £24 per annum, to be paid by the Vintners' Company of London, and to be distributed among ten poor, honest, and aged persons of the city. Almshouses were built for each of these charities, and in 1718 a new house was erected for both near the Green Coat Hospital, at an expense of £1150, arising from the sale of the former site; the piazzas were subsequently added at the expense of some benevolent individuals: the annual income of Skiddy's charity, arising from the original bequest and the rents of certain premises granted by the corporation in 1702, is now £235. 18., and is expended in the support of 41 aged widows and five aged men, who have apartments in the almshouse. Mr. William Masterson bequeathed £30 per annum to the poor of the parish of St. Mary, of which sum, £16 is distributed in sums of £2 to poor Protestant tradesmen, £10 is given as marriage portions to two Protestant female servants married to Protestant tradesmen, and the remaining £4 to the Green Coat Hospital.

In 1832, W. Lapp, Esq., bequeathed £30,000 for the support of poor old Protestants in the city; but the will not being properly attested to pass freehold estates, the heir resists payment; it, is, however, thought that the personal property will be sufficient to pay nearly the whole of the bequest. There are various societies for the diffusion of religious knowledge. The charitable loan fund originated in the establishment of a society for the relief of poor confined debtors by Henry Shears, in 1774; by a deed dated March 30th, 1785, trustees were empowered by the Musical Society of Dublin to lend money, at first free of interest, to industrious tradesmen in sums from £2 to £5, but subsequently with a charge of 1s. interest on each loan of £3 under the authority of the act of the 4th of George IV. cap. 32. The funds are now entirely appropriated to the purposes of the loan society, and are lent in sums of £3, the borrower giving security for repayment by weekly instalments of 2s. 6d.: the number of families repaying the loan in 1834 was 1150.

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