Carl Heneghan

Let’s bring back Britain’s fever hospitals

An engraving of the New London Fever Hospital, completed in 1848 (Credit: The Wellcome Library)

Could the future of pandemic planning lie in our past? A century ago, there were hundreds of so-called ‘fever hospitals’ dotted across Britain. These small institutions were built for diseases of a bygone age – smallpox, scarlet fever and typhus – but were designed for precisely the same problems we face today. 

They contained isolation wards, separate accommodation for different infections, laboratories, operating theatres and convalescent wards with activities for recovering patients. Given

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