Second RCH Building 1889

(excerpts from article in The Truth, September 20, 1889)

By 1889 the old RCH on Agnes Street needed to be replaced and a new building in nicely landscaped gardens was built in Sapperton at about the same location as the current RCH. It cost $25,000 (more than seven times the cost of the first hospital on Agnes Street). Here’s what it looked like in the words of one of the local newspapers of the day.

“The main building covers an area of 100 x 50 feet with an additional wing to the rear of 24 feet, and rests on a solid foundation of granite. The structure is a wooden frame, two stories in height with a large attic which at a future time will form a third storey. In point of architectural design this structure might be considered as having many of the features of a suburban villa.

The basement which is 72 x 30 feet, is divided into three rooms, namely: general storage room, furnace and fuel room and a cellar. Two stairways are arranged in convenient positions leading to the first floor.

In front of the main entrance there is a piazza, 30 feet long by 14 feet deep. The main hall is 10 feet wide and runs the full length of the building, crossed at the centre by a transverse hall extending from front to rear of the building. To the right on entering the main door is a parlour 19 x 23 feet deep and on the left, the physicians’ room, with drug room, lavatory and baths, a dining room with a dummy running to floors above, pantry, etc. On the right of the main hall at the east end of the buildings, there is a ward for female patients with baths and lavatory connecting at the rear. The wing at the north east corner of the building comprises the kitchen, bed-rooms for servants and laundry.

On the next floor which is approached by two stairways, there are four large wards – two on each side of the hall; also several small rooms to be used as bed-rooms and with laundry and baths conveniently arranged. At the east end of the hall there is a balcony, and also at the south. The inside of the building will be plastered throughout and lighted with gas. In the windows in the wards there is a large transom that works independently of the windows. At each end of the main hall there is a large window of stained glass. When completed the hospital will accommodate about eighty patients.

The morgue will be built at the rear of the building and adjacent to the hospital building stands the warden’s residence – a neatly designed cottage with all the modern improved attachments.

Altogether the situation of the new hospital is very beautiful and commands a most imposing view. The grounds will be laid off in consonance with the building and when all is completed the sight will be refreshing and sufficiently so to make a robust person feel much better.”

New Westminster people complained that the Sapperton location was “too far from the centre of things”, but there was soon a streetcar line, land values rose and Sapperton became an attractive suburb.

To donate to the Royal Columbian Hospital Foundation and the next 150 years of medical excellence and compassionate patient care, visit or call 604 520 4438

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One Comment on “Second RCH Building 1889”

  1. […] structure was built in Sapperton. There’s a description of the new hospital in this earlier blog post. The new hospital was supposed to open in September, but that was overly optimistic. On October 2, […]

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