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.
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.