Sunday, October 18, 2009

Frances Heenan (nee Purcell)- Ward 2, 1953-54

Frances Purcell e-mailed me after googling Craig-y-nos.

She is the only one, to my knowledge, to have come forward who spent most of her time inside Ward 2. ( This is curious because most of the children, around 15-18, were in fact inside the ward with only 6-8 girls on the balcony. )

Frances wrote:

"I was a patient in Ward 2 at Craig-y-Nos Hospital from 1953-54.

The girls called me Percy because my maiden name was Frances Purcell.

I would love to hear from anyone remembers me or would like to write to me?

If so, you are very welcome to write to me at my email address:

I very much look forward to hearing from any of you.

I was mostly in the ward but was on the balcony for some months. It was winter and so very cold, a hot water bottle froze in one of the girls' beds.

The doctors

Dr Mullhall

Dr Williams

I wonder if Dr Mullhall is still with us? ( Yes he is still alive and living near Brecon - Ann)
Both he and Dr.Williams were loved by all the girls. After their rounds we would all say who we liked the best, a bit naughty for girls so young.


Gwyneth Davies suffered from asthma and Dr Huppert put her out on the balcony during a foggy spell in the hope that it would cure her. She had a severe attack one night . Even as a young girl Gwyneth wanted to be a doctor and she became one .

"I remember the Christian names of some of the girls on the ward; there was Brenda with short dark hair, Ann Norris who was there before I arrived, Gwyneth a lovely girl with long brown hair, who had severe asthma, Marilyn who was told her mother had died, someone pulled the curtains around her and left her to cry. There was a girl with lovely red hair from Swansea, I can't remember her name. Her parents gave her a big doll. "

"The Children of Craig-y-nos" by Ann Shaw and Carole Reeves is published by the Wellcome Trust Centre for the History
of Medicine, UCL , price £9.99 and is available from Waterstones and most major bookshops or from Amazon online.

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