YOUR STORIES - Walsall Manor Hospital 1930 - Present Day Walsall Healthcare NHS Trustâ€™s Heritage Lottery Funded Oral History Project
SHORT STORIES from staff and patients
Transcribed word for word from oral history interviews collected as part of Walsall Healthcare NHS Trustâ€™s Heritage Lottery Funded Project.
COMMEMORATIVE EDITION 2012: VOICES THROUGH CORRIDORS | 3
An early photo of staff at the Manor Hospital
GLADYS DUMMELOW RECEIVES IN TUNE AT THE BLOOD AFTER ROAD ACCIDENT MANOR HOSPITAL Gladys Dummelow remembers the Manor Hospital in 1939 Interview carried out by Patricia Etchells on Monday 14th November 2011
Gladys describes receiving blood after being knocked off her bike by a car. “I was coming home from work, I worked in Birmingham. And as I came under the bridge at the back of Wednesbury Park, there was no footpath either side it was the railway bridge, a car came round and knocked me off my bike and I had a fractured skull and they took me to the Manor Hospital.
I don’t remember going there at all I just remember waking up there, my head all bandaged. When I came round, my father and my brother were sitting either side of me giving me blood transfusions actually, I’d got a tube into one ankle and a tube into the other and that was the first thing I remember. It was taken from my brother direct; the other one was a bottle and in those days they had to send to Birmingham because the blood bank was in Birmingham. They didn’t have them at the individual hospitals so they had to send a man on a motorbike, I was told, to fetch the blood from Birmingham. So I assume I’d lost a lot of blood really. Before I came round, I know this sounds daft, I was unconscious but I could hear my dad talking to me, I couldn’t answer him but I could hear him, I just know he was talking to me he was holding my hand and talking to me. I could remember the nurses doing everything for me you know they were keeping me spotlessly clean and cared for.”
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Alice Price remembers the Manor Hospital in 1937 Interview carried out by Michael Cox on Monday 31st October 2011
After falling on her Uncle Charlie’s road sweeping brush whilst playing in the back yard, ten year old Alice was rushed into the Manor Hospital. She had a severe infection in her leg caused by one of the brushes bristles. After an operation Alice was an inpatient for a few weeks and whilst there she was taught a song.
“Mommy, Daddy, fetch me home, From this convalescent home, I’ve been here a week or two, Now I want to be with you. Here comes the nurse with a red hot poultice, Slaps it on and takes no notice, ‘Oh’ said the patient ‘that’s too hot’ ‘No’ says the nurse ‘I’m sure it’s not’ Goodbye to Dr Clayton Goodbye to Matron too Goodbye to all the Nurses And the jolly old Manor too.”
POTATOES! THE EYEBALL Gladys Dummelow remembers the Manor Hospital in 1940’s Interview carried out by Patricia Etchells on Monday 14th November 2011
Gladys Dummelow returned to hospital as an inpatient in the 1940’s for an operation. Throughout her stay her husband made sure she had a regular supply of potatoes. “If you’d had an operation your husband could come for three nights afterwards. But my husband used to come in every solitary night; he used to come up the fire escape. And he used to bring me a roasted potato you know from the man, and of course the others got to know and at the finish he ended up bringing two huge bags full of roasted potatoes everybody in the ward wanted one. And I mean the nurses knew what he did, and they’d come and they’d say ‘how’ve you got in here?’ and he’d say ‘well you’ve let me in so you ought to know’ but they hadn’t he’d come up the fire escape, he used to come every night.”
Gladys Dummelow remembers the Manor Hospital in 1940’s Interview carried out by Patricia Etchells on Monday 14th November 2012
Gladys Dummelow receives more than she bargained for. “The war was on and they’d got their own allotments at the back, all where the maternity ward is built now was allotments. They were self supporting vegetable wise.
“There was this eye looking at me in my dinner” But during the war it was rabbit every day and semolina pudding, never anything else only semolina pudding. They did their best it was nice but one day I had an eye, there was this eye looking at me in my dinner I couldn’t eat it, it turned me off completely. And it was looking at me. Well I didn’t get an eye every day; I only got an eye once.”
A ‘Nightingale’ ward at the Manor Hospital, 1940’s
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Patricia Wootton at the hospital tennis courts with friends
FRIENDSHIP Gladys Dummelow remembers the Manor Hospital in 1940’s Interview carried out by Patricia Etchells on Monday 14th November 2011
Gladys Dummelow was an inpatient at the Manor Hospital for seven months; the other ladies on her ward were only in for a few days before being discharged so she made friends with the nurses. “Well I made friends with the ladies either side of me, but they were never in only a few days, ten days at the most so they’d come and gone. I made friends with the nurses, Nurse Kemp and Nurse Lashford they were comediennes. Well when the Sister was off duty they would come along hanging 6 | VOICES THROUGH CORRIDORS: COMMEMORATIVE EDITION 2012
on the rail for the curtains to come round your bed you know. And they would walk on the bed steads hanging on the rail Nurse Kemp would, she used to come in dressed up.
“They were a comic turn and we always knew we were in for a good laugh when the Sister was off duty.” But they always made us cakes the day the Sister was off; we always had lovely cakes, homemade cakes. They were a comic turn and we always knew we were in for a good laugh when the Sister was off duty. They would bring the one round on a trolley as though she was laid out you know with her hands in prayer, and she’d be singing and she couldn’t sing. We used to have really good fun when the Sister was off, she would have murdered them if she’d have known.”
