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Nuttall Memorial Hospital is committed wholeheartedly to your medical needs

Historical background

The Nuttall Memorial Hospital commemorates the life of Enos Nuttall, a Christian leader of exceptional vision and a great humanitarian. He came to Jamaica from England in 1861 as a nineteen-year old Wesleyan missionary. At that time there was a spiritual awakening in Jamaica known as the Great Revival which affected most Christian denominations. After a few years he offered himself as a candidate for the Church of England and was made rector of St. George’s Church in Kingston in 1866, the year after the Morant Bay Rebellion which resulted in Jamaica becoming a crown colony. The Church of England in Jamaica was de-established in 1870 and the number of ministers reduced from 92 to 52. His leadership qualities, capacity for hard work and Christian zeal were soon recognized and he rose through the ranks of the Anglican Church to become Bishop of Jamaica in 1880 and the first Archbishop of the Province of the West Indies in 1893. His contribution to the educational and social development of Jamaica was monumental.

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At the beginning of the twentieth century the only hospital facilities in Jamaica were those established for the benefit of people too poor to pay for medical treatment. It often happened that an employer could send his employee to a properly equipped hospital, while he himself had to depend on makeshift care at home or go abroad to be treated, a fact which did not escape the Archbishop’s notice. In 1890 the Church of England Deaconess House was opened at 93 Hanover Street. The first deaconesses were Sister Isabel (Wise) and Sister Kate (Vick). Among its objectives was the training of Jamaican women to be parish welfare workers and nurses. The Deaconesses and their pupils nursed patients at the Kingston Public Hospital and all over the island. Eight years later the idea of a nursing home was born with the Archbishop and Sisters Madeline and Grace. However, it was not until ten years later in 1908 that a house at 116 East Street was leased and a Nursing Home started. The Archbishop recorded in his diary that it was a “venture of faith”. It was the first private institution of its kind in Kingston and after the Archbishop’s death in 1916 it was called the Archbishop Nuttall Nursing Home.

It is probable that the need for expanding these services gave birth to the idea of a general hospital at the time when the proposal for an island memorial for the Archbishop failed to materialize. On July 1, 1921 Bishop DeCarteret bought from the estate of the late Samuel Constantine Burke, a noted legislator, the land on which the hospital was built. The nine-acre property had housed his residence called Newington. The Government gave four thousand five hundred pounds from public donations in lieu of an island memorial to the late Archbishop. There were also private donations to the Church for this. Among them was the significant financial contribution to the cost of the building made by Mr. A.N. Dixon of St. Ann and one thousand pounds given by Mr. H. Crum Ewing. Over nineteen thousand pounds were spent on the land, building and equipment. Newington House became the nurses quarters and new buildings were constructed for the hospital.

The hospital’s architect was Mr. S.C. Henriques who worked with Dr. George Lockett, a leading young surgeon and Miss Mabel Hope who moved from the Archbishop Nuttall Nursing Home to become the first matron of the new hospital. The hospital had seventeen private rooms and two small wards, one for male and the other for females. Each ward had three beds. The building was constructed by Messrs Mais and Sant and on completion was blessed by Bishop DeCarteret and officially opened on December 7, 1923 by the Governor, His Excellency Sir Leslie Probyn, in the presence of a large crowd. It was named The Nuttall Memorial Hospital, a fitting tribute to the late Archbishop.

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