RESTORATION. The covered portico with the tower and cupola


The Illa del Rei Hospital in Maó harbour is to feature in an article written by the architectural historian, Dr. Ann-Marie Akehurst, for publication in the academic journal 'Architectural History' this month.

Illustrating the piece will be a plan of the original design showing the hospital's appearance between its construction in 1711 and 1715 when the central chapel collapsed. The classical pedimented portico was then replaced by a tower and cupola which is now being restored.

According to Dr. Akehurst, Menorca's island hospital was regarded as "an ideal" and she traces its subsequent influence on other eighteenth century infirmaries in England. The hospital's design was a combination of English chapel design and U-shaped plan with a covered portico with flattened arches typical of Menorcan buildings.

The article suggests that the hospital's appearance was designed with three aims in mind: to be "a statement of British logistical and technological superiority" to the local population; that its style and architecture would remind British sailors of Greenwich; and that its image was intended to reassure the British public that "all was well in its new colony by suggesting a harmonious relationship between the local population and the British occupying forces".