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Somerset Historic Environment Record

15361

Site Name: Second World War military hospital, Sandhill Park
Civil Parish: Bishop's Lydeard
Part of:
PRN 43372Sandhill Park, Ash Priors
Comprises:
PRN 32127Collar factory, Sandhill Park
Grid Ref: ST 159 299 (ST 12 NE)
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Public access:

The public accessibility of this site is unknown or has not been checked. Please ask locally and do not visit without permission. [Information last updated on 21 May 2003]

Details:

Sandhill Park (PRN 43372) was requisitioned by the military in August 1940 and became the 41st General Military Hospital. Most of the accommodation was in tents and huts. From 1941 the hospital was leased to the Americans as a neurological hospital for over 1000 patients in 32 new wards which were completed in 1942. The hospital remained in military use until 1944. {1}

The tender documents for the hospital are preserved in the Public Record Office.

Referred to as BCC Hospitals, Sandhill Park, Taunton. Bid accepted from Holloway Bros. Site had been requisitioned by the War Office and "W.B.A. was granted on the 6.7.42."

Tender documents. Contract.

Also refers to site as Taunton No. 2.

Variations to contract.

"Bills of Quantities for Extension to Existing Hospital at Sandhill Park, Bishops Lydeard, near Taunton for the Ministry of Works and Buildings" WT Fraser, Architect MW&B. June 1942.

Signed tender document by Holloways.

General specifications (Bill No. 1) then details -

Bill No. 4 Administrative Staff Quarters.

Bill No. 5 Administration Block.

Bill No. 6 Administration, Reception Chapel, Recreation, Club, Decontamination, Post Exchange and Barbers Shop.

Bill No. 7 Officers Dining and Recreation Rooms, nurses dining rooms, sergeants and E.M. dining and recreation rooms and patients dining rooms.

Bill No. 12 Disinfector.

Bill No 13 garage and mortuary.

Bill No 16 Drainage, water mains etc. (includes 6 P.A.D. tanks. Reinforced concrete each of 25,000 gallons. "Sewage disposal plant etc. Provide the P.C. sum of 6000 for Sewage Disposal Plant and all works in connection").

Bill No. 17 Site works, covered ways etc.

Bill No. 18 Attendance on engineering services etc.

Bill No. 19 Erection of employees living huts etc. (Supplied by the Commissioners).

Bill No. 20 Labour and materials in daywork in extra works.

Final page signed by tenderer with summary. Other Bills not in the above list (and crossed through in red in this list) are give as (and unit numbers for those above).

Bill No. 2 Ward blocks (28 units),

Bill No. 3 Staff Sleeping Quarters (11)

4 (2)

5 (2)

6 (2)

7 (4)

Bill No. 8 Staff dining and sitting rooms (5),

Bill No. 9 Operating theatre,

Bill No. 10 Dispensary and physiotherapy blocks (5),

Bill No. 11 Kitchen. (2)

12 (2)

13 (2)

Bill No. 14 Stores (5).

Bill No. 15 Handicraft and games.

16-19 (together 20 units). {2}

Buildings and structures associated with the use of Sandhill (PRN 43372) during World War Two are still visible on 1947 air photographs, comprising for the most part rows and other arrangements of huts (generally Nissenhuts or similar). However, it is clear from the photographs that some parts of the site had already been cleared, although many buildings survived to be featured on the 1969 Ordnance Survey 1:10560 map. Nothing of an obviously military nature is visible. Sandhill Park itself was requisitioned by the military in August 1940 and from 1941 was leased to the US as a neurological hospital, catering for up to 1000 patients, with 32 new wards set up by 1942. Military use ended in 1944. In 1948, the hospital reopened under the National Health Service, with further buildings being constructed. The hospital site was sold in 1991 and housing now occupies part of the area. Prior to the Second World War, Sandhill Park had also seen use as a hospital from 1929 (when it was bought by Somerset County Council), something that also resulted inthe construction of additional buildings. During the First World War, Sandhill Park House itself had been used to house prisoners of war, primarily German and Austrian officers. It is not clear if this resulted in any alteration to or building in the park itself or whether it solely affected the house. {3}

The Medical History of the Second World War gives further information. From the outbreak of the Second World War until April 1942, the majority of military psychoneurotic patients were treated in civilian Emergency Medical Services neurosis centres. In Jan 1940 the 41 General Hospital was mobilised and was set up in Sussex but moved in Oct 40 to Bishops Lydeard as a 300 bed military psychiatric hospital for psychoneurotics. It was known as 'Military Hospital Bishops Lydeard' and was largely used for 'training purposes'. (In this context 'training purposes' refers to soldiers who had received active psychiatric treatment and who were given modified military training while convalescing under medical supervision with a view to them returning to military service in some capacity). In Dec 1941, 41 General Hospital was moved to the Middle East but a 300 bed military psychiatric hospital continued to function at Bishops Lydeard until April 1942, when the Hollymoor Civil Mental Hospital in Birmingham was completely taken over by the Army and became the Northfield Military Hospital. The Military Hospital Bishops Lydeard was then closed. {4}

References:

1 Description - Hinton, DJ. An Illustrated Social History of Bishop's Lydeard and Cothelstone.  (1999), 44-45.
2 Historical reference - Sandhills Park Emergency Hospital (Taunton).  Available at The National Archives. Reference: WORK 12 (123)
3 Data transfer - National Monuments Record (English Heritage). Record ID: ST 12 NE 93 (3/9/2002)
4 Correspondence - Hunt, D (David), email to Somerset County Council Historic Environment Record (4/2/2014). Location: Verbal, electronic or direct entry, no source retained
5 Description - Crew, FAE (ed). History of the Second World War: The Army Medical Services. Administration: Volume 2.  (1955)

Record created on 28 February 2002

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