Thursday, 13 March 2014

Former Royal Waterloo Hospital, Waterloo Road SE1

The Royal Waterloo Hospital for Children and Women was rebuilt in 1903 to designs by Waring and Nicholson, who decorated the entrance to the outpatients' department with this charming sign by W.J. Neatby.
Made of Doulton's faience, the letters are particularly satisfying.
A naked woman reclines at each end, hair flowing in the wind. The one on the left holds a bunch of poppy heads, a symbol of fecundity because it bursts with seeds. The ancient Greeks depicted Cybele, mother of the gods, as crowned with poppy heads.
The girl on the right holds a Pinard stethoscope, designed specifically for use in childbirth. Apparently it is still in use today in many areas of the world, where it is regarded by midwives especially as easier to use, less intimidating for the mother and less likely to generate confusing noise than ultrasound. This is in stark contrast to the familiar rubber-tube variety, which today is worn only as a symbol of wisdom and authority. The actual examination is done electronically.
The building is now student accommodation for the University of Notre Dame, Indiana.

1 comment:

Hels said...

I know Neatby died before WW1 started, so there is no doubt about the dates for the The Royal Waterloo Hospital sign. But those two naked women have an athletic, Deco look to them.

So thank you. Either Neatby was VERY modern in his taste, or divisions between art styles are not as clear cut as I might have thought.