WAR Barrie Farnell remembers the Manor Hospital in 1941 Interview carried out by Patricia Etchells on Tuesday 17th January 2012
“We were woken up in the night, I can remember the nurses very well in very dark blue uniforms with starched white aprons and hats, and they were rushing round frantically trying to calm all the children, ‘cause it was the children’s ward. It was an air raid when the bombs were dropping in Pleck Road, presumably to try to knock out all of the foundries and iron works that were along there. I can remember that there was a wash basin alongside the bed and I can remember all the bombs dropping, we couldn’t see out because it was a black out. There wasn’t an evacuation into air raid shelters or anything like that, we just had to stay where we were.”
Patricia Etchells interviewing Brian Bates
OSTEOMYELITIS Noreen Shaw remembers the Manor Hospital in 1942 Interview carried out by Anne Rowley on Tuesday 17th and 24th January 2012
Noreen Shaw was admitted to the Manor Hospital aged six in 1942 with osteomyelitis. “When I was six I developed osteomyelitis in my left leg, and I had to be brought to the Manor Hospital. It was during the war and I remember very vividly my mother pushing me in a pushchair from my house up to the hospital, and I was so embarrassed because when I went past the school I went to the children saw me in this pushchair. But I came into the children’s ward at the Manor Hospital and I went to theatre in the afternoon and had the operation. When I came back I had a huge plaster on my leg from my toes up to my hip and that stayed with me for the next three months.
Mr H. W. Bonner, Chairman of Walsall Hospital Management Committee 1948 - 1967
I was on the children’s ward in the side ward and every day we were wheeled out onto the balcony for fresh air and this was part of the treatment in those days. And at the time there were some soldiers lodged at the hospital, you know wounded soldiers, and it
was the time of rationing - sweet rationing, and every day one or other of the soldiers used to bring us children on the balcony sweets. But they were very readily accepted because there just weren’t any sweets around.
“I do really believe that the penicillin saved my leg.” But I do remember vividly being very lucky because one of the boys in the side ward at the same time as me had the same problem, but he actually had his leg off because it was too severe to be operated on. We were also fortunate that having the soldiers there we had the benefit of the penicillin, it wasn’t widely available but it was available for the army and we happened to benefit from it. And I do really believe that the penicillin saved my leg.”
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Brian Bates on the balcony of the children’s ward
CHILDREN’S WARD Brian Bates remembers the Manor Hospital in 1946 Interview carried out by Patricia Etchells on Monday 7th November 2011
Brian Bates was rushed into the Manor Hospital in 1946 when he was a child, suffering from a blood clot. “I was rushed straight in and I was in there for almost seven months. I was outside on the balcony for a long, long time, because we used to have really good summers. I was on the balcony with about seven or eight more children. You could see the allotments at the back and I can remember looking across and there was the casting factories all along Pleck Road, all the dust flying about. But they left you out there for ages because they was real good summers. First time I was took to the theatre, with the lights right on top of you. And the passageway… they were taking me to operate right away and I’ve got to be honest I was terrified. Going down them narrow corridors as they was then, and you know the drab walls…not like today with all the posh things and that. Going down there, I was actually terrified when they put the
needles in to knock you unconscious. When I came round I thought I was finished, even as a youngster I thought that’s the end of the road.
“I was rushed straight in and I was in there for almost seven months. I was outside on the balcony for a long, long time, because we used to have really good summers.” They used to come to you to take the plaster off with a pair of like them big gardening shears. And they used to put it down the back, and cut it right the way down so it came off and opened out. But you could feel the clippers digging into your flesh. They’d soak you in a bath of hot water to get it off and then they took you about two doors away and re plastered you. I had that done about five or six times. I used to really squeal out me Mom said. Even as a youngster you’ve got hairs on your legs and it used to be really painful.”
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Patricia Wootton in uniform
DAILY ROUTINE Patricia Wootton remembers the Manor Hospital in 1948 Interview carried out by Amanda Grist on Wednesday 23rd November 2011
Patricia Wootton became a Cadet aged sixteen in 1948 prior to commencing her nursing training. Patricia remembers some of the duties she carried out as a Cadet. “We helped with most things. We used to cut the dressings up on a table outside the ward and put them in a silver drum, fill them right up, lock them and send them off to the sterilisation room, the instruments as well but the dressings I remember as we were always doing that. It was the Sisters job to arrange the flowers and we used to carry them in. Then we’d assist with the patient.
“We helped with most things. We used to cut the dressings up on a table outside the ward and put them in a silver drum, fill them right up, lock them and send them off to the sterilisation room” The screens would go round, two of you would ‘turn that bed down properly’, you would start with the arm and work down, one would wash, one would dry. You would lift the patient gently; it was a really good way we used to lift the patient to get a better look at the back.”
THE 1950’S TONSILS
MANOR HOSPITAL Barbara Holder remembers the Manor Hospital in the 1950’s Interview carried out by Sian Hirst on Wednesday 18th January 2012
Barbara Holder first worked at the Manor Hospital as a Red Cross volunteer from the age of eleven. When she left school at fifteen she joined the pre nursing cadet course as a trainee nurse. Barbara describes her time as a trainee and subsequently on the wards where she spent her working life. She describes changes in treatments, the physical environment and general attitudes towards authority and members of staff. “It was small… it was small. I mean you went into the Manor and you’d got two wards that
way, two wards that way, path lab upstairs, theatres upstairs and there were eight wards and that included the Accident and Emergency as well. And that was it. The Maternity was just down below and that was a very small unit as well and that was the Manor Hospital. Oh and there was a little clinic on the side which was a special clinic, the VD clinic, and that was just across the road. And then the nurse’s home was there because when you started your training you had to live in for a year that was the ruling. I mean I only lived up the road I only lived on the Alumwell Estate but the Matrons ruling was that everybody lived in for the first year of training to get to know each other and to bond so that’s what you did. You did what you were told, you had no arguments you just did exactly what you were told.”
