Thursday, May 29, 2008

Hay Festival 2008

Mud glorious mud....that's the reason for no blogs. Can't carry the laptop along with wellies, umbrellas, cagoules etc to the Festival site from the carpark without getting soaked.

Today the rain has stopped but they have closed all the car parks because the fields are now deep in mud ( yesterday you were only allowed in one if you had your wellies on). So have found a free Wi Fi site in the Granary restaurant this evening and, more important, a car park space.
The police are busy sticking parking fine tickets on all the cars parked on the Llanignon road which I think is a bit steep since there is literally nowhere to park.

Oh yes we had a citizen arrest on the Festival site last night. George Moinboit tried to grab the former US American ambassador John Bolton to the United Nations on his part in the illegal war in Iraq.

He had primed~Brecon police and the media beforehand so everyone was prepared.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Mary Slater (nee Davies)- Hay Festival

Ann ( left) and Caroline in Scotland.
"We live within 15 miles of each other. I don't have a photo of Mary as she is today. She recognized me from my blog" - Ann

Mary Slater (nee Davies left,) Ann Shaw ( nee Rumsey( in bed) and Caroline Boyce (nee Havard)

Standing in the queue at the Hay Festival yesterday a woman next to me says:"Are you Ann Shaw?"


" I was four beds away from you in hospital. I am Mary Slater."

You could have knocked me down with the proverbial feather. I couldn't place the tall distinguished looking woman standing there with anyone from my childhood in Craig-y-nos.

Nows of course when I checked my blog I know instantly. This is the red-haired girl who went on to become a senior manager within the National Health Service.

My apologies Mary!

Florence with Mrs Shakeshaft

Florence on the balcony of Ward 2 with Jean Shakeshaft's mother.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Barbara Paines 1952-53

I started work when I was sixteen, I did have a few jobs until I found one in a polish factory that suited me. I was quite happy as the bosses were really nice. If I had a bad day they would give me the easy jobs.

I got married when I was twenty one, I had a daughter who was born with no problems. On having my second daughter I found out that I was having a blue baby. Which meant she was born premature and had to have her blood changed. I lost my first son who was also blue and died at birth. I then had two more sons which had the same problem as my second daughter. The last three children all weighed under 5 lbs. They were all christened at birth, my two boys were two months old before they were allowed home. Each of them were given the BCG jab when they were born as a precaution, luckily they were alright.

My sisters first daughter died of TB meningitis when she was four years old. My sister was taken into Sully hospital with her two young boys, so the whole family had to have regular check-ups at Cathedral Road, Cardiff. My youngest daughter then had TB when she was in the juniors age nine, so we were back and forth to the chest clinic yet again.

My father then passed away in 1983 with cancer, my mother moved in with me. She was with me a while until she got her own flat, she then got TB and had to go into hospital for a couple of weeks. My mother passed away then at the age of 88 in 1995.

I enjoy being outdoors, I like gardening and walking even though I am shattered when I get back home.

I also like crochet, knitting, sewing and puzzles as it keeps me occupied. I am still not free of hospitals as I have osteoporosis, so I go for regular infusions and scans.

But I have got good family, friends and neighbours that help me out with jobs that I can’t do on my own.
But you carry on and not give in after all we have all had to fight, otherwise we wouldn't be here to tell our stories.”

Hay Book Festival-2008

If posts get a bit erratic over the next few days it is because I am at the Hay Book Festival. Sometimes access to the internet gets a bit erratic. The area is Wi-Fi but it still means I haveto carry the laptop from my converted barn to the festival site. Rain, gales, mud..yes it is typical Hay Festival weather today though yesterday was grand with lots of sunshine, people eating ice-cream and lying on the grass reading The Guardian newspaper.

Today it is survival time ploughing through fields of mud and struggling to keep dry.

Hay is "neither here nor there" - neither English nor Welsh.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Barbara Paines 1952-53

(from left to right) Jean Griffiths, Barbara Paines and Jean Shakeshaft in the grounds of Craig-y-nos Castle

I can remember meeting Norman Wisdom, he came into the hospital with Ann Morris’ father.
Norman Wisdom was telling us how to escape from the hospital by tying the sheet together and getting over the wall.

On the Christmas we had a pantomime with Harry Secombe and afterwards he came on to the wards to see the ones who couldn't go down to watch and he was really funny.

One night inside Ward 2 a few of us were messing around after lights out, I was by Rose Ryan's bed when we heard someone coming. So I got into Rose's bed when I heard it was matron, I was so frightened I wet in her bed.

They were changing her bed in the morning and she got into trouble. But she didn't say it was me because we would have all been in for it.

I can remember the time that Dr Huppert was stuck in the lift and Sister Morgan saying: “A shilling to look” .
Quite often when we heard Dr Huppert in the lift upstairs we would open our lift door so that she couldn't do go down.

Then there was the Coronation and we all sat around a small black and white television to watch. After it had finished we all received a certificate and a small mug and a coin that I still have. I also still have a book given me called “The Little Men.”

Once you were on so many hours a day you were allowed into the grounds more, you had to make sure you had your meals. We used to go for walks down to the lake and a have a bit of fun on the boats.

When I was out on the balcony my bed was right by the locker where the school bags were kept, so I had the job of handing them out to the other girls. They were green bags with ties on and also your name. One day I was doing my work and I could hear a lot of bees buzzing above me, so I started shouting.

Miss White came to my bed and told me not to be so stupid and sent me into the corridor, until I could behave myself.

That night I put all the bags back into the cupboard but I placed them all to the front, so that when I was told to get the bags out they fell to the floor Miss White was shouting at me to pick them up, so as I did I started throwing them off the balcony. I think three of us were sent downstairs to retrieve them

Another time I remember tipping water over the balcony, while Miss White was downstairs. She must have been leaning on the balcony as she got all wet.

The following morning she came on to the ward shouting “whose the one throwing water off the balcony?” nobody answered her.

High jinx on the balcony: Jean Shakeshaft(left) and Barbara Paines

I didn't have many clothes as I had been in bed for over a year at home, so one of the girls altered a pleated skirt to fit and then I ended up with a little wardrobe so that I could go out with all the girls.

Whilst going out for walks we had to go past the Six Bedder ward, I looked in one day and saw this young woman who waved at me. After that we used to talk to her and she used to pass little notes to us. There was myself and Mari Jenkins, she gave us both a photograph of herself.

Mine was somehow torn in half. I only have the top half, when I look at it I can still see her smiling face. Her name was Joyce Reece and she was 23 and married to Ken and they had a three year old son called Stephen.

