I can remember the hospital when i was a child. It was empty then although there were Staff in huts around the building. Not sure if they were nurses or service personnel. We stayed out of their way! The chapel which stood in the middle of the building (and still survives) was open to the public I believe. The hospital was derelict and locked and we were not supposed to walk through the grounds but we did. We got in to the hospital on the odd occasion when it was unlocked. We were half frightened so did not stay and knew we were trespassing. The doors were massive and very high. We used to get in to the grounds from the Hamble Lane end and then wander round the outside of the building and then out of the gate at the Netley end. There was a guard there in those days (in a little guard box with a bar across the path) and we used to get a mild "ticking off" for trespassing but it was always done with a smile. The grounds were lovely all along that stretch of beach and we did no harm. Mother always said the design of the hospital was confused with the one in India (Skutari perhaps?). She was sure the plans had been switched which seemed to follow as the corridors were endless and dead straight. She said the building was a mile in length - it was a long way for nine/ten year old legs! The endless corridor was at the front facing the water where the sun came in and the wards were at the back where no sun reached as there were trees. This would have been ideal in India in the heat - not so good in England. So sad as you had to stand in the corridor to see the beautiful view of the water. I was born in 1945 and I think these rambles took place before I sat the eleven plus. Netley was very safe in those days and our parents never worried that we wandered off all day just turning up in time for tea. Not sure if this helps but it may correspond with other people with similar memories. I can clearly recall the railway line in to the hospital which Dad said brought in the wounded solders right to the back door of the hospital.
Thank you Carol
19th November 2013