Noreen Shaw with the Mayor on the Children’s Ward at Christmas
Jeanette Pearce remembers the Manor Hospital in 1952 Interview carried out by Amanda Grist on Friday 9th November 2011
When Jeanette Pearce was eight she visited the Manor Hospital to have her tonsils removed. “I was eight years old, and this was back in 1952, I had my tonsils out and I was in for about three or four days but we only lived walking distance away from the Manor in Forrester Street. My dad walked me up there when I had to go in cause my Mom wouldn’t take me. I was in there a day and then I had my tonsils out. ‘Cause somebody had dropped out because they were ill or something, so somebody from the hospital came down and knocked the door on Sunday afternoon and said I could go if I wanted to, so I did. And he took me up at about tea time on Sunday. I do remember that the ward was a great big ward, there was lots and lots of beds, my memory is telling me that there wasn’t that many, but as I am remembering it there seemed lots and lots of beds. In the middle was a stove and they used to come and get the ashes up every morning, and I remember the day that I had my tonsils out they sat us all in front of this fire and we was all half asleep by the time we went up because it was hot. And the lift broke so her had to carry me up the stairs to the operating theatre. And the only thing I remember about the operating theatre was that the mask that they put on me face was white, cause if you went to the dentist it was black. And I remember when I’d got over it like the next day we all had some ice cream that was to sooth your throat, but they don’t do that now they give you toast and rough stuff but then we had ice cream.”
“the lift broke so her had to carry me up the stairs to the operating theatre” COMMEMORATIVE EDITION 2012: VOICES THROUGH CORRIDORS | 9
FRIENDS Barbara Holder remembers the Manor Hospital and fifty years of friendship Interview carried out by Sian Hirst on Wednesday 18th January 2012
Barbara Holder spent her life working at the Manor Hospital as a member of nursing staff. During her time at the hospital she made close friends and they still like to sit down together and reminisce.
to one the next day when Janet finally got off duty, and she wouldn’t dare go against it and this was all because she’d dropped to sleep and been found. And then she had to go on the night to Miss Crean and explain exactly what operation had been done and what the patient had gone through etcetera and she had to do that. And of course that sort of thing you had, it was a sort of punishment you had. But those are the things you remember.
“You remember the things that happen to you. I can remember being nineteen and being locked in the morgue by a silly porter. In those days you had to take your own bodies to the mortuary if somebody died on you in the night, the male nurse or whoever was with you, you had to take your bodies on a stretcher up to the morgue. I still remember this man’s name, his name was Taff, and he locked me in the mortuary and you know at nineteen that may not seem…, but you’re petrified and he thought it was a big joke.
“you do not leave this hospital until this patient is back in the ward and fully recovered”
These are the sort of things you reminisce about; we often talk about things that have happened to us. And I mean Janet, she was working on a ward where the Sister absolutely hated the sight of her, and she made life so difficult for her. And I remember she dropped to sleep one night, there used to be coal stoves in the middle of the wards, long wards there used to be a coal fire which we had to stoke up in the middle of the night. And like you’re getting a bit tired on about your eighth night and she actually fell asleep. The night superintendent, they called them then, she came round and found her with a blanket on. Anyway Miss Crean her name was, she didn’t say anything to Janet at the time but she had a phone call at eight o’clock in the morning and said come to my office, and she made that girl stay on duty and take a patient to theatre and she said ‘you do not leave this hospital until this patient is back in the ward and fully recovered’. So it was about a quarter
You remember a lot of good things, you remember your first operation you see, and you remember the first patient that dies on you and you remember your first promotion because you really had to prove yourself.”
TO THEATRE Elsie Westwood remembers the Manor Hospital in 1953 Interview carried out by Deborah Aston on Tuesday 31st January 2012
Elsie Westwood experienced an overdue pregnancy in February 1953, at the age of 30. Elsie was referred to the Manor Hospital to see Mr Peek who informed her that she needed to have a caesarean, she remembers the journey from the twelve bedded ward to theatre. “They put me on the trolley, and I’d already had an injection. The nurse was there with her pad and she was writing. Then the porter came and brought the nurse an umbrella, and I just thought to my self ‘what do they want an umbrella for?’ The next thing I can remember was being pushed out the door, and there was slabs like across the grass and there were trees. It was pouring with rain, they covered me over, the man was running and the nurse was running, and they was laughing. Well then when we got to the door on the other side, it was quite a way, and they opened the door and shoved me in. I said ‘what’s that box for?’ they said ‘to put the baby in’.”
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UNIFORMS 1950’s TREAMENTS Barbara Holder remembers the Manor Hospital in the 1950’s Interview carried out by Sian Hirst on Wednesday 18th January 2012
Barbara Holder describes some of the treatments and methods used by nursing staff in the 1950’s. “I mean all you can say is these old methods worked; I wouldn’t say they were as efficient as now but they had no side effects to them. All the drugs we use now have got all the side effects, these either worked or you died there was no two ways about it. You know that was it. There were simple remedies but no side effects; I mean the side effect would be if they died if it was too far advanced. I mean we hadn’t got chemotherapy, we hadn’t got any of that and blood and stuff like that was really precious. You know to have blood transfusion you had to be in desperate need of it. But then you see we hadn’t got motorbikes, we hadn’t got so many cars on the road so you didn’t see so many road accidents, we hadn’t got any motorways so you hadn’t got the big truckers because they came in later.
