The tranquillity of the Landmark Trust’s latest renovation, Winsford Cottage Hospital, has a healing effect on our writer

Pleurisy, fracture at elbow, scalded buttocks, horse bite – who knew that a list of ailments on a hospital’s patient register could be so gripping? The one I found in my holiday accommodation (newly renovated Winsford Cottage Hospital in Devon) told the stories of people from a dozen local parishes. Within its handwritten pages I read of first world war soldiers with trench fever, second world war evacuees with asthma, plus farmers, labourers, cooks and teachers who had contrived to injure themselves in all manner of ways – and scores upon scores of women giving birth. Encouragingly, the patients whose discharge date is followed by the remarks “Cured”, “Much benefited” or “Satisfactory” far outnumber those with the more solemn “Died”.

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