The Gloucester Dispensary and Vaccine Institution established in 1831 was supported by subscriptions and donations. It provided free advice and medicines to the poor upon the recommendation of subscribers. 78 Doctors gave their services free of charge and an apothecary was employed. He lived at the dispensary, which occupied a house within the shell of the Greyfirars church. To reduce costs, in 1850 the dispensary was closed and a chemist in Eastgate Street contracted to provide rooms and supply medicines. The dispensing was at a chemist's shop in Southgate Street in 1853 and until 1857, when a medical officer was employed to carry on the institution's work, 79 and by 1870 a dispensary had been opened in Blackfriars. 80 In 1872 the Gloucester Dispensary was reorganized as a provident society supported by members' payments and voluntary contributions, and a house in Longsmith Street was fitted up as a dispensary. 81 In 1895 it was replaced by a house in Barton Street provided by William Long 82 (d. 1914), who left £3,000 for the society. A new dispensary was opened behind the house in 1921 and enlarged in the late 1920's. On the introduction of the National Health Service the buildings were let to the corporation for a health centre, 83 which included a dispensary and closed in 1963, 84 and the endowments, including the Barton Street premises, supported a fund for the sick poor of the city. That charity, which in 1969 became known as the Gloucester Relief in Sickness Fund, 85 had an income of £2,000 in 1971. 86 The Gloucester Friendly Societies' Medical Association was formed in 1887 to retain the services of a doctor, 87 and from the early 1890's it ran a dispensary at Ladybellgate House, then the Foresters' hall, in Longsmith Street. 88 Following the introduction of the National Health Service the corporation purchased the house for a health centre. The centre, which had a dispensary, was transferred to Rikenel house in 1971. 89
78 Glos. Colln. N 19.3.
79 Rep. Glouc. Dispensary, 1833, 1849-58; Glos. Colln. NF 19.1, N 19.4; Causton, Map of Glouc. (1843).
80 Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1870), 552, 566.
81 Rep. Glouc. Dispensary, 1871-3.
82 Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1897), 171.
83 Rep. Glouc. Dispensary, 1915, 1921, 1929, 1948; Glouc. Jnl. 19 feb. 1921.
84 Rep. of Medical Off. of Health, 1973, 27-8.
85 Glos. R.O., D 3469/5/67, file marked `Glouc. Dispensary 1948'.
86 Ibid. CH 21, Glouc.co.boro. pp.12-13.
87 Glouc.Jnl. 26 mar, 1887; cf. Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1889), 800.
88 Kelly's Dir. Glos. (1894 and later edns.): Anct. Order of Foresters' Guide to Glouc. (1901).
89 Rep. of Medical Off. of Health, 1973, 27-8, cf. Ibid. 1949, 22. Copy in G.B.R., N 2/10/5.
Quoted from the Victoria County History, Gloucestershire, volume 4, page 272, by permission of the General Editor.
Submitted by Alan Longbottom
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