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The Eye and Ear Infirmary

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia

The Eye and Ear Infirmary is an article published in the Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle on 30 march 1889.

Report of the Annual Meeting of the Portsmouth and South Hants Eye and Ear Infirmary held at the Guildhall, Portsmouth on 26 march 1889, attended by Arthur Conan Doyle where he spoke.

The Eye and Ear Infirmary


On Tuesday the annual meeting of the subscribers to the Portsmouth and South Hants Eye and Ear Infirmary was held in the Guildhall, High-street, Portsmouth. The Mayor (George Ellis, Esq.) presided, and there were also present General Catty, the Rev. H. M. Egan Desmond, the Rev. E. S. Phelps, Dr. A. V. Ford, Dr. Conan Doyle, Commander Bamber, Messrs. A. R. Holbrook, R. W. Ford (Chairman of Committee), H. Moody, S. R. Ellis, M. E. Gardner, J. H. Corke, J. L. Wilkinson, W. Marshall (Hon. Secretary), and A. H. Ford. — The MAYOR bore testimony to the good work the Infirmary was doing, not only in Portsmouth, but in the neighbouring districts; but regretted the smallness of the member of subscribers. There had been 21,218 cases before the medical officers, and yet from the 140,000 inhabitants of Portsmouth only £140 had been received — one sovereign from every thousand people. From the surrounding places, with the exception of Gosport and Havant, there were scarcely any subscribers at all. He thought if it were only known that the inhabitants of South Hants would be found as generous as other people in responding to the call, and attributed the present lack to want of knowledge of the good work performed by the institution.

Mr. R. W. FORD, in moving the adoption of the report, said the Institution had now been in existence some four years, and during that time there had been no fewer than 7,196 cases of eye and ear diseases treated. The attendance, five days per week, at the Hospital, had been roughly 100 per day. About one sixth of the cases mentioned had come from outside Portsmouth, leaving for Portsmouth alone 5,945 cases. No fewer than eighty different diseases of the eye alone had been treated during the year. They commenced the year with 350 cases on the books, and had 1,791 new cases brought to the Infirmary during the year for the attention of their medical officers. Out of this total 1,426 had been treated for the eye, and 365 had been ear cases. He alluded to the fact, which was remarkable, as the attention of Parliament had been called to the subject of sight in board schools, that they had 445 cases of children under ten years of age. Then they had 106 cases of people over sixty years. For the 2,142 cases which had been treated during the year, involving 21,218 attendances by the medical staff, they had only received subscriptions to the amount of £264 9s. 7d. He concluded by announcing that a lady friend had sent a letter that day enclosing a donation of £100. (Applause.) He read letters of regret for non-attendance from the Bishop of Portsmouth (Dr. Virtue), the ex-Mayor (Mr. A. Addison), and Dr. J. Ward Cousins.

Commander BAMBER, seconded the motion, which was supported by Dr. CONAN DOYLE, who bore testimony to the good work so unostentatiously performed in their little Infirmary. To the working man and the mechanic, he said, his eyes were practically his life, and the loss of his eyes a living death. He asked to be entered as an annual subscriber. (Hear, hear.) — The report was adopted.

General CATTY moved, and Mr. S. R. ELLIS seconded, a vote of thanks to the Hon. Medical Officers (Dr. J. Ward Cousins and Dr. Vernon Ford). — Mr. ELLIS suggested the advisability of getting better quarters for the Infirmary. — Dr. FORD replied, regretting the absence of Dr. Ward Cousins owing to his family loss. He thanked them, and said they were at all times anxious to give their services to the Institution. They would not be satisfied, however, until they had a new building in which to receive the people who came to seek their advice. — Mr. A. R. HOLBROOK proposed, and Mr. WILKINSON seconded, the re-election of the Committee of Management, with the addition of the name of Commander Bamber. — This was agreed to.

Mr. R. W. FORD, in moving a vote of thanks to the Hon. Secretary (Mr. Marshall), said he was the other day looking over some Hampshire Telegraphs for the year 1825, and he found that there was an eye and ear infirmary flourishing at that period in the town, and had its place of business in St. George's-square, Portsea. It was evidently at that time found a place of usefulness. — Mr. H. MOODY seconded, and the motion was carried.

On the motion of the Rev. H. M. EGAN DESMOND, seconded by Mr. A. H. FORD, a vote of thanks was accorded to the Mayor, and the proceedings terminated.