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Princess Alice Home of Recovery of Children
Retreat, Cape Town, Western Cape

Herbert John BROWNLEE: Architect



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Alt: 15m

Now called the DP Marais Hospital, it is a specialised TB state hospital.

Cumming-George 1934

THIS Institution was built some three year ago as a result of the vigorous and painstaking efforts of the Women's Hospital Auxiliary with the object of providing a Home of Recovery for Children.

The foundation stone was laid by Her Royal Highness, Princess Alice, on the 3rd June, 1930, and the building was completed and ready for occupation on the 9th January, 1933.

On the 14th February, 1933, the Institution was officially opened by Her Royal Highness, and handed over by the Women's Hospital Auxiliary to the Cape Hospital Board.

The Princess Alice Home of Recovery was designed to provide suitable treatment for disabled ... [previously segregated] ... children, and to this end a building scheme had to be prepared in right relationship to modern medical methods applicable to orthopaedic and similar ailments.

It was important that the wards and stoeps attached thereto should be correctly orientated to catch sunlight when and how required for medical purposes. Due consideration had to be given to the manifestations of the troubles to be cured, and for obvious reasons a single in preference to a double-storey structure was adopted. An abundance of fresh air in every part of the Home was imperative.

The site being practically level, and an extensive area being available, a pavilion type of plan was evolved with provision for future extensions.

There is accommodation for the Matron and Medical Superintendent. A Treatment Room has been provided for the manipulation of cases involving the uses of plaster and other medical aids.

The general finish of the Home is simple, and the design of a character calculated to suit South African conditions.

The wards are enclosed for protection against the elements but are capable of being thrown open at any time and flooded with sunshine and fresh air. The stoeps are wide and provided with ramps for trolleys to run down to the garden pathways below.

The bathrooms are fitted up on modern lines with slab baths and special conveniences for the bathing of disabled children.

The building is warmed and kept at a suitable temperature by means of panel and tubular heating, electrically controlled.

Combustion boilers coupled with electrical installations provide the necessary hot water.

The kitchen and appurtenant offices are planned in a central position convenient to the wards, Nurses' Home and administration block, and the whole scheme is arranged to facilitate ease of working and supervision.

The wards, administration block, nurses' home, and servants' quarters are designed so that the present accommodation may be increased without interfering with the working of the present establishment, while the kitchen has been made large enough to cope with the requirements of the Institution when fully extended. Since the erection of the building, the Cape Hospital Board has gone to considerable trouble in laying out the grounds in lawns and gardens, all tending to materially improve the general appearance of the Institution, and provide a pleasant outlook for the inmates.

Writings about this entry

Cumming-George, L. 1934. Architecture in South Africa - Volume Two. Cape Town: The Speciality Press of S.A. Ltd.. pg 72-73