Bedlam or Bethlehem Hospital, Moorfields.
(Guildhall Library)


Image

M.I.Batten, 'The Architecture of Dr. Robert Hooke F.R.S.'. Walpole Society (London) 25, 91-3 (1936 - 7).

According to an inscription which was put up in the entrance hall Bethlehem Hospital was

built in fifteen months between April 1675 and July 1676. 1 This statement would not appear to agree with the fact that the entries in Hooke's Diary spread over four years, but actually a good deal of preliminary work took place before building started, arid various odd jobs, including apparently the building of the Chapel, continued after the King had opened the Hospital in August 1676. There are nearly a hundred entries in the Diary relating to Bedlam, a selection of which are given here. 1 Given in J. Stow's Survey of London, ed. Strype, 1720, vol. 1, Book I, p.192.
1674

April 14th. With Dr. Allen at Bedlam, Viewed Morefields for new Bedlam. Drew up report for him. At Sir W. Turner. Undertook new Designe of it. June 2nd. View in moorfields with Committee at hospitall. July 10th. At Davys about Bedlam module. July 11th. At Bridewell agreed the module for Bedlam. September 28th. Set out Morefield for Bethlehem wih Sir W. Turner, Sir. Th. Player etc. November 13th. Desgnd module of Bedlam.

1675 January 6th. With Sir Th. Player and the Treasurer 2 about morefields walk and semicircle 3.  Sir T. Player ordered me to agree about Levelling the walk and Re-mounting the trees.  March 2nd. Fitch began the planking etc. - of the foundation. April 9th. At the Bedlam Committee who after some bickering left the matter of the stairs to me. June 9th. At Bedlam agreed about the sewer, the window under gallery, oak doorcases, etc. July 1st. With Committee we agreed about slating. July 19th. Committee at Bedlam ordered all stone front. A great Huff with treasurer and Chase. August 4th. At Bedlam, Agreed whole Roof. 2 Treasurer Ducane

3 Forecourt: see illustration.

September 7th. At Treasurer Ducanes Comtee. They agreed Lucarnes 4 12 Carved Cantilevers, Lanthornes etc. flats. September 24th. Drew turret for Bethlem. Treated with Bates and Audley for 3 turrets for £90. September 28th. To Cartwright saw his Statues for Bedlam Gates. October 19th. To new Bedlam chimney all awray. October 20th. agreed with glasiers for small quarrys at 4d 3 farthings per foot, for Squares 5½ d the Lead to be 12 inches to an ounce and the glass every thick. December 16th. Shewd Battes about Bedlam shutters and Hayward about Roof. 4 It is interesting to note that Hooke throughout calls dormer window by the French name of Lucarnes.
1676 April 12th. Agreed with John Hayward for £440 for Roof Lanthorn, bracketting etc. April 26th. At Bedlam committee, turret lanthorn put up. concluded. July 1st. With Sir Ch. Wren at Bedlam. Advised the widening the walk to the middle of Morefields. August 28th. I forgot to write this and the following weeks till September 9th. . . King at Bedlam on Tuesday 29th of August, Committee at
Bedlam the day before.5 October 6th. At Bedlam with the Treasurer valuing carpenters bills. October 28th. Severall committees at Bedlam about auditing bills where things went according to my prices. December 31st. Due from Hospital for Bedlam building and Surveying £200. 5 The Rev. E.G.O'Donoghue in The Story of Bethlehem Hospital, 1914, p.213, suggests that the staff and patients moved in during the last week in July as the first burial from the new building is recorded on August 2nd.
1677 January 18th. To Sir Wm. Turner about Spittle and Bedlam. He spake fair. I promisd Stevenson should paint Bedlam and Loggan grave it.
1678 January 8th. Received letter from Chase about Bedlam chappell. January 9th. With Chase and Knowles at Bridewell about chappell. Drew Designe for chappell.

An interesting point that emerges from the Diary is Hooke's visit to Cartwright in September 1675 (see above) about the statues for the Bedlam gates. The famous statues

of the Madnesses 6 have always been attributed to Caius Gabriel Cibber, but curiously enough Hooke makes no reference to Cibber in connection with Bedlam nor does

6 Now in the Victoria and Albert Museum

Cibber's name occur in the Court books.7 Pope, in the Dunciad, referring to Colley Cibber, Caius Gabriel's son, mentions the Madnesses ‘by his fam'd father's hand'.8 On the outer piers of the gates stood a lion and a unicorn.

 

7 See The Rev E.G.O'Donoghue, op.cit., p.205.

8 Alexander Pope, Works, 1751, v.73, Dunciad, Book I.

In 1800 the building was reported to be insecure and the new hospital was built in Southwark in 1812-15.

 

llustrations and References.

Aubrey states that Hooke built Bedlam, and Strype gives an account of the hospital. Old engravings are frequent and occur in Strype, Pennant, and Maitland's History of London. Evelyn describes it as ‘magnificently built, and most sweetly placed in Moorfields’.

In British Museum Add. MSS. 5238 is a preliminary colour wash drawing of one of the end pavilions of Bedlam which has been reproduced in the Hooke Diary. In this there is also a reproduction of an engraving of the whole facade of the Hospital from the Soane Museum.

 

Craftsmen.

Mason: Robert Smith(?) Bricklayers: Fitch and Lem. Carpenters: Bates, Hayward, Audley, Knowles, Jarmin(?) Joiner: Davies. Smiths: Bird, Lever. Carver: Cartwright. Glasier; Jarmin(?)

Scarborough also plays an important part as he does in many of Hooke's buildings.9 9 Scarborough is mentioned in connection with ten of the City Churches (Wren Soc. vol.x), as measuring surveyor at St. Paul's from 1687 (Wren Soc. vol. xiv), in the same capacity at Hampton Court from 1689 (Wren Soc. vol.v), and as clerk of the works at Greenwich from May 1696. By November 1696 he was dead. (Wren Soc. vol vi).

Batten introduction   Architecture introduction   Site contents  Home Page

email: webmaster