Friday, June 27, 2008

Catherine Ann Creighton ( nee Morgan) - 1954

Sometimes whole families were in Craig-y-nos. The Morgans were one such family in the 1950s when all five were in at the same time including the mother who was given special leave for one day to go home to bury her youngest child.

Alan, one of the Morgan family, in the Glass Conservatory.
This is his sister, Catherine's, story:

“ I have no happy memories of my time there” says Catherine Creighton ( nee Morgan) from Tredegar.

“I was 6 in 1954 and I went into Craig-y-nos for one year and ten months.

“My sister Gaynor was with me in this big van, I think it was an ambulance, and I was singing “Take me back to the Black Hills”.
I didn't want to go to the hospital.

I didn't like it when I got there.
Some of the nurses, one in particular Nurse Taylor, was horrid.
She would pull me by the arm and threaten me if I didn't behave.
She put me in this room, which to me seemed like a dungeon, it was where they chucked old toys and she used to say that if I didn't behave myself she would lock me in there, and as a child you do get frightened.
Yes, I have to say I was wicked, not evil, just wicked in my own way.

I couldn't see my Mam and my Dad except once a month and I missed them.

They used to restrain me for days. I can remember my father coming one day and I was restrained and he played hell with the nurse’s cause I was tied down to the bed.

There was a time when they would come around with tomato soup and if you didn't eat it they would pour it down your throat.
They would say to me:” If you don't eat it you will get it later” and I have never liked tomato soup since.

They used to threaten me terrible with the food. I can’t remember whether it ever came back for the next meal or not only that they did threaten us all the time that it would.

I had no appetite. I can’t remember being happy in there.

I used to think that I only lived over those mountains. .

The older girls used to take me out on the lake and I am afraid of water. A swan pecked me and I have been terrified of the water ever since.

Dr Huppert with Sister Powell in the Glass conservatory. (child unknown.)

Dr Huppert? She was German. She was a cruel bugger. She was another who used to threaten me.

I didn't like her at all. She used to frighten me.

(I tell her about a woman who had a home visit from Dr Huppert to see her sick child and the child curled up in bed in fright when she saw her and Dr Huppert pulled the clothes back and grabbed her and said:” You are a spoilt child!”)

Nurse Glenys Davies

“There was one nice nurse and I really loved her.
Her name was Glenys Davies.

I had injections. I was bad. I used to roll up in a ball and bite my toenails. I remember I ripped my toe and I had a cradle over it.

My sister Gaynor had pneumonia in there. We were in bed next to each other.
She was very ill and I kept saying:”Our Gaynor will pull through.”

She said to me one day:” Guess who came to see me last night?

Adelina Patti portrait in Brecon Town Hall

“Who?” says I
“Adelina Patti and her ladies in waiting!”

She told me at the time that they were around her bed but she can’t remember that. What she remembers now is seeing them walking around the grounds.

But she got better after that.


I remember them saying I had to have my tonsils out but they took Gaynor’s out by mistake.

My bother, Allan was already in and my youngest sister Margaret died in there of TB meningitis. My mother was admitted too.
I never had any contact with my mother not that I can remember; now I think it was a rotten thing to do to children.
Once we were up and going out into the grounds we could wave to her.

The doctors told her she had only six weeks to live and she said “No way. I have got five children and I have got to live to look after them.”
She told me this later.

My Dad was a good man. He came down every month to see us.

I wanted to see my mother more than anything but the only way I could see her was through that glass window (her mother was in the Annexe).

They were cruel. I can remember my Dad saying that the Red Cross were sending parcels in for us but I can never remember receiving any. They used to open everything.

I used to cry every time he came in:” Daddy take me home!”


Death of youngest sister
I can remember them letting my mother out for one day to bury my sister Margaret.

The undertaker said to my mother:” She is too pretty to live.”
She had a pink bonnet on. She had TB meningitis.

Life after Craig-y-nos.
Eventually Ann did go home, back to a house that was condemned:
“It was in a bad way and we did eventually move into a council house. But I was happy there.
Those were the happiest time in my memories because we were all together again as a family even though we had no electricity, only paraffin lamps, cold water and ordinary tin baths and a toilet out of the back in the garden and we loved it.”

Her father was killed in a pit accident when she was a teenager and her mother died five years later. Her uncle sexually abused her.
“ I did not have a normal childhood.”

“When I was 13 I was dragged in to a car. I don't know where I was taken. This man was asking the way and he pulled me in the car and he abused me. I never told anyone. I kept it all bottled up and I think that was the start of the nerves, and loosing the baby, I never grieved.

“I have been living on my nerves all my life. I was on antidepressants for 10 years. Then they took me off them and I went ‘cold turkey’ and had a complete breakdown. I couldn’t go out of the door for 18 months. I am still on valium.
I never had a child and I wish I had. Now it’s all gone, water under the bridge.

She worked in a number of factories locally. However, since she met her second husband she says::
“At last I think my life is coming together.”

As for Craig-y-nos, the legacy from her stay there is that she craves:” fresh air...I always feel I want the fresh air.”
But I don’t think about my time there ‘cause I have no happy memories.”

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