“we hadn’t got chemotherapy, we hadn’t got any of that and blood and stuff like that was really precious”
AND STRIPES Noreen Shaw remembers the Manor Hospital in the 1950’s Interview carried out by Anne Rowley on Tuesday 17th and 24th January 2012
Noreen Shaw became a Cadet at the age of sixteen and then went to train as a nurse. She completed her nursing training on York Ward at Walsall Manor Hospital and then went on to become a Midwife. She remembers the uniforms and stripes they used to wear. “When I went into training, we had a blue and white striped dress and it was eight inches from the floor it was measured up the hem, and a white apron, and a stiff white belt with studs, and a white collar with a stud that used to rub your neck. When you went to the town hall to the dance on a Saturday night, they could tell if you were a nurse because you’d got this red mark around your neck where the starched collar had cut into your neck. All the students wore blue and white stripes, and in your first year when you passed your prelim you had one stripe, in your second year when you passed your second year exams you had two stripes, and when you were in your third year and passed your exams you got three stripes. And some of the male patients, because they had been in the forces, called you Privates,
Corporals and Sergeants. The staff nurses wore blue dresses, sort of cornflower blue with white starched aprons and cuffs the same. If you had long sleeves you rolled your sleeves up and you had frills that you put on to keep the sleeves in place, we also had frills when you didn’t have long sleeves. And we all wore caps; Sister Dora patterned caps as they were called. The Sisters had frilly caps which stood up and had a frill round the back and the Matron had a very frilly cap with lace on. When you qualified you got your bows and the bows were underneath your chin and pinned up under your cap and your cap on the top. If you have seen a picture of Sister Dora then you will know what the cap and the bows looked like. You didn’t keep your bows on too long because they were in the way when you were working, but if you were on parade for any reason you had bows and caps. The Matron had a special summer and winter uniform. We all had capes, navy blue capes with a red lining and these were worn over the uniform, when you went across outside the department. You didn’t go out in your uniform, you were not allowed off the premises in your uniform. Most nurses lived in in those days so it was quite easy to take your uniform off and get into your mufti.”
In the 50’s we had none of this, you see cause people walked or used busses or trams, we’d still got trams in Walsall in the 50’s. So you hadn’t got the big trauma accidents you get now. We had industrial accidents cause there were still a lot of men working in the mines around here and machinery. But you hadn’t got the road accidents you get now.” Voices Through Corridors Oral History project to explore, capture and archive memories of Walsall Manor Hospital from 1930 to the present day. To find out more go to: www.voicesthroughcorridors.co.uk Walsall Local History Centre.
Noreen Shaw in her uniform COMMEMORATIVE EDITION 2012: VOICES THROUGH CORRIDORS | 11
Jean Kent’s (nee Anslow) Red Cross certificate
VOLUNTEERING WITH THE RED CROSS Jean Kent remembers the Manor Hospital in the 1950’s Interview carried out by Sian Hirst on Tuesday 8th November 2011
As a young girl, Jean Kent did first aid training with the Red Cross and became a volunteer at The Manor Hospital.
“I was in the Girl Guides and lived in Pelsall Lane and I just decided to join the Red Cross, the lady who ran it lived not far from where I did and I joined the Red Cross. I thoroughly enjoyed it, I used to love doing first aid and home nursing and then they asked for volunteers to go to the Manor on a Saturday to help on the Wards and wherever we were needed. I used to go on my own and some days sit in a room cutting up lint and cotton wool making up dressings to be put in drums to be sterilised for the theatre. Another time I’d be on the children’s ward reading them stories and there was a young girl who lived near to us that was in there with Polio and I sat at her bedside and read a
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story. And there was children on the balcony outside, I assume they’d got lung problems where they treated them in the fresh air you know, and they slept there as well. I used to take their drinks and their meals. And another week I’d perhaps be on the men’s ward taking their meals around, everything came to the ward on a big trolley and you’d got rows of salad, pork pie, whatever and you’d dish it out to the patients and whatever came back into the kitchen I assume was given to the pigs.”
VISUAL WORDS ARTISTS OWN
Although the Voices Through Corridors project is about collecting oral histories, alongside the audio a series of Visual Transcripts of short sections of four stories have been created. Four segments were selected and turned into artwork that tells a story by the arts organisation Dashyline. •
Spotless by Gladys Dummelow – Gladys describes the unique cleaning routine she witnessed as an inpatient.
Cadet by Patricia Wootton – Patricia recalls some of the tasks she had to carry out as a Nursing Cadet.
Ambulance by Brian Bates – Brian remembers his best friend’s dad who was an ambulance driver.
Bombs by Barrie Farnell – Barrie remembers being a child patient at the
What first inspired Dashyline about the brief was the opportunity to engage new audiences in an unusual ‘art’ setting. We wanted to create artwork that evokes personal nostalgia but also allows insight to other peoples’ experience of the Hospital over the years. We strived to create artwork that is whimsical and humorous to lighten an often daunting setting, artwork with hidden details so that repeat patients and families see something new on every visit.
