The Build

The Site of Royal Hospital Haslar

It seems that an initial proposal to convert Portchester Castle into a hospital at Portsmouth failed to materialize on account of the costs. The site of Royal Hospital Haslar was formally Haslar Farm and purchased by the Crown in 1745.  Title reverted to Royal Hospital Haslar in April 1996 as the core Tri-Service hospital. It is situated on a peninsular piece of land overlooking Portsmouth Harbour and Spithead having at its South-West extremity Fort Monckton, whilst on its North-East point stands Fort Blockhouse, guarding the entrance to Portsmouth Harbour. In all early plans studied Haslar is spelt Hasler. Haslar first appears in a plan dated 1799.

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J. Compton & James Oswald Letter

Portsmouth 15 February 1744/5

To the Navy Board

Gentlemen

Upon our arrival here in conjunction with Vie Admiral Steuart, Rear Admiral Medley and Mr Hughes* with several Captains and Officers of the Yard. We proceeded to view several places on Portsmouth and Gosport sides of the water in order to pitch upon a proper spot for building the proposed Hospital, and after having seen all the different places that have a possible access for landing, we were unanimously of opinion that the spot of ground consisting of about one hundred acres between Fort Blockhouse Point and Green Lane End was both with respect to its easy access and the propriety of its soil, the best of any we have seen, and therefore proposed to make tryal (sic) immediately if it could be supplied with a proper hose of good water, and for this purpose we obtained with some difficulty the liberty of boring, this tryal (sic) was begun yesterday, but as we cannot tell how soon it will be finished it is impossible to determine when we can make our report. Mean while in order to save as much time as possible we have ordered a Treaty to be entered upon with the proprietors to know upon what terms they will part with this spot of ground provided water is found, and should they be willing to come to an agreement, it will also be necessary to enter into terms with the present occupier to purchase his lease which is for a term of years.

Gentlemen, your most humble servants,

J. Compton

James Oswald

*Note: Mr Hughes was Richard Hughes the Navy Board Commissioner at Portsmouth Dockyard

Perspective View of the Hospital A perspective view of the Royal Hospital Building for Sick and Hurt Seamen at Haslar, near Portsmouth. It is inscribed Theodore Jacobsen ESQR Architect-Fourdrinier Sculp 1750.
The original intention was that the building was to have been quadrangle in form, each side of the quadrangle to consist of a double row of buildings. In the event, the South-West was omitted due to the financial problems.
Note: How the plan shows how the fourth of the square was left incomplete. The plan also included iron railings to close the gap. These were eventually erected in 1796.Elevation and plan by J. Turner c1750
Copyright on all photo's remain the property of MoD, Haslar Heritage Group, Eric Birbeck and Nicola Smith and are not to be reproduced without prior permission.
Site Design by Nicola Smith in conjunction with Ann Ryder
Background image reproduced by kind permission of John Pounds
Diligent London man and van, excellent removal services