Tag Archives: The Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases (RNHRD)

RUH Hydrotherapy Pool Artwork – What am I doing?

Drawing drafts for moving water and gestural motifs developing patterns from research at the RNHRD and RUH Hydrotherapy Units. Artist: Christopher Tipping

There are many threads of research and interest which have influenced the development and visual narrative of the artwork. The following notes and lists are from my own notebooks, where I  made records of research sessions and information which struck me as inspirational. 

The Mineral Water Hospital, affectionately known as The Min, was built in 1742 & overlooked open, ‘quiet fields’ and countryside. The Hospital was constructed on the site of Bath’s first Theatre of 1705, by the Architect George Trim, whose Mother was, apparently the sister of the Kings Architect, Inigo Jones. The theatre was demolished 1738.

This theatrical & dramatic connection has influenced the concept of using the glazed Hydrotherapy screens as inspirational painted backdrops – a way of creatively setting the scene within the new space & enhancing the experience of staff and patients using the Pool.

In 1859, with great ceremony, the foundation stone was laid for a new hospital building adjacent to the original site and built upon the grounds of a ‘large formal garden belonging to the Parsonage of St Peter Paul Parish’. This garden is shown on the John Speed map of 1610.

The new Royal United Hospital was built in open fields at Combe Park in 1932 (having moved from central Bath). Combe Park had formerly been the site of the Bath War Hospital built in 1916 to provide beds and medical services for WW1 Casualties. There was a small pond and a stream ran nearby. Patients and staff were encouraged to grow and maintain flower gardens & were rewarded with prizes.

Aerial view of the RUH sitting amidst green fields circa 1932 having moved to this site at Weston Manor from the centre of Bath. Image by kind permission of Bath in Time and Bath War Hospital at the RUH.

In the Building Report on The Mineral Water Hospital, by The House Historians, March 2006, there is a detailed report on The Chapel, (now the home of Bath Medical Museum)and its architectural decorations.

This mentions a number of plants seen in carvings, stained glass and other architectural details, which are wonderfully useful in referencing the legacy of The Min, when it finally closes its doors to move to the RUH site:

Ivy

Oak

Water Buttercup

Wild Poppy

Fig

Vines

White Lilies

Passion Flower

Pomegranate

Hyssop

 

Colour and pattern used within the stained glass is also influential. Patterns are influenced by the architectural decoration and tiling of The Min Chapel.

Various hydrotherapy treatments, methods and equipment as described as being newly installed in 1915 following extensive alterations, are also very evocative and inspire some abstract interpretation within my creative narrative.

 

Deep Baths

Aix and Vichy Douches

Scotch and Needle Douches

Reclining and Vapour Baths

Radiant Heat Baths

Sulpher Baths of Potassium Sulphide

Mineral Water Baths

Whirlpool Bath

Hubbard Tank to treat the entire body simultaneously

 

‘A Vichy Massage required the patient to stand on a rubber covered slab whilst showered with jets of hot mineral water. The needle bath was a circular shower with an array of horizontal pipes which sprayed fine jets of water’.

Descriptions of the Coat of Arms for the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases – to give The Min its formal & proper title, is a useful source of colour references, decorative motifs, plants, animals and their meaning.

Black

White for truth, sincerity, peace, innocence and purity

Green

Blue

Purple

Circlet of Fountains

Foxglove

Hares

Meadow Saffron

I like the colour of evening sky, that particular shade of indigo blue.

Water is by turns fluid and abstract, vaporous & ephemeral, contained within many shapes – rivers, ponds, streams, pools, baths, glasses & oceans – any number of vessels.

My creative approach is making connections between place & historic legacy, hydrotherapy practice and an imaginary landscape, which may be conjured up whilst being treated in the pool & feeling the benefits of floating & exercising, whilst being supported by warm water and the care and assistance and encouragement of staff.

‘This hospital was to be entirely self-funded, and even before the hospital was built the raising of monies for it began in earnest. Bath’s Master of Ceremonies, Richard Beau Nash arranged balls and collected subscriptions; wills, donations and even bequests of a diamond, and 1,000 oranges, contributed to the coffers. The list of donors reads like a Who’s Who of 18th century Bath society. Those who donated £40 or more were invited to become a hospital governor, including the artist William Hoare and the actor David Garrick’.

https://thebathmagazine.co.uk/finding-the-cure/

 

 

Map on framed canvas. Mrs. Oliver inscribed on reverse. Showing location of Weston Manor prior to incorporation into Royal United Hospital. Image: By kind permission Bath War Hospital at the RUH

This Estate Map above – date unknown – shows the private estate of Weston Manor before the RUH incorporated it into its site in the 20th Century.

‘The hospital moved to its present site, Combe Park, on 11 December 1932. The site had previously been used for the large First World War Bath War Hospital which opened in 1916. In November 1919 it was renamed the Bath Ministry of Pensions Hospital, which it remained until it closed in 1929.

