Evidence Taken Before A Commission Appointed By His Honor The Lieutenant Governor In Council, To Investigate The Management Of Mount Hope Asylum For The Insane.



Letter of G. G. Dustan to Hon. W. Garvie, relative to Water and Fire Departments. (Referred to on page 54 of Evidence.)

23rd January, 1872.

Sir,—I beg to inform you that early in the year 1865, I reported to the Government that the interior distribution of the water in the Hospital was of the worst possible description and that the water arrangement in case of fire was altogether defective—(my report was afterwards confirmed in every particular by the Government Engineer, Mr. Perley.) I then recommended the Government to place the cisterns in the attic story of the Hospital (capable of containing 5000 gallons each,) 2 for cold water and 1 for hot water, the whole of the house service to be taken directly from these cisterns, instead of from a number of direct pipes attached to the main 6 inch pipe outside the building as before, showing that in


this way the hot water service could not be affected by the water-closet service, nor either by the service for culinary or ordinary purposes. I further stated that I believed it was the immediate duty of the Government to correct the defective fire arrangement, (showing that the fire plugs in the building would prove of no use whatever in case of fire) by running a 6 inch pipe (flanged) round the Hospital building outside about 45 feet from walk connected with the 6 inch main now in the yard, to have hydrants attached at certain distances, the pipe to be connected to a pair of pumps attached to the steam engine then and now in the engine house here, to have a sufficient quantity of 3 inch hose ready to attach to the hydrants and a hand-engine for use in case the steam was down in the boiler house, together with a proper set of ladders and fire escapes to save life, all to be under charge of the engineer of the hospital (who would be held responsible for all being in complete working order at all times under stringent rules) who would organize a fire brigade composed of the officers, attendants and other servants of the institution and a selected number of patients, and that it would be the duty of the engineer to exercise the whole every month or six weeks, so that in case of fire everything would be in good working order and every member of the brigade know exactly what to do to put out fire and save life.

The Steam arrangement was also defective, and this I also fully explained. Mr. Frederick Brown, Chairman of the Board of Works, was then instructed by the Government to make a full and detailed personal examination of the premises, which he did, and under date 6th August, 1865, Mr. Brown wrote the Hon. Provincial Secretary.

“I think it due to Mr. Dustan besides to say that in consequence of the information and suggestions which have resulted from his researches and discoveries, he has done good service to this department, especially now that the Hospital building is about being enlarged, and it will be desirable to adopt some of these suggestions in supplying the buildings with water in such a manner as will diminish the danger of fire.”

In recognition of these services the Government appointed me a Commissioner of the Hospital.

My plans for the interior distribution of water for the house service was adopted, and has worked ever since most admirably, adding much to the comfort and health of the entire household.

Also, my plan to save the condensed hot water from the pipes in the Hot Air Chambers, was introduced, and must have saved the Hospital from 500 to 750 dollars per annum ever since in fuel.

But my plan for protecting life and property in case of fire has not yet been carried into effect—though fully approved of—out off till the hospital building was completed.

Several alarms of fire at the Hospital has lately shown the danger of longer delay, and I therefore consider it my duty to bring the


matter before you, knowing you will feel deeply interested in such an important matter and take the necessary steps to satisfy yourself, and I hope the result will be that you will order the pipes and entire apparatus to be got ready to lay down so soon as the weather will permit. (The pipe can be extended round the wings yet to be built when they are completed.)

I deeply regret to have distinctly and advisedly to state that should a fire occur here in the meantime the whole buildings will be consumed, and I fear many lives would be lost.

I remain, very respectfully,
Sir, Yours faithfully,

Chairman Board Commissioners Hospital for the Insane.

The Hon’ble William Garvie,

Commissioner of Works and Mines.

Source: G.G. Dustan, "Letter of G. G. Dustan to Hon. W. Garvie, relative to Water and Fire Departments.," Evidence Taken Before A Commission Appointed by His Honor The Lieutenant Governor In Council To Investigate The Management of Mount Hope Asylum for the Insane (Halifax: , 1878), 359-361.

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