“We are really excited to see the designs on the walls and hope they raise a smile, but also tell the socially important stories of the past at Walsall Manor.” Working with the actual words of the interviewees and so closely with the patients, volunteers and staff has meant that every detail of the artwork is designed to tell their story in an original way. We are really excited to see the designs on the walls and hope they raise a smile, but also tell the socially important stories of the past at Walsall Manor.
Manor during the Second World War.
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dashyline present dashyline present
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Noreen Shaw and colleagues
SHIFTS AND ROUTINE Noreen Shaw remembers the Manor Hospital in the 1950’s Interview carried out by Anne Rowley on Tuesday 17th and 24th January 2012
Noreen Shaw became a cadet at the age of sixteen and then went to train as a nurse. She completed her nursing training on York Ward at Walsall Manor Hospital and then went on to become a Midwife. She remembers the shifts and daily routine. “We had to fit in our studying around quite long working days. The hours were forty eight hours per week, and that was working hours. And the shifts on days started at half past seven and finished at six o’clock for the one set, and then at half past one until half past eight for the next set, and you worked twelve hour nights. And it really was hard work, there were not as many staff on the wards then as there are now but everybody knew what they were doing and all the patients were collectively in the same place so it did make it easier. There wasn’t a lot of time to sit and talk to patients but because you were doing for them all the time, that was when you got your talking time done.
The patient’s day started at six in the morning with a cup of tea, and after that they had bedpans, bottles, bowls, so that they got their toilet things out of the way. At half past seven when the day nurses came on, all the beds were stripped and pulled out from the wall so that the cleaners could sweep behind, the wards were swept and dusted every day and the beds were made at least once a day if not twice. You would move down the wards up to the other side, there were thirty six patients on the ward so you had to get thirty six beds made before Sister came in to serve the breakfasts at half past eight. The breakfast was served between half past eight and nine, at nine o’clock the ward was closed for bed pans, bottles and bowls again and then we had the onslaught of the doctors. The doctors came at quarter past nine to do their rounds. And that was a parade if you like. The Consultant was at the front, his Registrar and houseman was behind and behind that was the Sister or the Staff Nurse and two of the juniors who moved the screens round because we didn’t always have bed curtains, when I first started there were portable screens.”
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S1950’s tories 1950’ STORIES s
MATERNITY TREAMENTS MORE 1950’s Barbara Holder remembers the Manor Hospital in the 1950’s Interview carried out by Sian Hirst on Wednesday 18th January 2012
Barbara Holder recalls some more treatments and procedures used in the 1950’s. “A mustard poultice was just a piece of lint and you’d actually just spread the mustard on, like mustard you use… English Mustard, French Mustard whatever you want to do. And you would put it on top of the steriliser and then you’d put another piece of lint on top of that until it was heated through and then you’d put it on the chest. And it was for things like bronchitis, emphysema and things like that and it did ease it and helped people breathe. Kaolin poultices were used for abscesses, buttocks abscesses or when you got one under your arm, kaolin poultices were used for that.
Noreen Shaw remembers the Manor Hospital in the 1950’s Interview carried out by Anne Rowley on Tuesday 17th and 24th January 2012
Noreen Shaw describes the maternity unit at the Manor Hospital, whilst she worked as a midwife. “It was built in 1928 something like that, it had polished wooden floors and it was really quite nice. But a bit perhaps difficult to work on because we had the delivery suite downstairs, it was literally a suite - two delivery rooms and if the mother got into difficulties in labour we had to take her upstairs because the theatre was upstairs. And there was a lift, which didn’t always work very well and if it didn’t you literally had to carry the patient upstairs to the operating theatre. The special care baby unit was a four bedded room at the end of the corridor with incubators in, and
“we hadn’t got any ECG machines, we hadn’t got defibrillators. If you had a heart attack you were laid flat in bed for six weeks and did absolutely nothing” ‘Cause you remember we’d only got penicillin and streptomycin we hadn’t got many antibiotics around in those days in the 50’s, you’ve got every antibiotic you want now. So the doctors were very limited to what they could use so a lot of the methods would be terribly old fashioned now. A lot of it was just bed care, cleanliness, and strict antiseptic techniques. I mean a simple thing like a leg, they might go to theatre three or four times, now you see they come and put a pin and plate in and the patient goes home in two to three days. I mean there was no replacement work, no knees or hips or that being replaced it just wasn’t on, we just didn’t have the equipment to do it we hadn’t got any of that stuff to do. And we hadn’t got any ECG machines, we hadn’t got defibrillators. If you had a heart attack you were laid flat in bed for six weeks and did absolutely nothing, and that was the cure for a heart attack.” 18 | VOICES THROUGH CORRIDORS: COMMEMORATIVE EDITION 2012
Maternity Unit, Manor Hospital
a little room next door with cots in and that was where the immature babies, the poorly babies were nursed. At one time if the mothers needed a caesarean section and there weren’t sufficiently trained staff available on maternity, the mothers had to be wheeled across the yard on a trolley. And if it was raining you had an umbrella and a Macintosh sheet over the patient and a box underneath for the baby. You took the mother over to the general theatre where she was operated on, and then mother and baby trundled back to the maternity ward. And again it was hard work; there weren’t too many people on – two midwives, two assistants at night and it was busy. Although a lot of mothers had their babies at home during that time, it was still quite a busy unit on the maternity.”