I think I was up for about eight hours a day because we did have more time to ourselves. We were out in the grounds more, we used to go to the field to help Edgar and Alfie, put the hay on the back of the trailer. When it was full we would have a ride to the bottom of the field . I think that was the best part of my stay in hospital, because I was free and out in the open.

Then came the time when I was told that I would be going home soon. I started crying and Dr Huppert said :”I told you that you would be crying because you don't want to go home.”
But she was wrong.

I did enjoy my stay at the hospital because our ward was one big happy family. But I don't think it would have been if it wasn't for Sister Morgan and Auntie Maggie and Annie Reece, Nurse Davies, Nurse Moidwen Edgar and Alfie Repado, who had told the staff he was my cousin because our mother had met on the bus one day, when my mother was coming to visit me.

And not forgetting all the girls that were on the ward with me , and the rest of the staff and doctors that I have not mentioned.

( Second extract from Barbara's own account of her stay in Craig-y-nos)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Barbara O'Connell (nee Paines) 1952-53

Craig-y-nos Castle (the red crosses mark Ward 2)

“The first time I arrived outside this big house, I said to my mother I'm not going in there. I started crying and said take me back home mum I don't want to go in there. But ended up being in there for about 12 months, from 1952-53.

Barbara O'Connell (nee Paines)
I'm not sure what happened when we got inside because I was crying too much. I was taken in a lift to the upstairs and put to bed in this big ward. Where I was left to settle down.

Dr Huppert
The following day I was seen by the famous Dr Huppert whom I took a dislike to straight away.

As time went by I did get used to being there, but it was a case you had to be because there was nowhere else to go.

When we graded on to so many hours a day, we were allowed to go to the pictures. I remember watching the “Scarlett Pimpernel” and “Tony draws a horse”. We were also allowed to go to a little shop that was down in the basement where you could buy stationery, toiletries and other things.

We did have nice food, I can remember waiting for the Wednesday because we used to have rabbit stew. I was turned off boiled eggs because they were boiled for so long that the inside was black and the yolk was all dried up. to this day I cannot sand the smell of them. Another thing that I liked was the moose it came in different flavours, I liked the chocolate one the best. But I had not tasted this until I came to the hospital. We also had pilchards for breakfast, which I thought was unusual to have for breakfast. But I got used to it.

Whilst I was in hospital my three older sisters were taken into hospital with TB. They were all in Denbigh, so my mother was back and forth between the two hospitals. Plus looking after my youngest sister who had been in a sanatorium with TB meningitis, so she really had her share of worries.

I used to have a gastric lavage every month, you used to be taken into this little room for it. I thought they were trying to choke me, when the tube was pushed down the back of my throat I thought I was going to die as I couldn't breathe properly .
That was the most terrifying that that had ever happened to me.

This is the first extract from Barbara's own written account -more will follow over the next couple of days.

Collective intelligence and collective memories

Rachel Lewis (known as “Ray”) went into Craig-y-nos in 1951.
One of the big advantages of using the internet to write"The Children of Craig-y-nos", a record of the collective memories of children who were in this TB sanatorium, is that the web also allows for the input of other people to.

So I am able to tap into the collective intelligence of the whole community. Take today for example. I have just received a letter from Ann Morris pointing out that the photo I attributed on the web to her mother sitting in a deckchair knitting was not in fact her mother but someone else.

unknown woman knitting on the balcony

I am very grateful to Ann for pointing this out. When you are dealing with a period of photographs taken over 60 years ago it is often very difficult to ascertain the correct names so I do indeed rely on the collective intelligence of those who remember the people who were in Craig-y-nos at the time.

Ray's father, Ivor Thomas, with Staff Nurse Mathews on the left.

Ann has also been able to identify the people in this photograph.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Post traumatic stress syndrome?...

Are any of the “Children of Craig-y-nos” suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome?

I mention this after listening to a television programme on memory .

They said that a characteristic of post traumatic stress was the clarity and freshness with which people remembered a painful event even though years have passed.

This is certainly the case with many of the Craig-y-nos stories .

It appears that when the right memory buttons are pressed all that time spent in Craig-y-nos comes rushing back.

And they are not all joyful ones...


Monday, May 19, 2008

Myra Elizabeth Rees (née Thomas), age 7, 1943 – 1 year

Myra Elizabeth Rees (née Thomas) was in Craig-y-nos as a seven year old for one year in 1943.

“I have no sad thoughts about being in Craig-y-nos.” - Myra

"I’m one of nine children,( my mother buried some) and after my older sister died of TB, she was 15, we were all tested.

I was the skinny one and I was so puny and ill-looking that they took me into hospital for observation. I was one year in Craig-y-nos, in 1943, then a year and a half in Llanybyther.

But I don’t know if I had TB…

My father took me on the bus to Craig-y-nos.

They searched my hair for nits then put me to bed and I remember crying for my mother. I was in a state … I didn’t understand what was happening to me.

Sister Morgan with an an adult young patient

Myra remembers little about her year in Craig-y-nos except “ there were no sad memories”.
“The only person I remember is Sister Morgan. She was a white-haired woman and she was a bit strict, but I didn’t dislike her.
Nobody was nasty. I can’t remember anybody being nasty.

“ There was a woman who cleaned the floors. She always used to throw tea leaves … you know the tea leaves that have been used for making tea? She used to scatter that over the floor.
(Many children have referred to this method of floor cleaning and it is clear that it fascinated them ).

Her father visited her regularly, though her mother only on two occasions for she was pregnant again and the journey to Craig-y-nos by public transport was long and involved several bus changes. Sometimes her father walked from their home in Banwen to Craig-y-nos.

“We had to go out every day, for walks, and you would be given a little white shoulder bag on your shoulder and they used to give you cheese and a tomato in this thing and we had to eat that while we were out.

I didn’t like cheese so I used to throw it away.

I think the food was allright but I was such a poor eater, a terrible eater.

Returning to Craig-y-nos many years she said:
I could smell the same smells of the trees.

I didn’t go there till I got married. My husband took me in the car.
We didn’t have a car when I was a child … it wasn’t a very easy place to get to … well, you had to catch so many buses, you know, to Craig-y-nos. It wasn’t very far really when you go by a car.

Today Myra lives in Glynneath.
“I was living in Banwen when I was little, on the Banwen Road, between Banwen and Glynneath.

When I started school they put me to sit by this girl who lived not far from me.
And her mother objected to me sitting next to her. I always remember that, but I sat with somebody else then. That was a little bit of a stigma.

