Monday, December 21, 2009

Ivy Stokes - St Brides

I pick up the phone in Scotland. It's a call from Newport in South Wales and a lilting Welsh voice asks about St Brides.

It's Ivy Stokes, searching for her missing Welsh history, time spent as a child in this TB sanatorium on the Pembrokeshire coast.

Did I know of anyone there? She would love to be able to talk to someone who had shared her experiences.

Ivy was a patient Kensington hospital 1941-45 age 10 years.

I give her David Pearce's phone number . He runs a blog for ex-patients.

I do not normally carry stories about other sanatoriums but Ivy's account is so similar to the Craig-y-nos experience that I thought it worth telling it here although I am sure David will be running it on his blog too.

Ivy Stokes asked her granddaughter if she would help her search on the internet for Kensington Hospital.
“ I would love to meet someone who was there the same time as me,” says Ivy, age 77 from Newport.

“I was there as a 10 years old from 1941 for three and a half years. After I left my mother wouldn’t let me keep in contact with any of the other children. TB was all “ hush hush “ in those days and she was afraid of bringing it back into the house again.”

Now suffering form osteoporosis and arthritis she finds herself thinking about those early days as a child in plaster out on the balcony in Kensington hospital.

“I remember shivering from cold and how we used to pray for it to rain so that we would be wheeled back indoors again.”

She also remembers being strapped to the bed.
“ It was for my own good. It was to make me keep still”.

She remembers being in the Girl Guides, and the day World War 2 ended.
“There was a party. Everyone kept saying” the war has ended the war has ended.”

On returning home at 13 half years of age she went back to school for six months.

“ Nobody talked about TB then. It was all “ hush hush”. But it leaves a mark on you as a patient. I keep myself to myself. I am quiet. I am not a good mixer.

“I got a job in a factory sewing shirts. Then I got married and had two children. Now I have six grandchildren.”

If you were in Kensington in the early 1940s then Ivy would love to hear from you.

Her phone number is: 01633 768651

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