These floorboards come from the now demolished Royal Victoria Hospital in Netley, Hampshire, UK. Many New Zealander’s were treated in this hospital over the years of its service and some are buried in its cemetery which still exists.
The hospital was built by Queen Victoria after being inspired by the work of Florence Nightingale – it was the British Army’s first purpose-built hospital. Queen Victoria herself laid the foundation stone and underneath it placed the first ever Victoria’s Cross medal.
It opened in 1863 and treated British troops from all over the world. During World War One a second British Red Cross hospital was built in the grounds which more than doubled the available bed space, allowing 50,000 patients to be treated throughout the war. The hospital was again mobilised during World War Two but after this period became increasingly run down. After a fire in 1963 the decision was made to demolish it.
The floorboards are a sample of a ward floor built out of teak wood imported from India. They have been recently donated to the Museum after being purchased when the hospital was demolished and material from it being sold.
These notes on the history of the hospital come from the Hampshire County Council website about the Royal Victoria Country Park.