Amanda Grist interviewing Michael Townsend
APPENDICITIS OPERATION Michael Townsend remembers the Manor Hospital in 1955 Interview carried out by Amanda Grist on Wednesday 2nd November 2011
Michael Townsend was a patient in 1955 after being rushed into hospital with appendicitis, aged fourteen. “You know the TARDIS like boxes on Doctor Who, the police boxes, there was one of them outside the local school built into the school wall at the front. And what you did, it had got on the front ‘Emergency Phone Calls Fire, Ambulance, Police’ right. As you opened the box there’d be somebody speaking to you, you’d tell them which service you required, fire, police and of course ambulance. Anyway me Mom phoned an ambulance like you know like and it come, yellow flashing light and a clanging bell and there was only one ambulance man when he come to me not two and he just got a blanket, wrapped me in it, carried me into the back of the ambulance and off we went. Well initially I went into like there was like an annex in the ward; I can remember that like where you could get about four beds, I was taken in there initially. I was left there for a bit and then all I remember, somebody just come and put a needle in me arm and I don’t remember anything else then until I woke up. And somebody commented like how I was very flushed like you know, I felt a lot better all the pain had gone but in them days you had big six inch piece of plaster
put right across your tummy. Well as you know when you’re getting to that age you start growing hair and when they come to take it off it goes swoooosshh and you know it really makes your eyes water like. Anyway they took the plaster off and of course I had my stitches out and I was in for a fortnight, penicillin four times a day, nothing by mouth, water nothing never give you drink or nothing. The ward, what I can remember, there was a plan always in the ward that people who were most seriously ill were always nearest the door you know the double doors, that was if they happened to kick the bucket like you know die they could be got out the ward, you know, without causing any trauma to anybody else who was ill see to get them out as quick as they could. There was also a Matron who would come round with the doctors her main role was health, discipline, cleanliness. And then you had an Almoner, that was for people, you know like if they got a poor background to come out of hospital, they’d got nobody or they hadn’t got anywhere to go her’d sort that out, what I used to call the ‘social ills’ she’d sort all that out for people who had hardly you know got anything at all. The wards always had what they called a sterilisation unit because all syringes were reused in them days you know and they all had to be sterilised in boiling hot water all the while, they all had one of them and at the other side there’d be a sluice for all bed pans you know that were cleaned and sterilised and everything to be reused.” COMMEMORATIVE EDITION 2012: VOICES THROUGH CORRIDORS | 19
ELY WARD Gordon Varley remembers the Manor Hospital in 1957 Interview carried out by Amanda Grist on Wednesday 9th November 2011
Gordon Varley has been a patient at the Manor Hospital on numerous occasions, one of which being on Ely Ward. “Ely Ward was a very busy ward. It was all elderly people or urinary problems. When I was up and about I used to ask Sister Simpson if I could go in the kitchen and do some washing up. There weren’t the central kitchens like there are today, on the wards they had got their particular kitchen or washing up area and any odd patients used to dig in and help out with the washing up.”
Noreen Baldwin in uniform
FIRST FEW WEEKS OF NURSING TRAINING Susan Stewart remembers the Manor Hospital in 1966 Interview carried out by Deborah Aston on Wednesday 1st February 2012
Sue Stewart trained as a nurse at Manor Hospital and returned as a Midwife in 1977. She remembers the first few weeks of training and some of the duties student nurses had to carry out at the time. “We only used to come down to the hospital on a Wednesday night between five and eight in those first weeks. Otherwise we were learning how to be nurses, learning how to make beds with patients in them, learning how to make theatre beds, how to do bed baths whilst keeping the patient comfortable, how to do general care, how to do dressings, how to give injections and we were all scared stiff actually about when we had to do this on real people. On that Wednesday night, we used to dread it. We were eighteen year old girls and well I remember I was scared because what do you say
WAGES Noreen Baldwin remembers the Manor Hospital in the 1960’s Interview carried out by Caroline Mansell on Wednesday 1st February 2012
because they were adults. I didn’t really see myself as an adult but the people we were looking after were adults and some quite elderly patients so I think that was a big thing for me, getting to be comfortable with the patients.
Noreen Baldwin worked at the Manor Hospital as a nurse. Noreen talks about the pay rates for staff nurses and midwifery. She recalls having to go to the wages department in Corporation Street, Walsall.
It used to be a lot more labour intensive really, because when you tested urine if you test it these days you just dip the stick in and compare the results on the side of the bottle but we used to have to do it with a Bunsen burner and a test tube and we used to actually drop chemicals into them to see how much protein appeared. We used to have to make up our own dressing drums, the syringes were glass we didn’t peel open a package and get a syringe out, we didn’t peel open a packet of dressings like they do now. Some of our day on the ward was spent actually making up dressing drums and cardboards boxes that were filled and sent off to the central sterilising department or it might have actually been theatres because we certainly didn’t have a central department like we do now.”
“I remember the Almoner Miss Reinich was reminded that the seam in her stocking wasn’t straight”
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“As a Staff Nurse we were on an acceptable income but if you went to do Midwifery you had to come down to a lower rate again because you were thought of a trainee again. The wages department in those days used to be in Corporation Street, we had to go down there with queries. We had to queue up for our wages outside Matrons Office. I remember Miss James especially, and I remember the Almoner Miss Reinich was reminded that the seam in her stocking wasn’t straight by the Matron. And if your uniform wasn’t in order you had to go and get it put right before you got your wage packet.”
