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Visiting hospitals can be tedious. Whether you're an SHO seeking the personnel department or a professor searching for the postgraduate centre, you end up in a cul de sac by the boiler-house or at an empty desk marked "Enquiries," wishing you were elsewhere. Next time, brighten your visit by spotting how a hospital's architecture reveals its history.
In a Victorian hospital, I-spy portakabins. Old buildings with sturdy joists and lots of space between wards are ideal for perching plasterboard sheds on roofs and flower beds. If you can't see them, follow signs marked "Academic Department of...."
The 1930s were the golden age of hospital carpentry, with solid …