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The word hospital comes from the Latin for "stranger" and this gives a clue to the origins of the buildings we today call hospitals. In the medieval period many hospitals provided temporary accommodation for pilgrims, others operated a schools and many were dwellings for the poor of the locality - what came to be called almshouses in the UK. A similar, though older building - Browne's Hospital - can be seen in Stamford, Lincolnshire.
Today's photograph shows some almshouses in Sleaford Lincolnshire. They were built under the name Carre's Hospital by the Carre family on land that had previously had almshouses and subsequently the principal home of this well-to-do family. It was constructed by the architect, H. E. Kendall in the 1830s and 1840s, and comprises two adjoining ranges on two sides of a rectangle. The nine bay east range was built in 1830 and the seven bay south range (that includes a chapel with a large window and bellcote) in 1841-6. It originally provided homes for twelve "poor men" though in 1872 this was increased to eighteen. Each resident received the sum of 10 shillings per week, 1.5 tons of coal per year, and a blue cloak.
The building still provides homes for the elderly who continue to enjoy the shared garden. Today, however, it is somewhat spoiled by the busy traffic that uses the corner site near St Denys on which it is built. The almshouses are quite prominent in the town and their Gothic style echoes that of the nearby church. You can see both from the staircase windows of the NCCD building.
photograph and text © Tony Boughen
Photo Title: Carre's Hospital Almshouses, Sleaford
Camera: Olympus E-M10
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 14mm (28mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f5.6
Shutter Speed: 1/400 sec
Exposure Compensation: -0.3EV