Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Dr Helen Turner, Craig-y-nos -late 1920s/early 1930s

Dr Helen Turner, Craig-y-nos

I have just received an email from the son, James McNie, of Dr Helen Turner, MB ChB (Edin) TDD (Cardiff) who had been a young house surgeon in the late 1920s/early 1930s at Craig-y-nos.

He says:
" She died at 93, in 1995, but had always spoken with affection of the beauty of the gardens and the countryside around Craig-y-Nos, and of her experiences there, as a young physician, barely in her thirties.

I was staggered to find that on the upper floors, some of the layout remains unchanged from its time as a hospital, even still having french windows opening onto the balconies I can remember her telling me that patients would be wheeled out onto, in almost all weathers, for the fresh air. Rather more sobering, signs for the morgue were still extant.
I was profoundly moved to think both of her time there as a young physician, and of the young patients who must have spent a considerable portion of their young lives there, if indeed they survived.

gift to Dr Turner-artist C.Marks

Whilst there, she was presented with two paintings by a local artist, C. Marks, a copy of one of which I attach. I am hoping that if you live in Wales you may be able to positively identify the scenes depicted. I never found out whether Marks was a patient, or an admirer, or both! In the event you may know anything of the artist himself, I would be fascinated to learn more about him, too.

If you know of any group photographs taken of the staff in the early 1930s, and where I could see copies of them, either on the web, or elsewhere, I would be most appreciative of an opportunity to see if I could identify my mother in any of them. It appears that your Group is more from around the 1950s, but it occurs to me that there may be a more complete history covering its earliest era as a TB sanatorium. From Craig-y-nos, she also went to Talgarth Sanatorium, which is not so far away, but which I have not visited. In her old age, she also spoke often of some beautiful caves nearby the castle, but I have not been able to visit them yet - task for another day!"

Frst of all, does anyone remember Dr Turner? I am pretty certain that some ex-patients have mentioned her name but I need to check all my files to see when and who they were.

Secondly, can anyone throw any light on the painting either of the artist C. Marks or the scene depicted?

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