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image SM volume 109/58

Reference number

SM volume 109/58


[11/12] Finished design for an infirmary, together with a two large, symmetrically planned buildings on the south side (the western one possibly a Market House), and two further ancillary buildings on the north side, c.1728


Plan, at ground level


50 feet to 1 inch


In pen and brown ink by Hawksmoor with numbers on scale bar; in graphite at bottom centre in C18-19 hand, Plan of a Design for the Infirmary N. H; and in brown ink at top right in C19 hand, 58

Signed and dated

  • Undated, but datable c.1728

Medium and dimensions

Pen and brown ink with grey wash over graphite under-drawing; on laid paper with central vertical fold; 377 x 480.




Strasbourg Lily / 4 / LVG; IV


The infirmary in the centre of the plan is part of a scheme for the redevelopment of the western side of the site in five blocks. To the lower left of the infirmary is an H-shaped building with recessed porticoes on the front (east) and rear (west) sides. Behind this, to the west, is a courtyard building with columned entrances on four sides. The infirmary in the centre is a three-sided court, facing the hospital on the central axis of the West Dormitory. It has a square central atrium hall approached through a four-column portico on the east or courtyard side. To the right, or north, of the infirmary is a pair of buildings occupying roughly the same area as those on the south. A U-shaped building on the east side faces a rectangular courtyard building on the west side.

The design belongs with Hawksmoor's final proposals for the enlargement and completion of the hospital in 1728. These proposals have yet to be studied in detail. They are represented by his engraved plan of that year (Wren Society, VI, pl. 15), his drawn plan inscribed 'A Plan of the Royall Hospitall at Greenwich anno 1728' (RIBA, SA 70/5; former E5/11; Bold 2000, fig. 144), and by the plans in a volume of drawings at the National Maritime Museum with a frontispiece in Hawksmoor's hand bearing the date 1728 (ART/1/7 and 56; Wren Society, VI, pls 45 and 49). The plan of the infirmary is at approximately the same stage as in Hawksmoor's drawn plan (RIBA SA 70/5). It has a similar atrium-style entrance hall with an internal colonnade, a four-column portico, and a central corridor along the main range. In the more advanced plan at NMM ART/1/7 and 56, this corridor is at the back of the middle range and returns along the side wings as central corridors, which end in central doors on the east elevations, as shown in [11/13] (109/50).

The plan was probably drawn up to explore the design of an extended western redevelopment that would encompass all the functions that the hospital had hoped to accommodate in this area since 1698 (see [6]). The eastern of the two buildings on the south side of the infirmary is probably for the doctor, surgeon and apothecary (the functions noted on this part of RIBA SA 70/5). This H-plan building has a rectangular central room, and smaller rooms on at least two levels accessed by staircases to the sides of the porticoes. The western building on the south side could be for a market house as its central column implies a covered court. On 27 November 1700 the Fabric Committee had asked Hawksmoor for 'a scheme and estimate of a Market House' (Wren Society, VI, p. 41). An elevation at All Souls College by Hawksmoor for an unidentified public building, inscribed in King William III's name as 'BASILIKA', and consistent with Hawksmoor's drawing technique around 1700, is for a building similar in plan to this one (Geraghty 2007, no. 439). In August 1706, a meeting of the General Court noted that the directors 'are not required to provide a Market building' (Wren Society, VI, p. 53). The idea was probably not ruled out completely, however, and in this drawing Hawksmoor may have revived the proposal to explore the full extent of the hospital's needs on the west side of the site. The U-shaped building on the north-east side of the infirmary may have been intended for a brew house, wash house and bakehouse.


Downes 1979, cat. no. 380 Wren Society, VI, pl. 48, lower



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