On leaving school Myra went to work in a factory and has enjoyed good health all her life.
“I’ve been married now a long time. I’ve got two children and I’ve got four grandchildren and I’m a great-grandmother.

Her memories of her time in hospital are hazy:
I just remember that I knew I was in hospital, and do you know, like you get used to being there. And when they take you away from Craig-y-nos, it’s a bit of a wrench.

I think it was because I didn’t go home. I went to another place. I can’t explain my feelings but I didn’t feel glad or anything, you know. I cried when I got in there first … I remember crying for my mother.

When she did eventually come home again it did feel a bit strange.
“I still knew my sisters names and everything, but I hadn’t seen my youngest sister because she wasn’t born before I went in.
And I was talking a bit different
I was amongst different people and I picked up their way of talking.

I expect I was saying lots of things different.

We didn’t have no running water, no electric or anything. We had coal fires, that’s all, and my mother had a place to cook and things like that.

We bathed in a tin bath. We didn’t have none of the mod cons where we lived, and we used to walk two miles to school every day and walk home.

We lived on the outskirts of Banwen. I always had company, you see, with my brother and sisters. We’d go further on and there’d be some more children living nearer the school and we’d be catching up with them too, and we’d be walking with them as well.

Then, of course, the Labour Government came in then and we had taxis to go to school because we were living more than two miles from the school.

I’ve got cousins over the Rhondda … they used to come down in the summer to us because we were a lot of children.

My father’s sister, she had ten children, and some of them used to come down and stay with us for the summer holidays. My mother was from a farm.
My granny gave my mother and my father land to build a bungalow. That’s why we built a bungalow.

So, we had a lovely childhood."

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Rachel Ann Lewis( "Ray") - 1951/52

Rachel, better known as "Ray", on the balcony with members of staff.

This is from the collection of photos belonging to her daughter Ann Morris. Does anyone know the names of any members of staff in this photo? if so please

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The past is a foreign country

We interpret it in different ways from varying perspectives depending on our experiences at the time.

And this is true of “The Children of Craig-y-nos”.

What to one child was a horrific experience - like having a gastric lavage to another was merely “something they did to you...”

Also, it is possible for one person to have different memories of the same event depending on who they are talking to and the time lapse between the stories.

I came across a clear-cut case of this today while editing one story.

Doris ( not her real name) was in Craig-y-nos in the late 1940s “for observation."

She first contacted me about a year ago . These are some of her memories :

On Dr Huppert
“That short limpy woman? she was nasty! I was petrified of her. She shouted at me to get my pinky curlers out of my hair.”

1947 blizzard

“Some were moved indoors but I was kept on the balcony during the blizzard. My Gran asked if it was right that we should be left out there in those conditions and she was told that it was part of the treatment.

gastric lavage
“ I used to have a tube pushed down into my stomach. I don't know what for.”

Five months later she gave an official oral history recording and I had to double-check that it was the same person.

“I remember Dr Huppert. She was short and used to walk with a limp and you could hear her coming, like, but she was good.”

“My mother did ask why we were out, but I don't think I was out there the next time they came because they (sanatorium staff) told them then that that was the treatment.”

“And I had this tube thing going down. It's only to sort of make you heave and make you get up whatever it is. It wasn't too bad.”

It is just that the second version in all these accounts has become sanitised. I had been warned that this would happen in recording memories of people.

It is not that people are being economical with the truth but the simple fact that the more we talk about the past the safer it becomes, a haven, a place of nostalgia.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Talk - "The Children of Craig-y-nos"

Dr Carole Reeves, Outreach Historian with The Wellcome Centre for the History of Medicine, University College London has been asked to talk at a very prestigious conference this autum in London on "The Children of Craig-y-nos".

She says: " I have been asked to give another paper on the
Children of Craig-y-nos - at the British Society for the History of
Paediatrics and Child Health annual conference (12-13 September 2008) at the
Courtauld Institute, London. "

Who would have thought that our stories would one day become embedded in the history of medicine?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Jean Shakeshaft - 1953

Jean Shakeshaft (left), other girls unknown

Just spoken to Barbara Paines. She decided to trawl through the phone book to see if she could contact any of the girls from Ward 2.

She got through straightaway to the brothers of Rosina Davenport and Jean Shakeshaft, only to be told that they had died. Rosina passed away five years ago in South Africa having suffered from heart problems.

And Jean Shakeshaft died of cancer.
Barbara rang Norma Pearce with the news.

" Norma said she went quite cold " says Barbara. There's a silence. We both feel a shiver going down our spines.

In my imagination the "Children of Craig-y-nos" are forever children running around the grounds of former opera diva Adelina Patti's castle.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Unknown trio - early 1950s

I came across this photo in Mari Jenkins collection. It has no names.
Does anyone remember these girls?

If so , let me know. annshaw@mac.. Or ring .01786.832287.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Relationships: The doctor and the teacher

Dr Huppert

Miss White

As children we all knew that Miss White the teacher and Dr Huppert were close friends, that Miss White would carry tales to Dr Huppert relaying all our naughtiness when they shared afternoon tea together.

But as adults looking back perhaps we have a greater understanding of that relationship between the two women.

Both were outsiders: Miss White an English woman,( I think) and Dr Huppert an Austrian Jewish emigre. Neither would have fitted easily into this close-knit Welsh community.

Why both, independent of each other, should have been drawn to Craig-y-nos Castle and to spend the major part of their working lives there remains a bit of a mystery.

Yet these two women, along with Sister Morgan, represented to us, as children the official face of "grown-ups": cold, distant, officious. It was left to Nurse Glen, and "Auntie Maggie" to bring some warmth into the wards along with some other members of staff though their names are no longer remembered.

This trio of women - Huppert, White and Morgan-
determined the quality of our every day life in Ward 2. There was an added frisson to this relationship because Sister Morgan did not like either Dr Huppert or Miss White whom she had scant regard for.

It is easy to see how Sister Morgan came to be spending her life in Craig-y-nos Castle but one wonders what brought Miss White to this remote corner of Wales. As for Dr Huppert, she must have been glad to find a niche for herself, especially one where she could exercise her own strident medical regime.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mari Friend ( nee Jenkins), 1950-53

Coronation Year - balcony girls with some of the decorations ( 1953). (Back) Mari Jenkins (front row from left) unknown, Florence, Ann, unknown

Mari went into Craig-y-nos as a nine year old.

" I often think there wasn't a great deal wrong with me but I think a lot of it was to do with the fact that my sister was there.

Sister Outram with Llywella Jenkins

My sister Llywella was sent home and she was in bed on blocks. She had injections every day. She was told she could never have a baby because she wasn't well enough and that she would have to rest every afternoon.
They did worry about other children in the family. I think I was in there as a precaution.