TREATMENT Marilyn Newton remembers the Manor Hospital in 1967 Interview carried out by Caroline Mansell on Thursday 1st December 2011
Marilyn Newton can recall receiving treatment for her verruca’s in 1967. She now works as a Health Trainer. “I went to this nurse, I was only 7 at the time, her name was Sister June. I can remember going in and the first thing I remember was the smell, a really clinical clean smell. The floor was like a parquet, highly polished floor and the windows in there were quite high and arched. I was ushered into this, to me was a huge door with my mother and I was very, very scared. The nurse sat me down, and I took my socks and shoes off. She looked at my feet and she went ‘oh right, I’ve had a similar thing with these before but they’re very unusual,
they’re something called verruca’s’ and it was one of the few cases that had started to come out at the time. She sat me down and I had to put my left foot on this big wooden block, she got a chair at the end of this wooden block, she pulled her glasses right to the end of her nose and was peering at my foot. She didn’t wear gloves at all. She washed her hands and she got these enormous pointy tweezers, and started to pick at each one of these verruca’s and she picked and picked until they bled. Then I had to put my other foot up and she did exactly the same. I had 18 on one foot and 23 on the other foot. They put iodine on my feet and bandaged them up, and then I was left to go home. I went for this treatment for nearly four months every single week. I just woke up one morning and they had all disappeared.”
DR PEEK AND
MIDWIFERY TRAINING Maureen Hubbard remembers the Manor Hospital in 1974 Interview carried out by Amanda Grist on Wednesday 23rd November 2011
Maureen Hubbard remembers her midwifery training at the Manor Hospital. “There was a gynaecologist who was at the Manor for many years, his name was Mr Peek. Well he was well loved by women in Walsall, and because I was married to a service man I lived away from Walsall for quite a number of years so I came back visiting to Walsall. But I knew the name Mr Peek.
When I went to do my Midwifery Mr Peek was still working and he used to call me ‘Bee’n Bonce’. I had long hair but because it had to be taken up off the neck I used to wear it up on the top in a tail and back comb it and he used to say it was like a beehive. I was in the antenatal clinic with him one day, and he said ‘come on Bee’n Bonce I’ve got somebody that you can come and examine’. And he took me into the side ward, and there was this lady with all her tummy exposed. And he said ‘now, tell me what you think?’ There used to be transverse lie where the baby could be lying across, or upside down, and as a midwife you had got to learn where the baby was before you could deliver. It was really hard work. Once you put your hands on the tummy you can’t take them off, so I went all the way around and thought ‘oh yes that’s the head’ the head was down, she was quite a big lady so you could tell it wasn’t too long until she would be having the baby. And I thought ‘hang about this feels a bit hard’ the head is quite firm in comparison to the bottom so you can tell when you feel it. So I thought ‘that feels like the head’ and I went around to the other side and thought ‘no that’s the head’ so I went back around again and ‘no that’s definitely the head’ and I thought ‘golly there’s two here’. Mr Peek said ‘what do you think?’ and I said ‘I think she’s having twins’. And he slapped me on the back, and remember he was quite a big man, ‘Well done Bee’n Bonce!’ Anyway we finished and by the time I got back over to the labour ward, all the nurses knew that I found twins and it was supposedly a big fantastic thing to discover.”
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the bright red I thought it looked really good with your uniform you see. I was working in female gynae at the time Sister knew I was about to go in, she called me over, ‘Brookes!’ ‘Cause they always called you by your surname as well, ‘You’ve gone into your second year by now?’ ‘Yes Sister.’ ‘Why haven’t you got your red belt on?’ ‘It’s in my pocket Sister.’ ‘Well why haven’t you got it on?’ ‘Cause I’m a bit scared because when you’re in the second year you’ve got to know much more.’ She said, ‘Put your belt on.’ So I took my old first year belt off and put my red belt on. And when you got to a yellow belt well that’s it you knew its do or die, because when you went into third year back then you were effectively in charge, Sister would let you take charge to give you the training for when you qualify. A lot of the sort of management style was done in your third year. So yeah I didn’t want to be a yellow belt, I enjoyed being a red belt I didn’t want to be a yellow belt.
“when you got to Sue Thompson remembers being a a yellow belt well student nurse at the Manor Hospital in 1976, in particular the progression that’s it you knew through the ‘ranks’ being indicated by different coloured belts. its do or die” Sue Thompson remembers the Manor Hospital in 1976 Interview carried out by Amanda Grist on Wednesday 2nd November 2011
“Things were very more sort of regimented then, if the Nursing Officer walked in on report we stood up, you stood up that was you know, that was almost like rank, high rank, acknowledge. Even within nursing, student nurses from first year to second year to third year. A first year very rarely spoke to a second year cause they were second years, and the same “oh they’re third years!” You had coloured belts to signify what year you were in. I particularly looked forward going into second year because it was a bright red belt and I just liked
When I passed and I got the royal blue belt with the silver buckle you think, oh that’s it now, and I used to think back in training there’s no way I’m going to be a Sister, I’m not going to be a Sister. And then I remember going for the interview and I remember getting the job and I remember going for my navy blue dress and the hat and everything and I remember starting on the shift thinking, oh there’s no one else to ask now, everyone’s going to be coming to me! And I still can’t believe, I was a ward Sister for sixteen years and I still look back and think how did I get to that point?”
A MIDWIFE’S DAILY ROUTINE Elisabeth Penaluna remembers the Manor Hospital in the late 1970’s Interview carried out by Caroline Mansell on Saturday 17th November 2011
Elisabeth Penaluna was a midwife at the Manor Hospital; she talks about her time as a trainee and progressing on to working on the wards. She recalls the strict daily regime of the late 1970’s.
