Sussex County Hospital, c1838

This print shows the Sussex County Hospital in Brighton. It was published in 1838, about ten years after it was first built.

Use the controls to zoom in and view details of the print. You can also download and re-use the image.

Below we’ve pointed out a few details you might want to explore.

What can we see?

Architecture

The print celebrates the work of its architect, Sir Charles Barry. He is most famous for designing the Houses of Parliament.

The building uses a style known as neo-classical architecture. This was commonly used in Britain in the late 1700s and early 1800s. It borrowed heavily from the design of buildings built in Ancient Greece and Rome, such as the Parthenon in Athens.

The triangular section at the top of the building is known as a pediment.

Detail of pediment on building

The columns at the entrance are in a style known as Doric.

Both of these features were part of what’s known as the classical order of architecture, and can be seen in many buildings that survive from Ancient Greece and Rome.

People

The print also reminds us that this is a working hospital in use by many people.

In some areas of the print, the scene almost looks well-to-do. This carriage is one of two that can be seen in the picture.

But there are reminders that this hospital was used by the sick and injured.

By the fence near the entrance, we can see a man walking with crutches. There is also a woman leaning against the fence who seems to be struggling to walk or breathe.

Note the man pulling a heavy handcart, who is clearly straining with the weight. Compare him to the horse drawn carriage just above.

It’s a reminder that although both rich and poor may have shared the hospital, social divides returned as people left the building.

Author: Kevin Bacon, Digital Manager