I only remember having one injection with Dr Huppert and it frightened the life out of me. It was one where they stuck a needle in your side. It was quite a big long thick needle and I remember it was when I was in the bed by the piano. I had to lay on my side. I actually saw this big needle coming and I thought 'oh my god'. I don't remember any pain or anything after. I got the distinct impression they were draining something.

I remember having something out of a bottle rather than tablets and I don't like taking medicine now.

"I remember one night seeing someone sitting at the piano with a white sheet over them. I don't know for a fact it was someone because everybody denied it had been them. I was young and didn't think about ghosts. I had heard about ghosts but we did play tricks on each other and I am presuming that was one of them. I could be wrong because nobody ever actually owned up."

I had a doll in there and I've still got it. I remember they checked your parcels.

Alfie Repado, the gardener with Mari and Myfawny boating on the lake. This was all strictly forbidden.

Fun and games
We had a lot of fun in there. I remember midnight feasts on the roof. I spent more time on a 'couple of hours' so I was able to go out some part of the day. I was quite naughty. I would skip around in the night.

Mari on the roof of Craig-y-nost Castle - strictly forbidden!

"Only remember the good bits"
I think when you're young you do forget. It's like having a baby. You do only remember the good bits. I think that must happen with other parts of your life as well. I think we have blocked out parts of it.

I don't remember ever having gastric lavages. I could have blocked it out because it wasn't nice.

I don't remember many bad memories. I just remember the fun we had. Doing silly things like going up on the roof, going to the lake when it was out of bounds and guiding out in the woods.

Christmas 1951 in Craig-y-nos

I don't remember much about Christmas, birthday or visitors but I know I had visitors because I've got photographs of visitors there. I do remember attending concerts and films in the theatre and I'm sure we probably went there for Christmas as well. I had a feeling we used to go every Monday.

Regime at home

I remember at home we all had our own cutlery, our own cups, our own towels. It was a bit of a regime.

I am paranoid about the bed being untidy. I still make beds with hospital corners.

I do open the window every day. I was in hospital recently and it was very hot. The window would only open about 4 inches, 'in case people throw themselves out'. I was telling the doctors and nurses I was a child on a veranda – and people didn't throw themselves out.

Hospital regime
Yes, it was a harsh regime, but it was normal because that was the way they treated patients then. They told you what to do.

The one thing I remember about the floors was that they used to come round every day and throw tea leaves over them and the tea leaves used to pick up all the dust.

Mari with Ann in the background

There was no play room or day room – you just played in the ward.

If you weren't on the veranda you went to visit people out there and you spent your time either in bed or talking to your next-door neighbours.

Matron Knox-Thomas receiving a gift ( we think it is the piano) from Friends of Craig-y-nos in 1952. Mari is in the front row second from the end, right-hand side

I don't remember being cold. I do remember having the tarpaulins and they were sort of tied above your head when it was wet or snowing or whatever.

The only meal I can remember was on a Wednesday when we had rabbit and mousse which I hated and still do.

If you were up you would eat your meals around the big table in the centre of the ward.

I don't remember any form of heating.

Balcony girls 1953. (from left to right - back row)Florence, Maair and Ann. (front row)Myfwany, unknown, unknown.
It was the other patients who helped you to settle. That's why you got so close to them because obviously they were the ones you were in contact with daily. They told you what was going on.

Modern treatment of TB
When I had TB recently, they didn't tell you anything. Just told me to take these tablets every day. They don't tell you not to mix with people. You're never told to rest. In a way I would prefer it if they told you. It goes against everything we were told when we had it originally.

Life after Craig-y-nos
I missed my 11plus and when I came home they wouldn't let me go back to school till I was 14. I went back to school for a whole year before I finished school at 15. I didn't have much education really."

"I found going back home a problem. I found it all rather small. I was used to being in a big ward. My mother said I used to smell all the food.

Mari on the stag

I think the experience of Craig-y-nos does have a long lasting effect. I realise more so now because I have talked about it. I realise now I am paranoid about the bed, I know I'm fussy beyond and I'm still very wary of smells.

I also think that was the reason for me choosing to work in a big shop.

I do think it's only now I realise the effect when you start to think about it. We still have our own cups and saucers. Our cutlery was washed separately. I think my mother must have been told to do that."

Mari worked in a store in Port Talbot and then moved to London to work in Bourne and Hollingsworth:
"I always wanted to work for a big store." ( When I moved to London I stayed in the same hostel as Mari - Ann)

Mari and Ann on the balcony in Craig-y-nos and last year on the balcony of Ann's home in Scotland

Mari is married with one son. After her divorce she returned to Wales and lives in the same street where she was brought up. As a single parent she had to find a way of earning a living and trained as a nursery nurse. She has since re-married.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Joan and Mair - 1951

Joan Powell ( left) and Mair Edwards
Here is a photo of two girls I was very friendly with on the balcony. Joan ( in plaster) was a very close friend of mine. She was in the next bed. After I was moved out of Ward 2 and put next to Joan, a girl of a similar age, my life in Craig-y-nos improved.

Met up with Mair at the first reunion but have not been able to make contact with her again which is a pity because Mair has got a most impressive photographic album. If anyone knows Mair, or if Mair should read please, then please get in touch:

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Shirley Osborne with friend - Ward 2-early 1950s

This is a rare photo taken inside Ward 2 . It shows Shirley Osborne with a friend and comes from Mari Friend ( nee Jenkins) extensive photographic collection.

The most obvious reason for lack of photos inside the ward was insufficient light. Even so this photo is very dark. Many girls remember Shirley, a plaster case, because of the years she was in and afterwards, when she was up, the top half of her body was encased in some giant waistcoat which restricted her movements.

it would be lovely to know what happened to Shirley...and the girl with her.

Friday, May 09, 2008

The Marguerite Hepton Hospital -blog

Jane Freeland and another ex-patient, Fred Dubber are running a blog on childhood experiences in the Marguerite Hepton Hospital
near Leeds. So far they have got nine people who have come forward but they are beginning to generate some media coverage so this should bring in more people.

Do check it out
Marguerite Hepton Hospital

I have also put a link to it on my site ( see side panel).

Thursday, May 08, 2008

My memories of Nurse Glenys Davies – Ann (1950-54)

Nurse Glen and Ann -1950

Opening my Craig-y-nos album, after more than 50 years, gave me quite a jolt. I know not what to expect.

To start with I thought it had been destroyed, burnt in all the kerfuffle of the family farm, Ty-Llangenny, being sold in a vicious family dispute that ended in the Cardiff courts.

