Keeping an eye on the ear infirmary

The Eye & Ear Infirmary  when in Pembroke Road, Old Portsmouth. Trafalgar House, where Nelson met his sister for the last time and which later became a nurses' home, is on the extreme left.
The Eye & Ear Infirmary when in Pembroke Road, Old Portsmouth. Trafalgar House, where Nelson met his sister for the last time and which later became a nurses' home, is on the extreme left.
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It is quite amazing to think that Portsmouth once had four different hospitals.

We had the two main hospitals – the Royal in Commercial Road and St Mary’s at Milton Road, Milton.

Across the road from St Mary’s was the Infectious Diseases Hospital, later called Priorsdean, and there was also the Eye & Ear Infirmary at Pembroke Road which later moved to Grove Road North, Southsea.

In addition, of course, was Queen Alexandra Hospital at Cosham.

There were also many nursing homes such as the Eddystone Maternity Nursing Home at 3, Nettlecombe Avenue, Southsea, and the Fairthorne Nursing Home (maternity a speciality) at 3, Derby Road, North End.

So, the people of Portsmouth were well looked after and I am sure there would not have been three or four-hour waiting times for patients.

The Portsmouth & South Hants Eye & Ear Infirmary at Pembroke Road, was on the corner with Clarence View, now Pembroke Close.

Next door, and later taken over to be used as a nurses’ home, was Trafalgar House.

This was where Horatio Nelson met his sister before he departed for Trafalgar.

An Eye & Ear Infirmary opened in December 1821 but was not long in existence before the Pembroke Road establishment opened in 1884. This was thanks to much work by the Clerk of the Peace RW Ford, whose son Vernon became and continued to be for many years one of its leading surgeons.

In 1916 the whole of King William Place had been bought for an extension to the infirmary, which in 1927 had 47 beds and had administered to 22,000 patients.

The Second World War brought destruction as the building was bombed four times and Trafalgar House was destroyed.

Patients were moved to Wenham Holt, London Road, Liss.

Later the Pembroke Road building was virtually demolished by a direct hit and premises were found in Kent Road, Southsea, but these were also damaged by the Luftwaffe.

It then moved to new premises at the Convent of the Holy Cross at Grove Road, Southsea.