Mr. Lewin Benthon Bowring

It is a well known fact that Bangalore was a very important hub during the Britishraj and hence we find many of their legacy buildings in and around the city. Bowring & Lady Curzon hospital is one of their contributions in the late 1800s. One does not notice it really that Bowring Hospital and Lady Curzon Hospitals although were adjoining, existed separately during much of their earlier days, and were known as Bowring Civil Hospital (for men, established in 1867) and Lady Curzon Hospital (for Women and children, established during late 1890s). It was named after Lewis Bentham Bowring, who was the Chief Commissioner of Mysore and Coorg from 1862 to 1870. Mr. Lewin Benthon Bowring The Bowring & Lady Curzon Hospitals was built on the plan of the “LARABOISIERL” Hospital of Paris and was formally opened in the year 1868 by Mr. Lewin Benthon Bowring, the then Commissioner of Mysore. It was originally a medical institution belonging to Mysore State, but in 1884 it was handed over to the Civil and Military Administration. It owes its existence to Lady Victoria Curzon, the wife of Lord Curzon (Viceroy, 1899-1905) and one of the famous women of British royalty in India. Mary Leiter Lady Curzon Born as Mary, Victoria Leiter, was the daughter of a fabulously wealthy real estate magnate from Chicago, and was reared by her socially ambitious mother to be stunning debutante in the highest social and political circles of Washington DC and London. She did, in fact catch the eye of the rising George Curzon, soon to be Lord Kedleston and then soon after that Viceroy Curzon of India. Queen Victoria made Curzon Viceroy in 1898 at the age of 39. On December 30th 1898, they arrived in Bombay amid royal salutes and great excitement. In the 1902, Lord Curzon organized the Delhi Durbar to celebrate the coronation of King Edward VII, “the grandest pageant in history”, which created a tremendous sensation. At the state ball Mary wore an extravagant coronation gown, known as the peacock dress, stitched of gold cloth embroidered with peacock feathers with an emerald in each eye and many precious and semiprecious stones sewn into the fabric. Other than promoting fabrics and art objects in India, she took her vice-regal duties seriously including learning the Urdu language. She founded and funded the Lady Curzon Hospital for women and children in Bangalore. Progressive medical reforms were initiated under the leadership of the Marchioness of Dufferin and Lady Curzon by providing women doctors and hospitals for women. After not so long a time in India, the tropical climate, a prolonged near fatal infection following a miscarriage and fertility related surgery eroded her health. When they returned to England after Curzon’s resignation in August 1905, her health continued to fail rapidly. She died July 18, 1906 at home in Westminster, London, 36 years old. During the 1920’s, Lady Curzon Hospital used to have about a hundred beds and was a government institution for women and children. There were General Wards, Caste Wards, Special Wards and some beds were kept for maternity cases This Hospital was only Civil Medical Institution of Bangalore till 1890. It had accommodation for 104 beds, of which 80 were for men and 24 for women patients. Additional accommodation for female patients was provided by the donations contributed by philanthropic citizens and by the Government of India. This additional hospital was named Lady Curzon Hospital. BOWRING & LADY CURZON HOSPITALS The two hospitals were fully equipped with X–ray and Pathological laboratory. They were both placed in the combined charge of one Superintendent in 1911. The existing School of Nursing was called as a training school for nurses. It was started in 1911 and was called as Lady Chelmford School of Nursing. It was recognized by the Madras Nursing School. During the rule of Krishnaraja Wodeyar-III, the British took the kingdom from Wodeyars in the year 1831and Commissioners were appointed to rule over the Mysore Kingdom. Mark Cubbon (Cubbon Road and Cubbon park were named after him) and L.B. Bowring (during whose tenure the Bowring Civil Hospital was established in 1866-67, and the Bowring Institute in Bangalore) were the prominent British Commissioners who ruled over Mysore. The kingdom was handed back to the Wodeyars during the rendition of Mysore in 1881. In 1893, the hospital was handed over to Govt. of Mysore. During the year 1920’s there were eleven wards accommodating over a hundred beds of which three wards were for special patients. The wards were updated and fitted with modern accessories and fittings deemed to that time. Cooking and heating were done with electricity and the Hospital was run by the Nuns of St.Magdalene.




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