The sickbay and dispensary aboard HMS 'San Domingo'
From a watch and quarter bill belonging to Captain S.J. Pechell.
Properly equipped and ventilated sickbays in large British warships were established largely through the efforts of Lord St Vincent (1753-1823), who was responsible for many reforms which improved the health of the Navy.
The sick berth was originally situated near the galley fire, as it was assumed that smoke killed germs. As the lessons of cleanliness and fresh air were slowly learnt, sickbays were situated on the upper deck of the forecastle, with windows and skylights. From 1800 onwards all ships began to be fitted with sickbays to a design by Captain Markham of HMS 'Centaur'.
- Image reference: C8423
- National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
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