Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Olive Bell- 1950's

Its seven years since I started this blog in my search for the “lost children of Craig-y-nos”.

It soon became obvious that the children were far from lost but alive and eager to tell their stories.

In 2009 medical historian Dr Carole Reeves and myself published the book ”The Children of Craig-y-nos” with help from the Wellcome Trust Centre for rhe History of Medicine at UCL.

Olive Bell outside the summerhouse in the grounds of Craig-y-nos castle.

Now it is the children of those “ lost children of Craig-y-nos” who contact me eager to piece together their family history.  Usually their mother has died and they have found some photos in her belongings and they write and ask if I can tell them anything about Craig-y-nos.  All they know is that their mother was there and she never talked about it.

View of the balconies- children were kept outside all year round

Andy Silva is the latest to come forward with his own family history.

His mother was there in Craig-y-nos in the 1950s as a young adult.
He says she remembers foxes coming to the window!

“My Mums maiden name was Olive Gwenllian Bell .

She was from Swansea and was born 11th Sept 1918.  She passed away 1st July 2011. 

 After leaving the ATS after the war she contracted TB.

 She often spoke of the friends she made there and of foxes coming to the windows. 

She did not talk about her treatment except to say she went through some very painful procedures. 

Olive was in Craig - y- nos in the early 50s for a couple of years.

During the last few years of her life she had many visits to the hospital, on one occasion the doctors asked about the scars on the upper portion of her chest.  She revealed that her lungs were partially deflated and had had the top sections isolated because of the damage caused.  This was of great interest to the medical staff who had heard of the procedure but had never actually seen evidence of it.  Needless to say a great many x rays were taken for the record.
unknown children in the grounds

One photo gives timing for the walks she had to take. Fifteen minutes to the 
chalet and half an hour to the lake.”

Thank you Andy for sharing your mother's memories with us.

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