But no, my sister-in-law Doreen had saved it.
Now it arrives in the post at my home, Bridge of Allan, a small town on the edge of the Scottish Highlands, which bears more than a passing resemblance to Crickhowell, the area I grew up in.

I open the album with some trepidation. What ghosts from the past will leap out to remind me of my four lost years as a child incarcerated in a remote Welsh castle?

My fears are unfounded. The first photo is of Nurse Glenys Jones and myself, smiling, and wearing a sunhat out on the balcony. Phew! Relief. I flick through the album. These are happy photos.

Auntie Maggie with Ann, 1950

Lots more pictures of Nurse Glen and “Auntie Maggie”, their warmth, humour and friendliness caught forever and immortalised in little 3x3 images taken on my Brownie box camera.

True, there are gaps in the album for mother had edited out those photos where I looked close to death.

Today - Ann and Nurse Glen

and in 1950...

So it was with mixed feelings that I met up again with Nurse Glenys Davies at Craig-y-nos Castle. (“Auntie Maggie”, sadly, having already died some five years earlier).

We chat about the past. For Nurse Glenys is now 82 years of age and after leaving Craig-y-nos where she was for 30 years she left to become manager of a residential home. Thee years later she married and is now Mrs Jones.

“You remember the big table in the middle of the ward where you used to eat your food?” asks Nurse Glenys.
I shake my head. So much has been forgotten.

I have only one memory of that table, of a winter evening in a raging snowstorm and we were brought in from the balcony by a new, very young night nurse who was shocked to find us sleeping outside with snow piling up on our beds.
In fact we were quite happy for snow was a big adventure in our lives and we were all safely ensconced under our tarpaulins. Still we did not object to her plan, sensing some fun ahead for we hardly knew the girls inside Ward 2. They were a separate community even with their own “ward boss” like we too on the balcony had our own “balcony boss”, a position allocated automatically to the eldest girl.

“I will bring your beds into the ward for the night” she said so much to our surprise and delight we were wheeled into the centre of Ward 2.

We are in heaven. We spend the rest of the night- or what seems like the best part of the night, running from bed to bed and dancing on the table.

Sister Morgan is most displeased the following morning to find us installed inside Ward 2 and pushes us back out on you the balcony with the words:
“A bit of snow never harmed anyone”.

Unfortunately, the rumpus resulted in the new night nurse getting a terrible row and she came on duty the following night feeling very hurt.
“You are an ungrateful lot.”

That’s my only memory of the table in Ward 2.

Langford the porter with Ann in wheelchair, and unknown girl , before going for an x-ray

“What about Langford the porter? You must remember him with his trolley.”

Yes, of course, it was from Langford that I bought my comics. How could I ever forget those horror comics I devoured as a 9 year old? ( Years later I gather such magazines were banned from Britain but we read them with great gusto in Craig-y-nos- thanks to Langford and his trolley).

One story remains with me today.
I cannot pass a coach load of people without recalling that macabre tale of the little boy who ran away from home and hitched a lift in the night on a coach. When he got on he realized it was full of dead people all sitting there neatly in their seats…oh yes I remember Langford.

Miss White, the teacher, out on the balcony with Ann ( in bed) and Mary Davies

So the stories come pouring out.

We joke about the ward fire, or rather its absence. For only in the most dire weather conditions would Sister Morgan allow it to be lit.

Nurse Glen concedes:
“Sister Morgan was very tight as far as the coal was concerned. She would say “watch the fires”.
Absolutely. On those rare occasions when we were allowed a fire Miss White, the teacher, would sit hunched cover it as if her life depended on it, which it probably did for unlike us she was not hardened to the cold.

Ann with Bubbles, the budgie

I remind Nurse Glen of my budgies, Bubble and Squeak. Now it is her turn to shake her head.

She has no recollection of them at all though they were a lively presence in Ward 2 for years.

She does remember the tropical aquarium given us by Friends of the Hospital one Christmas.

“What about ghosts?” I ask. After spending 30 years living and working in the castle if there was anyone who should be able to recall strange, eerie happenings in the night then it must surely be Nurse Glen.

“I don't believe a word of it! I was there for 30 years and never saw a thing.
One evening I did decide to play a trick on Nurse Thomas.
I told her to come down at 7.30 to dispensary and I would have the drugs ready for her.
Well, I stood in the doorway with a sheet over my head and I could hear her coming down the long corridor and I jumped out. Oh yes, she got a fright!”

I mention Dr Huppert. But Nurse Glen is very discreet. Of course she remembers her.

And the cat. Thomas? Nurse Glen shudders. She always hated cats and had no time for Thomas who was owned by Dr Huppert but Sister Morgan used to try and entice away with extra food.
“They say Thomas used to sleep on Dr Huppert’s bed,” she says with a touch of disapproval in her voice.

On the back of one photo I have with Nurse Glen I have written, “being prepared” for an x-ray.
“What does that mean?”

“Well, you had been lying for months on your left side on 12 inch blocks. If we were to put you into a wheelchair you would have felt very giddy. So I would spend half an hour with you beforehand helping you to sit up.”

I remind her of some procedure I had called a phrenic. What was it?

All I know is that one morning I was wheeled down to the operating theatre, without warning after breakfast, and they cut something in my neck and I had to wear a plaster on it.

So I ask Nurse Glen, 50 odd years later, what was that all about? She explains.

Like hundreds of other “children of Craig-y-nos” Nurse Glen holds a very special place in all our hearts.

Without her and “Auntie Maggie” Craig-y-nos would have been an even colder and bleaker institution.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Dr Carole Reeves with Lottery cheque

Dr Carole Reeves receives the lottery cheque from the Chief
Administrator, Alan Shiel, of The Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine, University College London for a print-on-demand book of "The Children of Craig-y-nos".

There's an article on the project on the University College of London's website. Click on

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Nurse Glenys Davies - 1943- 73

“I have very happy memories of my time working at Craig-y-nos” - Nurse Glen

Nurse Glenys Jones is remembered with a great deal of affection by ex-patients.

Today Glenys, now in her 80s, still lives in the Swansea valley and, while she is not as active as she was, she still maintains her love of life, her sense of humour and her independence.

She is referred to as “the Rock”, the unchanging figure in the history of Craig-y-nos as a hospital.

