Thursday, November 15, 2007

Valerie Brent, ex-nurse Craig-y-nos, 1940's

Valerie Brent

Valerie Brent, former nurse at Craig-y-nos during the 1940’s and author of Life isn’t all kiwi and oranges, rang to say she met up for coffee with two ex patients in the Dolphin hotel in Swansea.

They were Mary Richard's ( nee Driscoll) and Vera Blewett ( nee Paris).

Vera was admitted as an 18 month old toddler in 1942.

She was in the Glass Conservatory but before Valerie Brent’s time (1945-47).

However she was keen to find out from Valerie what it would have been like for her to have been in Craig-y-nos as a toddler.

Her own mother died of TB before she came out and her father was away in the war. He subsequently remarried and she did not learn until she was 17 years of age that her stepmother was not in fact her real mother.

Now she is anxious to try and piece together her own early history.

Valerie was able to paint a picture of life in the Glass Conservatory during the 1940’s.

Valerie told her how the sweetie tin would be handed around three times a day after each meal, how the nurses would have singsongs in the ward with the children: ”The sun has got its hat on” and “Its a hap..happy day.”

Most of the children would be kept in cots and most would be tied to the bed: ”You had to otherwise they would get out.” Every so often though a nurse would unloosen the restraints and play with a child.

“But you were not allowed to leave a child untied alone, so it would only be for a short time.”

She remember two and three year olds “having little tantrums”.

Gastric lavages were carried out on children in the Glass Conservatory starting from about around three years of age.

Valerie recalls:
“ You had to watch your fingers because the children would bite you.”

Valerie recently took two visitors up to see Craig-y-nos Castle.
“They made us welcome and gave us a free cup of coffee.

Vera Blewett ( nee Paris) would love to make contact with either staff or former patients from the early 1940’s.
If you would like to contact me then I will pass the details on to Vera. e-mail:

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