The Royal Pavilion Hospital

Most of the Indian patients had never experienced anything like the Royal Pavilion before.

Isar Singh (Sikh, 59th Rifles) letter to a friend (50th Punjabis, India)
Indian General Hospital  [Gurmukhi], Brighton, 1st May 1915
Do not be anxious about me. We are very well looked after. White soldiers are always besides our beds — day and night. We get very good food four times a day. We also get milk. Our hospital is in the place where the King used to have his throne.  Every man is washed once in hot water. The King has given a strict order that no trouble be given to any black man (Indians) in hospital. Men in hospital are tended like flowers, and the King and Queen sometimes come to visit them. [1]

Many of the young Sikhs like Isar Singh had never even left Punjab before, yet here they were half way around the world in England in a strange and exotic palace with Indian architecture and Chinese dragons over their heads and King George visiting them.

Learn More
Facilities & Treatment
Employing some of the latest equipment the former palace now becomes a modern hospital.
Caste and Ethnic Separation
Perhaps one of the most bizarre aspects of the Pavilion hospital is the strict separation of Indian patients along caste and ethnic lines which is taken to extremes to even include separate water taps and toilet facilities.
Hospital Staffing
Learn how the Pavilion hospital was staffed by British Indian Army veterans, Indian student volunteers and the perceived issue of 'white women' nurses dealing with Indian patients.
Diet & Kitchens
Great efforts are made to provide the Indian soldiers with a native diet. Hindu notions of 'impurity' and caste lead to the establishment of 9 separate kitchens.
Recreation & Morale
How did the patients keep busy during their hospitalization?
Visits by Dignitaries
The Pavilion hospital provides a major propaganda vehicle for the British and high profile visits are made by a number of dignitaries including King George.


1. David Omissi, Indian Voices of the Great War, Soldiers’ Letters, 1914-1918 (St. Martin’s Press, Inc., 1999)