Sanatoriums are well-known and well-known, whereas préventoriums are a little less well- known. People were transferred to a préventorium when they were in the early stages of sickness. The patients at the Préventorium Pour Enfants de Dolhain were youngsters who showed early indications of TB.
A separate Abandoned Spaces article may be found here, with a complete article and up-to- date images. The story below, however, includes images from the website Back at Time as well as postcards depicting the Préventorium’s appearance in its heyday.
The Préventorium was constructed in the 1950s on the outskirts of Dolphin, a rural French village near Liege. The physicians picked this site because they believed that fresh air and decent cuisine would benefit their young patients.
Images from the period show sun loungers put out along terraces where the children could relax and enjoy both sunshine and fresh air, demonstrating this professional approach.
In addition to being a useful structure, the architect included art deco elements such as curving windows on the exterior and wrought-iron staircases on the interior. To the building’s younger patients, this undoubtedly helped it look less antiseptic and threatening.
Of course, these people were still active since they were in the early stages of the disease. A full-sized playground was built on the grounds to encourage both fresh air and physical activity.
These antique photographs reveal that there was a Gothic-style structure on one side of the Préventorium, in addition to the long thin building that was the Préventorium itself. Unfortunately, this structure no longer exists, and its specific purpose appears to have been forgotten over time. It’s most likely some type of ancillary structure that served as a staff housing.
We may get a little look into what life was like for patients at the Préventorium Pour Enfants de Dolhain because of this fantastic collection of pictures collected by Back in Time.
It appears that part of the children’s therapy included them attending school courses, just like any other youngster. A snapshot of a group of youngsters sitting around a table with books and pencils spread out in front of them can be used to deduce this. They’ve hung their drawings on the wall.
In addition to making the youngsters feel at ease, the photos illustrate that the employees enjoyed a good working atmosphere. Living plants surround the halls, and the numerous staff rooms have comfy chairs, curtains, glass cabinets, and elegant ceiling lighting.
Despite the efforts of the architects and designers to make the Préventorium appear friendly and pleasant, it was nonetheless a medical facility. Medical equipment used to treat the youngsters may be seen in photographs from the time period.
Because TB had been almost vanquished by science by the 1980s, patient numbers at the Préventorium began to fall. Sanitoriums and préventoriums quickly fell out of favor, and the Préventorium Pour Enfants de Dolhain was forced to shut.
The Préventorium’s structures fell into decay when ownership of the site was transferred to the city of Liege, and the grounds became a wasteland. Any equipment that had been abandoned was looted and removed. Graffiti was used to cover the walls instead of children’s artwork.
Finally, in December 2019, plans to refurbish the Préventorium were authorized when a Belgian company named Gehlen was granted the green light to do so. The former site of a children’s hospital would be transformed into 53 apartments, a medical center, a wellness space with a pool, and potentially some workplaces.
Gehlen had worked on the revitalization of other historic places in the past. The company’s Laurent Goblet informed local journalists that he wanted to preserve the ancient structure while modernizing the rest of the region. Construction is expected to begin in 2020 and end in2022, according to current plans.
Thank you very much to Back in Time’s Etienne Vercouter for allowing us to share these photos with you. Etienne has been doing UrbEx since he was a youngster in the 1980s in Belgium.
He first had the concept for a website roughly 15 years ago. It was not appealing to share recent images of damaged structures. He liked to portray structures before they reached the end of their lives.
These old photographs of the Préventorium Pour Enfants de Dolhain are only a sample of the many on his website Back in Time, which you can visit here. If you want to see what the Préventorium looks like now, you may read about it in our post.