Saturday, September 29, 2007

End of exhibition stories

I am very grateful to Valerie Brent from Mumbles for spending the last couple of Fridays at the exhibition.

Valerie, as you all know, started her nursing career as a 15 year old at Craig-y-nos during the mid 1940’s.

The matron took her in because she had been left an orphan. She was there for two years and it was Dr Huppert who suggested to her one day that she ought to go and train to become a qualified SRN.

So she left Craig-y-nos to go to train at Morriston hospital.
After a life-time nursing she wrote a book:"Life isn't all kiwi and oranges".

Valerie was at hand yesterday to talk to people and to glean more stories.

Here are some:
Tegan Evans went into Craig-y-nos as a 9 year old in 1924. Later she trained as a teacher but after marriage had to give it up.
So she went back to Craig-y-nos as a part time secretary to Dr Williams and in the afternoons she used to teach the children.

Neville Williams went in as a two year old into Craig-y-nos in 1937 and came out in 1941.
He had TB of the spine and was strapped to the bed because he was too young to be put in plaster.
But the TB kept recurring.
Non Jones was in during 1951.
She was a local girl and was believed to be too ill to be in Craig-y-nos so Dr Williams used to visit her at home to give her treatment streptomycin.
Eventually she was admitted first to Craig-y-nos then Morriston where she underwent pioneering surgery with the removal of one lung and the lobe of another.

It was successful and she went on to work in London, got married and had one child. She has enjoyed good health ever since.

Tom, an evacuee from Liverpool, caught TB and was admitted to Craig-y-nos.

His mother moves down to Ystradgynlais with her two other children in the early 1940s.
Later they return to Liverpool leaving the boy in Craig-y-nos.
He dies.

The Smith family. Mother , father and three children were all in Craig-y-nos during the mid 1940’s. Valerie Brent nursed the children in the Glass Conservatory.
”You have to remember that TB was rife in families then.” She doesn't know what happened to the family, or how many survived.
Rose Evans, a young woman from Pencader in West Wales was admitted to Ward 4.
It was a very traumatic experience for her because her family were unable to visit because of the distance .
She refused to eat.
A local family, the Hughes family in Pen-y-cae, befriended her and Tess Hughes the daughter remembers her family smuggling in home-made soup for Rose to eat.
“She loved our soup. It was a turning point for her. She started to eat again,” says Tess.
Eventually Rose was moved on to Sully and the family lost touch with her.

( N.B. Visiting hours - The young adults were allowed visiting every weekend . Children had visitors one weekend a month).

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