In November 1903 King Edward VII laid the foundation stone for the Midhurst Sanatorium, later the King Edward VII Hospital. It was reported in newspapers all over the country. The following quote is from the Dorking and Leatherhead Advertiser, from Saturday 7th November 1903.
At Lord’s Common, near Midhurst, on Tuesday, the King laid the foundation stone of his Sanatorium for Tuberculosis. His Majesty travelled from Waterloo Station to Haslemere by the London and South-Western Railway, and drove from Haslemere to Lord’s Common, where a large company had assembled. Lord Suffield and Lieut.-Col. the Hon. H. C. Legge were in attendance.
At Haslemere Station, where a guard of honour was furnished by the 2nd V.B. of the Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment, under the command of Captain the Hon. Arthur Brodrick, the King was received by Viscount Midleton. the Lord Lieutenant of Surrey, Mr. Walpole Greenwell, the Sheriff, Mr. Charles Wigan, the Under-Sheriff, and Sir William Broadbent, who is chairman of his Majesty’s advisory committee.
The preparations at Lord’s Common were of an elaborate character. A pavilion, consisting of a set of waiting rooms, had been erected by the side of the new road, which has been driven through the pine woods to the site of the sanatorium. The King was received at the pavilion by the Marquis of Abergavenny, Lord Lieutenant of Sussex, Mr. Edwin Henty, the Sheriff, Mr. Walter Bartlett, the Under-Sheriff, Earl Winterton, chairman of the West Sussex County Council, Major-General Sir Leslie Rundle, commanding the South-Eastern District, and the rest of the advisory committee – namely, Sir R. Douglas Powell, Sir Francis Laking, Sir Felix Semon, Sir Hermann Weber, Dr Theodore Williams, Lord Sandhurst, Lieut.-Colonel Lascelles, Sir Frederick Treves, Dr. Horton Smith, and Dr. F. H. Broadbent.
A guard of honour was furnished outside by the Sussex Yeomanry, and inside the 2nd V.B. Royal Sussex Regiment, under the command of Captain Homfray. Sir William Broadbent read an address from the advisory committee. In reply, the King said that when a generous donor, whom he regretted he was not allowed publicly to thank, placed at his disposal large sum of money for any philanthropic object he might have in view, he at once decided devote it to the erection of an open-air sanatorium for those suffering from pulmonary diseases. He noted with satisfaction that the site secured by the committee fulfilled all the essential requirements, and expressed regret that the Queen, who was deeply interested in the fight against tuberculosis, was unable to be present. The King then laid the foundation-stone with the usual formalities, and afterwards inspected the plans and drawing of the sanatorium. His Majesty returned to London in the afternoon.
The santorium will stand at the elevation of nearly 500 ft., and will command a view over the valley of the Rother to the South Downs. It will be sheltered from the north and east by a gradual rise of the ground to a height of 630 ft., and by beautiful pine woods, which will be laid out in walks suitable for the graduated exercise which forms part of the treatment. The part of the building to be occupied by the patients will be a long two-story building. Each patient will have a separate room, and there will be balcony upon which the patients can sit out, or upon which the bed, in case of need, can be wheeled. For the further enjoyment of open air there will be Liegehallen and shelters in the grounds. The total number of beds will 100, and accommodation has been provided for 12 well-to-do patients, so as not to shut out entirely the more wealthy from the special advantages which is hoped will be afforded by the institution.
“Liegehallen” is German for “deck halls”. These were long halls that were open to the elements, but with protection against rain or snow, where patients could be “cured” together, basically lying in beds outside whatever the temperature. They were pioneered at a sanatorium in Falkenstein (Germany), opened in 1876.