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Nightingale and hospital design

Arnott's On Warming and Ventilating

Label from the cover of Neil Arnott's On warming and ventilating : with directions for making and using the thermometer-stove, or self-regulating fire, and other new apparatus. London : Longman, Orme, Brown, Green, and Longmans, 1838 [Early Science CollectionTH7010 ARN]Label from the cover of Neil Arnott's On warming and ventilating : with directions for making and using the thermometer-stove, or self-regulating fire, and other new apparatus. London : Longman, Orme, Brown, Green, and Longmans, 1838 [Early Science CollectionTH7010 ARN]Neil Arnott was a medical man who developed a great interest in the use of rising heated air and air pumps to create the necessary air circulation necessary in institutional and other large scale settings.

Page of text from Neil Arnott's On warming and ventilating : with directions for making and using the thermometer-stove, or self-regulating fire, and other new apparatus. London : Longman, Orme, Brown, Green, and Longmans, 1838 [Early Science CollectionTH7010 ARN]Page of text from Neil Arnott's On warming and ventilating : with directions for making and using the thermometer-stove, or self-regulating fire, and other new apparatus. London : Longman, Orme, Brown, Green, and Longmans, 1838 [Early Science CollectionTH7010 ARN]This page comes from his book On Warming and Ventilating, in which he discusses the relationship of heating and the renewal of fresh air in theatres, and hospitals. The inflection of Arnott’s voice indicates concern for the sick, and his benign hopes for their comfort.

This tone differs from the earlier grim attitude of steely blame directed towards the poor in workhouses under the New Poor Law of 1834, under which Arnott had previously worked.

To Florence Nightingale, sickness elevated the patient to a position of compassion and concern, and simultaneously transfigured the nurse from drudge into a figure of great dignity.

It was the triumph of this attitude which eventually transformed the provision of health care in the UK. The little book label, however, shows his priority was heating, rather than ventilation.

To Florence Nightingale, the priority was reversed.

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