II-105910.1 | Children's ward, Royal Victoria Hospital, Montreal, QC, 1894

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Children's ward, Royal Victoria Hospital, Montreal, QC, 1894
Wm. Notman & Son
1894, 19th century
Silver salts on paper - Albumen process
20 x 25 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Architecture (8646) , medical (125) , Photograph (77678)
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Keys to History

This children's ward of the Royal Victoria Hospital was photographed a few months after the hospital's official inauguration in 1893.

During the 19th century, illness shortened the lives of many children. As a result, some doctors were particularly concerned with childhood disease. Starting in the 1880s, paediatrics slowly began to become established as a discipline.

Traditionally, those who had the means preferred to be taken care of at home, while the poorest had to go to the hospital. During the second half of the 19th century, things tended to change so that all classes of society were represented among hospitalized patients. New modern-looking hospitals were built and the development of new techniques, as in surgery for example, resulted in more hospital treatment. At this point the work of nurses, which had so far been done mainly by Quebec's religious orders, began to take on a professional character.

One of the founding principles of the new Royal Victoria Hospital, which was affiliated with McGill University, was the desire to provide all people with medical care regardless of their station in life, and to set up a system to train doctors and nurses.

  • What

    The room and equipment shown here are brand new since the photograph was taken in 1894, shortly after the inauguration of the Royal Victoria Hospital on December 2, 1893.

  • Where

    The architecture of the Royal Victoria Hospital is typical of the cottage hospitals that sprang up throughout the Western world during this period. The U-shaped hospital is made up of a central administrative building flanked by two wings running perpendicular to it.

  • When

    The construction of the Royal Victoria Hospital was announced in 1887. The hospital is named after Queen Victoria, who celebrated her Golden Jubilee that year.

  • Who

    Lay sisters like those in this photograph became more and more numerous in medical establishments during the 1890s since hospitals had a great need for qualified personnel. The first school for nurses opened its doors in 1890 at the Montreal General Hospital.