6. Banqueting Room (East Side) [WW1]

Historic Image: Empty ward

Banqueting Room as hospital ward, 1916.


Character Voice (Sussex schoolgirl)

‘July 31st, 1917. Dear Wounded Soldiers, Together with the help of some of the present and past girls of Lewes Road Girls’ School, I have managed to get up a concert. It was a great success. With the money obtained from the concert, we have bought some eggs for you. Eggs being quite a luxury now, we thought that you would enjoy them more than anything else.

Yours sincerely, EMILY CORNFORD’

This letter from a local schoolgirl appeared in the hospital magazine, Pavilion Blues, in September 1917. It shows the concern the people of Brighton felt for patients at the hospital, but also how scarce basic foodstuffs were. A year earlier, there had been so many complaints about the food that the Secretary of State for War, David Lloyd George, was asked in Parliament: “if he was aware that dissatisfaction exists among the wounded soldiers of Brighton as to the quality of the food supplied, and the method of serving it.” Lloyd George replied that an inquiry had been launched.

For the Indian Hospital, it was also important to satisfy the strict dietary requirements of patients from different religions and castes. Kevin Bacon:

Kevin Bacon

‘New water supplies were put in so that separate taps could be supplied for Hindus and Muslims, even though the wards themselves were actually mixed. Nine separate kitchens were set up in the grounds of the building so that food could be cooked for the men by their co-religionists and for Hindus, fellow caste members. There was a Pavilion dairy which supplied milk for the hospital and it would arrive in churns marked in Urdu or Hindi, whether they were for Muslims or Hindus or Sikhs.’

There was even an enterprising local butcher who converted his backyard into a slaughterhouse that could accommodate the different slaughter methods preferred by Muslims and Sikhs.

Historic Image: Slaughterhouse

Slaughterhouse in backyard of Mr Tate’s butcher’s shop, 1915.