The site was also used by the Forbes Fraser Hospital and the Bath and Wessex Orthopaedic Hospital, both founded in 1924 and which merged into the RUH about 1980. The former manor house on the site, originally medieval but remodelled in the 18th century, became an administrative building. The building is a Grade II* listed building due to its fine Adam style interior’. Wikipedia

Image: Early Draft artwork for North & East Screens. March 2018 RUH HYDROTHERAPY. Artist: Christopher Tipping

Draft Artworks: Interior detailing explored for the Hydrotherapy Pool – new Therapies Unit, RUH, Bath. Artist: Christopher Tipping

Draft Artworks: Interior detailing explored for the Hydrotherapy Pool – new Therapies Unit, RUH, Bath. Artist: Christopher Tipping

Draft Artworks: Interior detailing explored for the North Screen of the Hydrotherapy Pool – new Therapies Unit, RUH, Bath. Artist: Christopher Tipping

Draft Artworks: Interior detailing explored for the East Screen of the Hydrotherapy Pool – new Therapies Unit, RUH, Bath. Artist: Christopher Tipping

Research Images from the RNHRD, The Min Chapel. Artist: Christopher Tipping

Research Images from the RNHRD, The Min Chapel. Artist: Christopher Tipping

Research Images from the RNHRD, Roman Mosaic from the basement excavations of The Min Artist: Christopher Tipping

Research Images developing patterns from research at the RNHRD, including The Min Chapel. Artist: Christopher Tipping

Research Images developing patterns from research at the RNHRD, including The Min Chapel. Artist: Christopher Tipping

Research Images developing patterns from research at the RNHRD, including The Min Chapel. Artist: Christopher Tipping

Research Images developing patterns from research at the RNHRD, including The Min Chapel. Artist: Christopher Tipping

Research Images developing patterns from research at the RNHRD, including The Min Chapel. Artist: Christopher Tipping




 

Hydrotherapy Pool, Royal United Hospital, Bath – new Therapies Centre

Draft Artwork: Interior with architectural glazed screens – Christopher Tipping

External draft artwork detail of the Hydrotherapy Pool. Image: Christopher Tipping

I was commissioned by Art at the Heart of the RUH in December 2017 to create artwork in response to the architectural glazing in the Hydrotherapy Pool room at the new Therapies Centre for the Royal United Hospital, Bath. These architectural glass panels are floor to ceiling glazed apertures with a combined 46.40 sq m of glass. I am working in collaboration with PROTO GLASS STUDIOS, Architectural Glass Decorators.

The project is being delivered by Kier Construction Ltd with Architects IBI Group

We have also been engaged with a large group of stakeholders, including staff and service users, some of whom have been are lifelong patients at the RNHRD & RUH. This is an ongoing process and we are taking everyone on the journey with us.

‘FLOW’

“Flow is active. It is not just the water, but it is the way our muscles are warmed and released, allowing blood to flow more freely. It is the freedom from stiffness of joints, when even a centimetre gained is a big triumph. It is active horizontally and not vertically. My spine is fully arthrosed and I cannot turn my head. This is a fundamental problem for AS patients and one of the big exercises in the pool and the gym is trying to turn and look over your shoulder without moving your body. That is flow. It is horizontal”. George Odam RNHRD Lifelong Patient with Ankylosing spondylitis (AS), speaking about his personal journey and experience of hydrotherapy treatment in 2017.

The Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases (RNHRD) and The Brownsword Therapies Centre (BTC)

The new RNHRD and BTC will be built close to the main entrance of the Royal United Hospital or RUH; it will be an outpatient centre providing treatment, care and education for patients to recover from episodes of illness or injury, or to manage their long-term condition. The new building will house many of the services currently located at the RNHRD (also known as The Mineral Hospital/ The Min) and the existing RUH therapies and pain management services located in RUH North, under one roof. The Centre will create a centralised and integrated space for staff to work collaboratively, delivering a holistic and patient-centred approach to care.

Old Hydrotherapy Pool, RUH Bath. Image: Christopher Tipping

Hydrotherapy Pool at The Royal Mineral Water Hospital, RNHRD, Bath, 2018. Image:Christopher Tipping

Rubber Ducks at the Hydrotherapy Pool at The Royal Mineral Water Hospital, RNHRD, Bath, 2018. Image: Christopher Tipping

Objects at the Hydrotherapy Pool at The Royal Mineral Water Hospital, RNHRD, Bath, 2018. Image: Christopher Tipping

Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases, Bath. Image: Christopher Tipping

Pediment of the Royal Mineral Water Hospital, Bath, aka The Min 2018. Image: Christopher Tipping

The Min, as the RNHRD is affectionately known, has a small Medical Museum situated in the Old Chapel.  It is a fascinating collection and curated and managed by a small group of dedicated and enthusiastic people, who allowed me access to the photographic Archives. This was very much appreciated.

‘In 2012 the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases [The Mineral Hospital] opened a small museum to showcase their collection. Now, with the imminent closure of the hospital in the centre of Bath, our museum has been granted custody of the Collection of the Min, which includes records dating back to the 1740s, artefacts, the paintings and other pieces of art from around the Hospital, memorabilia, and photographs relating to rheumatology, medicine and pharmacy’

A Hubbard Tank was used for entire body treatments in Hydrotherapy. Image: Copyright & by kind permission of Bath Medical Museum, RNHRD

Patient taking a Nauheim effervescent bath, date unknown – Image: Copyright & by kind permission of Bath Medical Museum, RNHRD

Vichy spray massage treatment. Date unknown – Image: Copyright & by kind permission of Bath Medical Museum, RNHRD

Brass identity medallions worn by patients in the 18th Century. Image: Copyright & by kind permission of Bath Medical Museum, RNHRD