Saturday, July 05, 2008

Jean Clements - 1948- "father electrocuted"

Craig-y-nos Castle

Octogenarian Jean Clements from Clydach, rings wanting to talk about Craig-y-nos.

It was as if it was yesterday, so fresh in her mind is that memory of her ten weeks there in 1948.

She had lost weight, she had started to fade away. They thought she had TB. She was only 19 years of age and had just got married. So they sent her to Craig-y-nos.

But she was suffering from shock.

“My dad was electrocuted.
I went into total shock for my Dad was my life. I stopped eating,” says Jean.
Her father was an electrician’s mate in the local power station and he was only 42 years of age.

Barbara Pye, one of the first to receive the trial drug streptomycin in Craig-y-nos

Jean was put into the Annexe with other young women and she remembers Barbara Pye (“a very glamourous young woman with long red hair”).

In fact she still has a drawing Barbara did of her leg!

Jean remembers the night prowler who threw stones at the Annexe windows, and how frightened the women were and Barbara Pye’s husband, a policeman, organised night watches though they never did discover the culprit.

(left) Sister Outram with Dr Huppert

But her one big memory of her ten weeks there is of Sister Outram.

“She caught me knitting on a Sunday. She gave me the most terrible row. ‘Sunday is God’s day. You must do nothing’.

“ I was stopped straightaway.”

Sister Outram also forbade nails to be cut, or filed though she did allow those who were up to go for little walks in the grounds.

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