Quarantine Facilities and White Hoe Fever Hospital

Location: On the Old Castletown Road, about a mile beyond the Nunnery. Now the White Hoe Industrial Estate.

Whenever contagious diseases appeared in Douglas, medical staff faced the perpetual problem of where to care for those infected. When they remained at home, it put their family and neighbours at risk of infection, but the hospitals had limited quarantine facilities, and there were local concerns that they would attract disease into the heart of the town.

When the first cholera epidemic occurred in the summer of 1832, a sum of £500 was raised to build a fever hospital in the form of a wooden shed at Hills’s Estate. This was apparently inclined to leak in wet weather but also earned praise for its diligent care of patients, with the Board of Health thanking its surgeon, Mr Quine, for his “zealous, hazardous, and indefatigable Exertions in this department” when the hospital was closed in 1833. Although there were discussions about converting sheds in the grounds into a fever ward at the Fort Street hospital, this didn’t happen.


In 1885 a short act was passed to create hospitals for infectious diseases, to improve on the Public Health Act of the previous year. This act also provided the money for a small, custom-built facility at White Hoe in Braddan. Contagious patients were sent here to recover in quarantine, to prevent the spread of disease.

The new fever hospital opened in 1888 and was situated a few miles out of Douglas on the Old Castletown Road. It had detached wards on either side of the main administrative building (see Source B) and room for about 25 patients, although this could increase significantly if circumstances demanded. The first matron was a Miss Amcoats, “a nurse possessing considerable experience in the infectious branch of her profession” (Isle of Man Times, 10 November 1888).

Although incidents of smallpox and cholera were declining by the late nineteenth century, the fever hospital treated ailments such as diphtheria, typhoid and puerperal fever. Tuberculosis patients were also sent to White Hoe. Early scandals included the misdiagnosis of infectious diseases, and the ‘paganism’ of refusing to allow a minister to visit the sick.

By 1980 there were 58 beds at White Hoe and the average stay there was 85.3 days. However, there was concern that it was used only as a holding-place for chronically infirm patients, and it was absorbed into the new Noble’s Hospital.

Explore the evidence about quarantine facilities and the White Hoe Fever Hospital below

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