For her connection with Craig-y-nos goes back thirty years despite an inauspicious beginning.
Much to the chagrin of her parents, she chose to nurse TB patients instead of working on the family farm.
“I was called up in 1943 (during the Second World War) and I was offered munitions or nursing. I didn’t want munitions so I took up the nursing but then I was restricted. I could only go to Craig-y-nos or to Pembrokeshire, and living just outside Swansea, I thought, ‘Oh, good Lord, it’s a long way from Pembroke. It will be easier to get from Craig-y-nos.’ So I accepted Craig-y-nos.

Father against it
My father wasn’t willing at all (for me to go to Craig-y-nos) because we had a smallholding. There were six boys and myself. My mother had plenty to do, and of course this came as a shock and he wasn’t willing at all, but anyway I had to go.

I wanted to go nursing and he didn’t accept that I was going to a TB hospital. I went to Swansea somewhere to a Board because he was objecting to me being sent to a sanatorium, and I do remember him saying, ‘Well, if she does contract anything, you’ll be responsible.’

I didn’t see any danger really. Mind, we were taught to be most careful. If you were speaking to a patient and the patient was coughing, (you were taught) to turn your head a little, but not to make it obvious to the patient. If they offered you a sweet, to take it but pretend you couldn’t put it in your mouth then because you were busy, you were doing other things."

Glenys never qualified as a nurse even though Dr Williams encouraged her to do so.
I didn’t go to do my general nursing because I was so happy at Craig-y-nos.

( Maybe this was one of the reasons why Glenys was such a popular figure. She had not been subjected to the strict discipline of the formal nursing education which included keeping your distance emotionally from patients.)

“I knew I was going to improve by going to do general nursing but whether I’d be as happy, because there were more restrictions with general hospitals, weren’t there?’
That was the main reason.”

Patients who joined the staff
Euryl Thomas was a patient and she became a member of the staff as a clerical person. Then there was Sylvia Peckham (now Moore). She was desperately ill when she was in Craig-y-nos. Afterwards she joined the staff and she was good.

Craig-y-nos was a happy place to work.
I must say that I was very happy there .
They had their rules and regulations. I remember we’d only have a quarter of an hour for a tea break – ten o’clock until a quarter past, or quarter past to half past ten – and during that time you had to make your bed, having stripped it when you got up in the morning.

Stripped beds
Some mornings, Matron used to do a round, or the Home Sister, and some mornings you’d think, ‘Oh, I won’t bother today.’ And that would be the very morning you’d go over (to the Nurses’ Home) at lunchtime and your mattress and everything would be on the floor. You’d have more work then to do it up, and then you were late going back and you had to say the reason. They wouldn’t do that today.

Days of work
We had only a day a month off. We’d have two half days in a week. You’d finish at two o’clock and you were off for the rest of the day. You’d go on some mornings at seven o’clock until half past four or you’d be going on at two o’clock until eight.

Events that stand out
I remember VJ (Victory over Japan) day, and they had a big bonfire on the mountainside. You looked out from the balcony. We were all up there in uniforms and our capes were showing up. We had a wonderful time then.

We had the Coronation of course. Every November we had Guy Fawkes. They used to ask the patients’ relatives to bring in fireworks and they had the people from the village to come as well, and they pooled all the fireworks. The porters and the boiler men, and even the doctors, would be there. All the children were on the balcony. Those are the big things that you remember.

Badminton and tennis
We used to play badminton. Abercrave people used to come to the (Adelina Patti) Theatre. We used to have badminton in the Theatre, and the tennis was in the grounds, of course. I didn’t enjoy tennis as much because the gnats used to play havoc with me.

The introduction of the streptomycin changed the treatment forever. Glenys still remembers vividly the arrival of one young girl, Mary Williams from Talgarth, who was brought in to die and thanks to streptomycin got better within weeks.
“It was like a miracle!”

In the beginning it was given four times a day – like an antibiotic. In the end, we were giving it in one injection.

Nursing regime
All patients had to have their lights out by 9.30 pm and nurses by 10.30 pm.
They were very strict in the nurses’ home.
You were not allowed to go out in your uniform, not even just across the road to the shop, which was just the front room of a nearby cottage.

“If you went you had to go in mufti and if you did go in uniform and were caught you would be very sorry for it. You would get a row from matron. “

Staff catching TB
We were told of the dangers and were expected to abide by the rules, which we did. I don’t recall any nurse working in Craig-y-nos who became a patient from nursing there.

But we had patients from Swansea General Hospital at that time with TB, and some had advanced TB. Three of them, I do remember, died.
Nurses at other hospitals were not X-rayed as frequently as we were and we had quite a number of nurses as patients from Swansea hospital, and some died.”

The very sick
“If they were very ill we would bring them to certain parts of the ward so that we could keep an eye on them”. (Gulp! that was me in my first winter in Craig-y-nos where my bed was directly opposite the glass door to the ward and I would see Dr Huppert peering at me from time to time, that was the Christmas mother brought me budgies, Bubble and Squeak.)

The patient who became a doctor
There was Gwyneth Davies from near Talgarth who went on to become a doctor and anaethetist.

“She had asthma very badly. There was one evening she was so ill that Dr Williams stayed with her for an hour and gave her an injection even though he was on his way out to a dance.
(I recall the occasion when Dr Huppert put Gwyneth out of the balcony during a very foggy spell because she was convinced that it would do her asthma good. But Glenys has no recollection of that little” experiment” which ended with Gwyneth getting a severe attack in the middle of the night).

Christmas panto: Nurse Glenys Davies with some of the small children

Empathy with patients
I always used to feel for patients that didn’t have many visitors. Quite a lot of the patients were comfortably off and others were very much poorer.
I used to feel that they’d been left out a bit, but that’s all I would do, perhaps make more fuss of them than the others, but I didn’t notice I was doing it. I was trying to keep them happy.

Drug reaction
“All the patients seemed to tolerate streptomycin but I had a very bad reaction. It was awful. My face would be covered with pimples. I would feel my eyes going first.

In the end, Dr Williams said, ‘We’ll have to take her off the wards.’ I’d been on the wards with the children ever since I started there. In the X-ray department, they would do clinics. People would come in from outside for check-ups.

If they brought patients down for X-ray and they’d been recently on strep, I had a reaction.

Even handling the patients, just dressing and undressing them. Oh yes, it was pretty drastic when it did affect you although I don’t think it lasted very long.

Early rumours about CYN
When I first went there, you were listening to gossip about it being the place you went to die, but of course there was no treatment or anything then.

A few children died before streptomycin but not to the extent that it was thought by people.
Sometimes we would take people home to die.

Death at CYN haemoptysis
I’d heard about but never seen a fatal haemoptysis -- the patient coughing part of their lung up.

