As suppliers of hospital furniture and equipment, often we wonder how it all began; where these houses of healing originated. As far back as there were human communities, there were healers. The ancient Greeks built temples in honour of their healer-god Asclepius, known as Asclepieia, as did the Egyptians and Macedonians. These temples functioned as centres of medical advice, prognosis, and, hopefully, healing. Similar temples were found in India and Asia.
The history books tell us that the pre-industrial precursors to the hospitals we know today began as charitable institutions primarily run by knightly or religious orders. These houses were established for comfort and tending to the sick, however, rather than providing a cure.
Hospitals as we know them today, first began to appear around the eighteenth century under the influence what was known as the Age of Enlightenment. These institutions focused on healing and comforting the sick and employing trained staff to do so, notable names at the time were English physician Thomas Percival, who wrote ‘Medical Ethics, or a Code of Institutes and Precepts, Adapted to the Professional Conduct of Physicians and Surgeons’ (1803) [this comprehensive list of medical conduct would go on the form the basis of many medical textbooks] and later on Florence Nightingale, the famed mother of nursing.
From this point on hospitals were adopted as state institutions, moving further from the church. As time progressed, and with the unfortunate appearance of WW1 and WW2 as well as subsequent global conflicts, hospitals have become a very necessary staple to all town planning.