Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The "Box room" - 1950

Sister Winnie Morgan

Does anyone remember the “Box Room”? the place so called because it was like a box and didn't have any windows. That’s where the very sick children and the naughty were put.

Well, that’s what I was told shortly after arriving in Craig-y-nos.

I had only been there a few days when something happened that was to make a lasting impression on my life. And it centred on the “ `Box Room”

Many “children of Craig-y-nos” have mentioned how they in hospital to become watchful. I know I did.

And I can trace the start of it back to an evening when something happened, an incident that would remain with me for the rest of my life, perhaps because of the injustice of it all .

It was early evening, and we were waiting for supper. Trays and cutlery had been handed out. ( All with bits of coloured wool attached so that you got the same one at each meal time).

Mid-March, a day in which it had never got really light and now the wind howled through the ward in the castle for all the windows and French doors on to the balcony were open : day and night.

Dorothy with nurse

Boredom hung in the air.

Dorothy my new friend, in the bed next to me, several years older than me, aged 9, started to taunt Marion in the bed opposite.

Even I knew within a few days of being in Craig-y-nos that Marion had a temper. It took little to make her angry.

Marion start to shout. She became angry. Delighted Dorothy goaded her even more.

Marion had her knife and fork in her hand and started waving them about.

“I will throw them at you,” she said. “ If you don’t shut up!”

“Go on,” challenged Dorothy.

And Marion threw the knife across the ward at Dorothy. It landed on the floor.

Suddenly there was a tremendous commotion the ward and girls started screaming:”Marion is throwing knives! Marion is throwing knives!”.

Sister Morgan rushed in.

“What’s going on here?”

All the girls started shouting at once.
“I have had enough of this,” said Sister Morgan.
She took hold of Marion’s bed and pulled it out.

She called for assistance. Other staff rushed in and those girls who were up joined in too and pushed Marion’s bed out of the ward.

She was taken to “The Box Room”, never to be seen again.

On revisiting Craig-y-nos 50 years later I looked for the “Box Room” and I could not find it, except the Day Room on the top floor, never used as a Day Room for it was always stuffed with junk, and a couple of other mysterious attic rooms which we, as children, never knew existed.

So what did happen to Marion?...

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