In my early days there, Matron Evans was there then, I remember running back to the ward after lunch and she said:
“ Where’s the fire or the haemoptysis?”
I looked at her stupidly really. I’d heard of a haemoptysis but I thought, ‘What’s that got to do with me running?’ Anyway, she said, ‘Go back and walk.’ I had to go back to the bottom of the stairs on Ward 2 and walk along the corridor. ‘Now,’ she said, ‘the only time you run is for a fire or a haemoptysis. That’s when I learned what haemoptysis was.

Death in the Six-Bedder
Many years later, I was on night duty in the six-bedded ward. We’d only gone on at about eight o’clock and this little woman, who had a little child about six months old, was knitting away and showing me what she had done. At that time there were no internal phones. What every ward did was this – Ward 2 was the ward where Night Sister would sit, and in every ward as soon as you went on duty, Ward 1 would ring one bell, Ward 2 would ring two bells (that was where we were), Ward 3 would ring three bells and Ward 4 would ring four bells. You had to concentrate on those, and if one of them didn’t ring, you’d have to report it to Night Sister. Anyway, we were on this ward (six-bedder) this night and the bell rang for emergency – and that was the first haemoptysis I ever saw. She died – she was only in her twenties.

Yes, very sad. It did live with me for a long time because she was talking to you one minute and showing what she was doing, and the next minute she was gone. Very advanced TB of course, but we saw many advanced cases who later went home to die.”

Dr Huppert
“She always kept herself immaculate in white.
She did have a lot of good in her, despite her mannerisms. It was her speech really. She obviously wasn’t a Welsh person but you could understand her. She always wore a white coat and a white blouse mostly, with the collar out, and she always smelled of lavender.
She liked colours and she loved to see the children in bright clothes.”

Glenys recalls a clash she had one day with Dr Huppert.
“She wanted me to walk the children down the stairs instead of taking the lift.
She didn’t want them to be too ‘mollycoddled’, but I was worried that some of the less able ones might have difficulty and I didn’t want to be responsible for accidents with such a large number of children. So I took them in the lift.

The children used to call her, ‘Drop down, carry one.’
There was something loving about her but she was very strict. She’d go up and down in the lift to her room and she could see the children and she’d be shouting. Then, perhaps later that day or the following day, on her ward rounds, she’d say (in an Austrian accent), ‘I saws you, I saws you had tripped.’

I know that the majority of children probably didn’t like her, but deep down she was good and they probably have a lot to thank her for really.

Dr Williams
He lived on the premises too. He played badminton with us, and was very down to earth off duty, but when you were on duty, he was very much the superintendent.

Miss White, headmistress (right) with Mrs Thomas in the courtyard of Craig-y-nos Castle

Most of the children didn’t like schooling, which they had daily. The headmistress, Miss White, she was a strict person too. The girls would say to us, ‘Oh, bath me tomorrow morning.’ So, of course, we would bath them in turns – it was bed baths at that time, of course – but that was short-lived because instructions came from Miss White saying, ‘No bed patients to be bathed during school time.’

Nurse Glen with Muriel, one of the patients

My typical day
Well, at the beginning of the day, it was just bed making, washing and bathing patients, but then some of them were having treatment such as artificial pneumothorax (collapsed lung therapy). You’d collapse the lung. Dr Huppert would do some and Dr Williams would do some as well. Dr Huppert was doing them mostly but then of course when Dr Mulhall came, he was doing them. Perhaps you’d have pneumothorax on Tuesday and Thursday, so you’d have to get the trolleys laid and the doctors would say what time they were coming. You had to get the patients ready in the wards. You’d stay with the doctors whilst they were doing it and see that the patients were comfortable. Dr Williams always insisted that the young children – the little ones upstairs – had to go to sleep for an hour after lunch. You had to be there in the ward making sure they were lying down. Some did sleep, some didn’t of course, but he insisted that they kept that hour for a rest. Then school would start again at two o’clock. In the meantime, they’d had lunch.

The lunch trolleys would be brought to the ward and Sister would serve, and you’d take the meals to the patients and see that they ate their lunch. If they didn’t, you’d have to say (to Sister) that so and so hasn’t eaten this, and Sister would go and ask why. There were patients that couldn’t eat, they were small eaters, but you had to give them milk afterwards.

Perhaps they preferred a milk pudding better than a dinner but they were always given something to try and make up for what they hadn’t eaten.
(This is total news to me and I was there for four years!)
Once the school had finished, of course, they had their mad half-hour as we used to say.

Tonsillectomy days
Yes, perhaps only once every three months. I don’t think it was more often. An ENT specialist from Swansea would come up (I can’t remember his name now), and it would be done in the theatre. Perhaps he’d do six or eight patients in the morning. That was interesting because they’d be brought out from the theatre into the ante-room and the doctor would be coming round to see them, and would say, ‘They can go back to the ward now.’ Then you’d have to specialise them, get them to eat and drink – ice cream used to be the favourite. Then you’d get them to eat a bit of toast if you could later on.

Regular x-rays
Patients who were having their lung collapsed would be taken down to be screened. They wouldn’t be X-rayed but they’d be screened so that you could see how much it was collapsed or how much it was coming back up or whatever. They weren’t X-rayed very often but they were X-rayed more often than the patients that weren’t on treatment.

Types of TB
There were quite a lot of orthopaedics – bones – but I think the chest cases outnumbered them really. There were patients on blocks.

It depended where the lung cavity was. They’d be layed on the cavity side to close the cavity – there was a good deal of improvement with this treatment. With the little ones it was difficult because you couldn’t get them to lie on their sides all the time.
They were elevated perhaps from four up to eight, and eight up to twelve (inches), or reduced according to improvement.

Auntie Maggie (right)

She was an auxiliary but she was very good and she was local. She’d do shopping for the patients. She was very, very kind to them, I must say. Although visitors were coming more often later on, for a birthday or Christmas, they’d ask her to get things for them. They’d have a present then for their parents and that was a big thing for them, wasn’t it? She was very good.

We were sort of filling in for the parents. When it came to visiting, particularly with the smaller children, the three and four-year-olds, the parents would come in but they’d be clinging to us. Then you’d say, ‘Oh, go to mam now. Mammy’s here today.’ They would eventually but they’d be running back and forth, back and forth. You had to encourage them because you weren’t the parent and it was awkward for the parent to see their children not looking at them, no love for them. If it was a month between visiting, of course, they’d forgotten again.

Parents bags searched
That’s true, bags were seached. That was the ruling. It had to be done because if someone had brought sweets in, perhaps, and the child was going for tonsillectomy in a day or so (it could have been dangerous).

