Special units

Rekonvaleszentenhaus in the Shuttleworth Street

I recently received a very nice Kappenabzeichen with the caption on the title. I definitely wanted to know what kind of institution operated on such a strange street with English noble names. Strange, isn’t it?

Unfortunately, I was only able to find out some basic information. As in many other cases, this was a temporary medical institution that operated only during the war. Following hospitalization, the wounded needed rehabilitation treatment. This often meant feeding them more, but of course also actual rehabilitation (e.g. physiotherapy) for more serious injuries. Rehabilitation work was done in separate centers. The most famous such institution in Vienna was the Rotunda for the World Fair, which I have already written about here. There were many similar institutions outside of this, such as the one in the Shuttleworth Street in Vienna.

All I learned about the institution was that it was operated by the Order of Mercy. But their headquarters and hospital were not here. In this English named street, there were industrial plants in the northern outer 21st district of Vienna at that time. One of these was the Shuttleworth company, which gave the street its name from 1906, and which manufactured agricultural machinery. At the time of the Great War, the full name of the company was Hofherr-Schrantz-Clayton-Shuttleworth AG. The first half of the name may be familiar to Hungarian ears, because the Hofherr and Schrantz factories also had several sites in Hungary. It was one of the largest agricultural machinery companies in the Monarchy. The merger, which produced the long name, took place in 1912. Then, attention, something unusual happened! The Hofherr and Schrantz Machine Factory, based in Kispest, Hungary had acquired the sites of a competitor British-based factory, including the Vienna facilities. From then on, the combined name was used.

I can only assume that one of the halls of the plant was converted into a military hospital. I also assume that most of the plant had military production, so it’s a bit surprising that there was room to accommodate the convalescent center as well. Today, most of the former site has shopping malls, and here is the northern hospital in Vienna, as a continuation of early medical practice. The opening image is a well-known photo from the website of the Hungarian Press Agency taken of disabled soldiers perhaps just when they were fired from such an institution. The script on the badge is also interesting, since it has no correct German spelling, which would have been “Rekonvaleszentenhaus”.

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