Monday, December 18, 2017

Thames (NZ): Thames Hospital Postcard post 1901

When you come by a 'new' postcard, there is always the hope that an interesting story will be revealed on the back. The picture on the 'front' is just the bonus.

This postcard is very detailed in colour, while there appears to have been the joining of two photographs given the optical bend in the footpath and fence in the lower centre of the card.


For those unfamiliar with this building, this is the 1900 hospital built facing Baillie Street. Looking from left to right, there are two ward blocks, the two storied building in the middle is the entrance and administration/communal areas. Then there are a further two wards. To the right would be the Medical Superintendent's house, then the Karaka Creek.

The postcard was addressed to Mrs A D (or G D) Bennett of 39 Hope Street, Dunedin.

The message reads: "Many thanks for letter & enclosure received yesterday.  Will send jacket later on.  All good wishes for a happy Eastertide. (Signed) N. C."

The stamp used was a halfpenny 1900 pictorial (green) of Mt Cook. Sadly the postmark can't be read to find out exactly when the card was posted.

In the 1902 Street Directory, the house at 39 Hope Street is occupied by Mr Edmund Cook, the Chief Postmaster; so sadly doesn't reveal anything on the identity of Mr or Mrs Bennett. By 1910, Mrs E Boyer resides in the house at No 39 Hope Street. So no definite identification of the Bennett's at this stage!

The remnants of this old hospital were finally demolished in 2008, to make way for the new Clinical Services Unit at Thames Hospital.

ABOVE: Left - Looking down on part of the old 1900 Baillie Street Hospital building. Right - 2008 view of the demolition of the buildings viewed from Mary Street.

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