We used to keep toys and wash them, and if there was a child not well, you’d give them one. The other thing was that some children would have several toys and then others would have nothing so you had to even things out.

Social background of children
Some children came from quite poor backgrounds. Others were different.
I remember a little girl from Cardiff. She was the daughter of a police inspector. It was the time that nylon ribbons came out and she had two plaits. She had two bows at the top. Oh, everyone thought nylon ribbons were wonderful. We had about six or eight sets of different coloured ribbons, which we washed every day and kept in the office. Then, her parents would bring more and of course we’d take the older ribbons for other children so that they were all provided with them. Some children had plenty and others had none so you’d have to try and even things out.

Learning to share
You could see it happen. They’d say, ‘Oh, pass this for so-and-so.’ In the beginning, perhaps if they were an only child and they had no one else to share with, it was difficult. But then, with so many looking on, they learned to share. They were very good like that, I must say.

They had Girl Guides in Craig-y-nos. One of the hospital secretaries – she again was an ex-patient – Ina Hopkins, same as Euryl (another medical secretary who was an ex-patient). She came on the staff and she took the Guides (Ina was the captain of the Guide group). They were able eventually to go out amongst the local people and they had their flag blessed in the Abercrave church.

Christine Bennett was a Guide and I always remember that she was carrying the standard and Sister Morgan was always worried about the clock outside the door. ‘Watch that clock, watch that clock!’ Poor Christine was worked up and down it comes, oh dear, dear. The end of the world! It was only a clock anyway.

Harry Secombe

I remember Harry Secombe coming up to do a pantomime (1953). All the children were down there (in the Adelina Patti Theatre) – the porters were very good, they’d carry them down. Harry Secombe’s eldest daughter was there, she was only about four. I think the pantomime was Puss in Boots. When the cat was coming up, the children were saying, ‘It’s behind your back, it’s behind your back!’ Oh, it was comical. There were several choirs used to come on a Saturday and give concerts.

Death of patients
This was very upsetting.
Oh it was awful. It was really, really awful. I remember a little girl called Ann on Ward 2 who was with us and she died around midnight.

When this little girl was dying, her mother was also dying on Ward 4. The little girl died first and of course they didn’t tell the mother. Then, later that evening, there was only one nurse on Ward 4 and you were allowed to go down and help that nurse when the Night Sister was sitting on the ward instead of you.

I went down that night and this woman was speaking, ‘Don’t go now, I’m coming. You wait for mammy now, I’m coming.’ And they both died, unknown to each other.
Oh, that was terrible. Around midnight.

It was tragic and that lived with me for a long time.

Hospital versus farm life
Glenys says life at Craig-y-nos offered more freedom than at home on an isolated farm
“It was very much greater to what I would have had at home even though in the Nurses’ Home, you had to be in bed by ten and lights out at half past ten.”

The end of Craig-y-nos as TB sanatorium
The children were taken from there in 1959 and then we turned over to geriatrics and the miners.

I’d already decided that I wasn’t going to nurse there much longer because it was getting different. Nurses were coming in who wouldn’t be told anything. They didn’t have the discipline and couldn’t take discipline. I would say, ‘I’m not asking you to do anything that I’ve not done.’

I left three months short of thirty years service – from 1943 to December 1973.

Getting married
I moved to Glynneath as a matron of an old people’s home – a new home that was opening – and within three years I got married. I was fortunate in many, many ways. When I was in Craig-y-nos, people used to say, ‘Why don’t you come from there, you’ll never get married.’ ‘I don’t want to get married,’ I said. Then when I left there and had not much company, I suppose, it was a different thing, you know.

Looking back
“I have very happy memories of my time working at Craig-y-nos”.

Nurse Glenys Davies was in conversation with Dr Carole Reeves, Outreach Historian with The Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine, University College London.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Marguerite Hepton hospital

I am delighted to learn that former patients from the Marguerite Hepton hospital, at Thorpe Arch near Leeds are beginning to investigate their past as sanatorium patients, encouraged by the "Children of Craig-y-nos" project.

Jane from Southampton has launched a blog and it is being co-managed by Jane and Fred, another ex-patient.

This is great. Well done! Keep up the good work.
These extracts are from the
BBCMid Wales" Children of Craig-y-nos" web-site

Jane Freeland, Southampton
I was a spinal TB patient for about 5 years (1943 to 1948), first briefly in Wales (my parents called it Cowbridge - it was near Cardiff), and then in Yorkshire, at the Marguerite Hepton Orthopedic Hospital at Thorp Arch, near Wetherby, Yorkshire, for the rest of the time. Eventually, surgical techniques and the magical streptomycin enabled me to recovery fully. I'm now 67, and like you I feel there's a story to be explored. Like you, too, I've found it almost impossible to find records of people involved. In the case of 'my' Yorkshire hospital even the building has vanished under new bui! lt houses. I was thrilled to hear that people at the Wellcome Trust are interested in your idea for a book, and sorry to read some of the negative reactions to your desire to approach the topic. It seems to me that those of us who survived lived through an important part of medical history - quite an achievement - and can help to highlight forgotten bits of it.

Margaret E Vicars nee Rhodes from Leeds
I was in Marguerite Memorial Hosp. at Thorpe Arch from 1941 to 1944 I am also in touch with a friend who was in at the same time. Matron Downs was a very strict disciplinarian & some of the nurses could be very hard & two of them whose names I can remember were cruel, considering we were helpless children. I have photographs of the hospital & some of the patients. Felicity Lane Fox was the secretary when I was there & I have the letter to my parents telling them to come & take me home in Sept. 1944. I am disappointed to find there is no history of the hospital on the internet that I can find.

Harry Dodgson, Sydney, Australia
I noted the entry by Cynthia Coultas who is writing a book about Thorp Arch Hospital. I was a patient in that Hospital from 1935 until 1943.Together with other ex-patients we are setting up a blog site.
The site is still under construction if Cynthia would like to contact me via this site.

Deborah Oxley, Knaresborough
I have been delving into my family's history and knew nothing of the children with TB in these hospitals until today. My relatives (Lily and Winnie Bendelow) were in the Marguerite Hepton at Thorp Arch. Winnie had her lung removed there, and, like you, feel there should be a record of this time. I wish you well with your book and feel it would be worth extending to include Thorp Arch, especially as there seems to be a link with children being moved from the one hospital to the other. Keep on, Ann.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Trio of Ward Sisters

Who are they?
We recognize Sister Outram ( top left) but we don't know the names of the other two. They are from the collection of Ann Morris whose mother Rachel ("Ray") Lewis was admitted in 1951 for eighteen months.