Saturday, January 26, 2008

Riding the doctor's ponies (mid 1956-57)

Pam riding Lady

The teenage girls from Ward 2 used to slip away and ride the ponies belonging to Dr Williams' daughters, Ruth and Mary, while they were away at boarding school.

This was yet another example of how the sanatorium regime, especially for some teenagers after the introduction of life-saving drugs, was viewed quite differently in the mid 1950s, and it is reflected in this account by Christine Bennett.

Christine's story:

"We weren't allowed over the bridge. That was meant to be the limit of our wanderings. Lady, however, was restricted to the other side of the bridge in the woods and around the big lake where there were swans. As the bridge was clearly visible from the hospital, crossing it was risky. However, it didn't stop us from crossing it to ride Lady but we had to be furtive!!"

Beryl with Tosca

" It was a lot easier in the Summers. The river level was lower which meant that, if we went down past the tennis courts, we could ford the river without being seen from the hospital . When on the other bank, then we could move up through the woods without being seen from the hospital. That way, we could get to ride Lady and access the lake to see the swans without getting caught!!"

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