Fulking Grange: smallpox hospital

Because the Brighton Sanatorium at Bevendean was too close to built-up areas for highly infectious diseases, Brighton Council bought a farm on Fulking Hill near Devil’s Dyke in 1901 and converted the farm buildings into an isolation hospital, known as Fulking Grange, for smallpox cases. The 12-room farmhouse became the administration block and the barn was converted into two wards, each with room for 12 patients. If more accommodation were needed, two portable huts could be erected on a concrete slab to house four more patients.

Very basic facilities
The hospital had a resident caretaker but was only opened up when an outbreak occurred. There was no electricity supply and water was collected in rainwater cisterns, although the wards had hot-water radiators. Importantly, in view of the risk of contagion, a telephone line was run up to the site. Nurses were sent up from the sanatorium in Bevendean or specially hired for as long as needed. The first smallpox patients were transferred to Fulking Grange at the start of the outbreak in 1902.

Isolated remains
The ruins of Fulking Grange remain on top of the escarpment, due south of the Shepherd and Dog pub and only a few yards away from the well-worn path along the ridge.

Comments about this page

  • There is a book for sale in local shops on the history of Fulking and Edburton. It has more details of the Grange including photographs of the buildings and patients, with details of the staff and the building’s demise during WW2 when it was burnt down by Canadian soldiers!

    By Chris (06/12/2008)
  • Seems the Canadians did more than their share of destroying English old places, they also apparently created a ruin out of the Paddocks house, Mile Oak.  It was a play area for the young boys of Mile Oak.  Because of projected danger for the kids, the Canadians destroyed the house to a ruin of walls – I can dimly remember the ruin.

    By Bonny Cother (09/12/2013)
  • Looks like some underground space under the slab. Has there ever been a detailed dig at this old site? The grounds could be cleaned up as an historical venue before it is lost to the wind and time. Is there a photo of the original building?

    By Bonny Cother (04/05/2015)
  • Can anyone please direct me to where I can still find a copy of the booklet showing Fulking Grange when it stood? The Fulking webmaster refuses blank to reply to my emailed query and not living nearby I don’t know how to locate a shop that might have it. I am howard_hope@yahoo.co.uk and writing a book about the 1899 tenant of The Grange, George Gouraud. Any image anyone can supply as a jpeg would be very welcome.

    By Howard Hope (24/01/2020)

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