Farewell to Brighton

Between it’s opening in December 1, 1914 to its closure as an Indian hospital in February 15, 1916 a total of 4,306 Indian patients had been admitted to the Royal Pavilion Hospital. [1] By late 1915 the decision had been made by the War Office to move the majority of the British Indian Army from the Western Front to Mesopotamia and Egypt [2] which resulted in the end of the Indian hospitals in Britain.

In November 1915 the Bournemouth hospital as well as the Mont Dore (8A Indian General) hospitals were closed and all of their patients transferred to the Royal Pavilion and Kitchener hospitals. The Lady Hardinge hospital would be closed in March 1916. [3] Brighton patients who were unable to return to their military units for active service returned to hospitals in India. Although some units of the Indian Cavalry remained in France throughout the war, their wounded were treated in hospitals there. [4]

From April 20, 1916 until July 21, 1919 the Royal Pavilion was designated the Pavilion Military Hospital for Limbless Soldiers, during this time period over 6,085 British amputee patients were admitted. [5] Colonel Sir R. Neil Campbell who had been the Senior Medical Officer of the Royal Pavilion and York Place Indian Hospitals became the Commanding officer of the new amputee hospital. [6] In addition to being a 610 bed hospital, the Pavilion hospital also shifted its focus to offer vocational training to these amputees. Queen Mary’s Workshop was set up to provide the amputee patients with courses and training in future careers in auto repair, electrical workshop, carpentry and woodworking as well as education in English, grammar, book keeping, shorthand and typewriting. [7]

On August 28, 1920 the military finally released control of the Royal Pavilion to the Brighton authorities as the hospital was closed for the final time. [8] In November 1920 a public auction was held to dispose of all the hospital furniture and equipment [9] as renovation work began to restore the Royal Pavilion to its former status as a historical museum and public space.

With the Indians leaving, the Kitchener Indian Hospital became the 10th Canadian General hospital from September 10, 1917 to September 3, 1919. [10] After the war in 1920 the Kitchener reverted back to a Poor Law Institution as it had been before the war. In 1935 it became the Brighton Municipal Hospital and eventually the current Brighton General Hospital in 1948. [11]

Learn More
Public Tours
The town of Brighton opens up the Royal Pavilion to the curious public who want to see how a palace was transformed into a hospital and how the exotic Indian patients lived at the palace.
Souvenir Book
The British Government publishes a souvenir book of the Royal Pavilion as a Indian hospital. The book has vital strategic and propaganda purposes.


1. Timothy Carder, The Encyclopedia of Brighton (East Sussex County Libraries, 1990) 161

2. David Omissi, “Europe Through Indian Eyes”, English Historical Review (Vol. 122, Numb 496, 2007) 374

3. Hospital accommodation on mobilization (National Archives, WO 221/1, 1914-1918)

4. Joyce Collins, Dr Brightons Indian Patients December 1914 - January 1916 (Brighton Books, 1997) 27

5. Timothy Carder, The Encyclopedia of Brighton (East Sussex County Libraries, 1990) 161

6. The Pavilion Military Hospital for Limbless Soldiers, Brighton”, The British Medical Journal (September 16, 1916) 402

7. Ibid.

8. Great War Forum http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=187

9. Joyce Collins, Dr Brightons Indian Patients December 1914 - January 1916 (Brighton Books, 1997) 28

10. Canadian Army Medical Corps Overseas Hospitals, http://www.canadiangreatwarproject.com/hospitals/camcHospitals.asp

11. Tim Carder, Brighton General Hospital, www.mybrightonandhove.org.uk