Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Rose Hunt- 1941-43

(Extract from interview given by Rose Hunt , age 72, of Gorseinon to Cynthia Mullan, oral historian at the Sleeping Giant Foundation.)

Rose was an evacuee who caught TB in Wales.

“ I was 6 year old when I was admitted to Craig-y-nos in 1941.
I didn't settle easily. I came from a very caring family and they were very strict rules in the hospital.
The atmosphere was not conducive to being happy as a child

“There was no treatment. I was kept in bed.

The nights were the worst. I was out on the veranda and I used to be terrified of the noises. There was an owl in the fir tree and foxes that made high pitched noises though I didn't know what they were except that I knew they were not dogs.

I was afraid to go to sleep. That's when people died. Nurses would say:”So -and -so died in her sleep.”

I didn't want to die so I wouldn’t go to sleep.

In the ward it was worse: there you had the groans and moans, coughing and spitting.

How many in Ward 2?
I have thought about this and I have come to the conclusion its about 20.

The beds were so close, separated only by a narrow locker, that if you were upset in the night you could always put your hand out and touch the person in the next bed.

I had an uncle in the Merchant Navy and he was allowed to come in to see me even though it was not visiting and he brought with him a big bunch of bananas. The bananas were cut in half and there were just enough for everyone in the ward to have one. That's why I think there must have been close on 20 beds in there.

Life on the veranda.
I always remember the porridge which had big lumps in it. The other girls would give it to me and I would push it down the drainpipe. One day it rained so heavily the porridge bubbled back up!...
You had to own up who did it otherwise everyone would have suffered. a
And you really did suffer! I had a terrible row.

The ladies who came in from outside who were cleaners were absolutely marvellous! they would bring us comics and sneak in sweets. But the nurses...am I allowed to say this?...some were bitches. I suppose they had a job to do.
Some of them took great delight in tucking you in so tightly in bed that you couldn't move and you wouldn't dare move anyway.

There was no schooling. This was 1941. I had already learnt to read and write and I found some books there that used to belong to Adelina Patti. One day I said to my mother:”If I ever get out of here I am going to go to this place.” It was a book on Rome. There were other books too on Greece, India and China. I read whatever I could.
Ralph “the books” in Swansea used to give my mother damaged comics to bring in to me.
I wasn't able to start my travels until I was 50.

Visiting“Once my mother missed the bus in Ysterfera and the postman saw her standing there crying. He put her in the back of the van with the mailbags and dropped her off at Craig-y-nos.”


If you made friends all too often the girl would be moved to another ward as she got older or she died.

Rats“One night there was this rat in the ward.
It jumped from the table on to one of the beds and I screamed and screamed.

Life afterwards“Did Craig-y-nos have an effect on me? Definitely! it made me a much stronger person, made me able to stand on my own feet...except I still cant sleep at night and I hate porridge, rats and mice.”

(This interview is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.)

No comments: