Saturday, March 17, 2007

Horace Batts - 1933

Top : Horace Batts
Bottom: Horace in his chauffeurs uniform with his employer’s car in Hay, 1920.

One of the first people to respond to my request for information was John Batts in Australia. He picked up the story from the BBC Mid Wales web-site, and he referred me to the archives in Llandrindod Wells where letters and photographs of a distant relative of his were kept.

They offer a rare glimpse of the sanatorium regime inside Craig-y-nos in the early 1930s.

Extracts from letters Horace wrote to his family:

Letter 1:
“We had a nice service on our wireless Sunday night. I have thought of Sunday nights I should have gone to chapel but never did I wish now I had but if God will spare I bet I’ll be different I’ve said that before haven’t I though?

Will Mam and all thank Mrs Prosser for sending eggs etc.
must close now all my love from your loving brother Horace”

Letter 2
“Since writing this I have been put on absolute bed rest...can’t write a letter, no visitors . This will be for 3 or 4 weeks to get my temperature down.
I have to be fed and can’t do a thing for myself, starting tomorrow. I can receive letters tell B don’t worry it’s all for the best please God, I might get someone to write a letter for Horace

PS Don’t forget I can’t see any visitors.”

Letter 3
“Well Jill I have been put on absolute rest which means I must not move in bed, receive no visitors, write no letters, have everything done for me even to being fed, it’s to get my temperature down I suppose, don’t worry will you.
I can receive letters though you can write to me Jill only I mustn’t write.

Can you manage to send me a pair of pyjamas, the ones I got are a bit thin one pair anyway Jill.
Well, Jill it’s all for the best, I may be on this rest for or 4 weeks.

Letter 4
Dear Jill
“Just a line, I wrote to you on Sunday and gave it one of the visitors to post in Swansea. I hope you had it all right.
Thanks very much for parcels Jill and postcards they do cheer me up so I haven’t had those books the chauffeurs wife sent yet.

I should like to be down with you in the sunshine of Bournemouth.”

Letter 5

“Dear Mam and all,
Just a line on the q.t. Tell Mrs P not to send any more cakes as cakes are not allowed.

I shall want some eggs and fruit, you can send bananas, apples etc. but no pears. Sister opens all my letters, parcels, just slits them that’s all so be careful what you are sending; can you send a bandage.

It’s a funny business this being fed and everything. I have gone thinnish but that is to be expected. Remember me to all. Thank Benzo for letters. I had a pair of pyjamas from Jill but they had to be washed before I put them on.
All my love..your loving bros Horace

PS. We had a service on wireless on Sunday.”

Horace died shortly after this letter was written.

(Source material: Powys archives, Llandrindod Wells)

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