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Archaeologia Cantiana -  Vol. 79    1964  page 8

The Chetney Hill Lazaret

By P. Froggatt, M.A., M.D., D.P.H.

Commons, and the following day 65,000 was voted from the Consolidated Fund 'for erecting a lazaret on Chetney Hill'.61 A statute of 1st October allowed expenses to be defrayed by levying duties on ships quarantining in Britain,62 and another of 31st December extended these duties to ships bound for the Channel Islands and Man.63 Building now commenced.

THE LAZARETT'S DESIGN
   This is not known and the lazaret is no longer standing. Wyatt's plans have not survived in the printed sessional papers of 1800.42 The fire which destroyed the London Custom House in 1814, so completely that 'The whole Custom House is now down except the front wall',64 would have probably accounted for papers lodged with the Customs despite the efforts made to recover documents which had been buried or blown away. (These included the appointment of 'two Inspectors of the River with a sufficient number of Trusty Tidewaiters ... to assist in saving such Books, Papers, Documents, and other property, as may be dug out of the Ruins'; and the attendance of authorized officers daily 'at the Sign of the Robin Hood and Little John, Hoxton Fields, at the Shoulder of Mutton and Cat, London Fields, Hackney, at the Lamb, Kingsland, and at the Bird Cage, Stanford Hill', to receive any wayward documents.)65 However, some evidence can be adduced of the lazaret's design and structure.
   The most influential medical members of the advisory committee to the Privy Council of 1799, were Patrick Russell and Gilbert Blane.66 Both believed implicitly in quarantine. Russell, in addition, had written an authoritative series of books on quarantine, and had clearly stated his views on the superiority of land to floating lazarets, with a plan of an ideal one 'which . . . must be accommodated to circumstances of commerce, as well as to the various dispositions of the ground on which they [the buildings] are erected; but the general plan may be nearly the same for all' 67 (my italics). The great Marseilles lazaret, of which he had personal experience, was his model. Also, his views were similar to those
  
61 Ibid., lv, 697.
    62 39 and 40 Geo. III, c. 80 (1800). This repealed 26 Geo. II, c. 6; 29 Geo. II, c. 8; 12 Geo. III, c. 57; 28 Geo. III, c. 33; 39 Geo. III, c. 99.
   63 J.H.G., lv, 911, 913, 921, 930.
   64 National Register, 16th February, 1814.
   65 R. C. Jarvis, 'Laing's Custom House', Trans. Lond. Middlesex. Arch. Soc. xx(iv) (1961), 1-16.
   66 The committee comprised: Pour of H.M. Physicians-in-Ordinary; Dr. Patrick Russell, former physician to the British factory at Aleppo; Drs. Johnston and Blane, Commissioners of Sick and Hurt, and another physician; one of the Commissioners of Customs; two members of the quarantine committee of the Levant Company (Reports, 1800 (169) xxviii, 4; P. Froggatt, op. cit.).
  
67 P. Russell, op. cit., p. 404.

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