Sister Dora Outpaitients, Reception
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“When you clocked on you weren’t told where you were going until you actually got into the hospital. You stayed where you were until you were told you could go somewhere else; you did not take the initiative and go. If you did antenatal then you were under control of the obstetricians and the gynaecologists so you stayed there until the
antenatal finished and you were told where to go next. You couldn’t have an opinion; you followed orders completely to the letter. We used to give dinners out on trolleys, scoop it out rather than ready made, they came from a central kitchen. We would take the usual temperatures and BP’s and that sort of thing. I did enjoy antenatal because I was allowed to weigh the Mommy’s and talk to them which was very nice. You weren’t allowed to take blood. You were trusted to deliver babies on your own when you had been observed about five or six times. But your routine was whatever was dictated by the Sister in charge.”
To find out more go to: www.voicesthroughcorridors.co.uk Walsall Local History Centre.
BED BATHS Denise Clift remembers the Manor Hospital in the 1970’s and 1980’s Interview carried out by Caroline Mansell on Thursday 1st March 2012
Denise Clift remembers the standard procedure for giving bed baths. “If you were doing a bed bath you would take all the equipment you needed to the person. So you would load up a trolley with what you needed, you would have a bowl with the hot water, and your soaps and your towels, all the things necessary and shaving equipment to shave if it was a male patient or a female patient if she was being prepped for surgery. And you would do it bedside so you would bed bath your patient while they were in bed, and following the standard procedure for bed bathing using two cloths one for the top half and one for the bottom half. And really you did it for them regardless of their level of mobility; you were just expected to wash them. It sounds quite bizarre now when you think how patients are encouraged to take care of their own hygiene, it was very much a nurse’s job.”
AUDIOLOGY Jonathan Binnington remembers the Manor Hospital and changes to Audiology over the years Interview carried out by Sian Hirst on Tuesday 8th November 2011
Jonathan Binnington describes the many changes to Audiology over the years “If you remember what was going on in the Black Country in the seventies and at the beginning of the eighties, it was when the heavy industry was still there. If you remember in Brierley Hill there was still Round Oaks Steel Works there was still all of the heavy engineering in the Black Country. We still had the health consequences, the poor health consequences of those heavy, dirty manual jobs on the local population. The patients that we were seeing, invariably at sixty to sixty five years old looked absolutely knackered. Life expectancy at that time, well if somebody got to seventy then they were old. The middle ear disease -that was still prevalent, people with perforations, older people coming for hearing aids with no ear drums, middle ear disease, discharging ear –what can you do for that? Absolutely nothing. A lot of people were still using the box hearing aids, with the piece of wire to the button receiver in their ear and of course those hearing aids were only moderately effective. They could help people hear really well but only when the hearing aid user was in a very quiet room with only one person speaking, but of course in those kind of situations they didn’t have that much difficulty hearing in the first place and the difficulties that they experience were then as they are now, a matter of not being able to distinguish speech from background sounds particularly
well. There was a Black Country saying ‘I can hear folks are speaking but I cor hear what they’m saying’. Of course we were only fitting folks with one hearing aid, because that was what one did. In the hearing aids we have now, there is more computing power than took the first astronauts to the moon and its all driven by a little one and half volt battery, now that’s how far hearing aid technology has come on. I can remember sitting hearing aid exams in the past, audiology exams where part of the syllabus was knowing what the electronics did in each of the different circuit parts of the hearing aid. These days nobody has a clue what they do, or how they do it. These days we don’t look at it as a bunch of components, these days it gets thought of it very much the same way that computer architecture is thought of.”
“There was a Black Country saying ‘I can hear folks are speaking but I cor hear what they’m saying’.”
Waiting area, 1979
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W1980-90’s elcome STORIES
FROM THE GENERAL
TO THE MANOR Eileen White remembers the Manor Hospital in 1989 Interview carried out by Patricia Etchells on Monday 21st November 2011
Eileen White recalls the move from the General Hospital to the Manor Hospital when the West Wing opened in 1989. She was a Nurse Sister at the time and had the responsibility for organising the transportation of her patients.
and took photographs of us, and all you can see of me actually is my bottom sticking up in the air and I’m in a box sorting out equipment. Everybody you talked to felt because we’d moved from the small General unit and everybody knew everybody else, to move over here wards were brilliant, facilities were fabulous after being at the General but they felt that the family atmosphere wasn’t there. They were so busy, so many staff that they didn’t have time for each other. That was the adjustment we all had to make, it didn’t last for ever obviously.”
“The General Hospital closed and we had to move all of our patients over into the new Manor, and we had got Ward 7. My ward was the first ward to move over, it was hilarious really because the only way we could move our patients on tractions…we had to have a wide van with plenty of room for the traction. So my poor young lads and elderly people all came across to the Manor in the back of the laundry truck, which they thought was hilarious. They came from the ATV studios
“all you can see of me actually is my bottom sticking up in the air!”
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HOSPITAL DEVELOPMENTS John Rostill remembers the Manor Hospital in the 1990’s Interview carried out by Patricia Etchells on Wednesday 7th March 2012
John Rostill was Chief Executive of the Manor Hospital in the 1980-90’s. He recalls the physical changes to the building during this time and NHS Trust status. “In 1985 we started building what we referred to as Phase 4 of the District General Hospital and I guess that a lot of us hoped that that would be the start of something and that the financial situation would be such that over a period of time we would in fact be able to knock down Exeter South Wing, the Exeter Unit and East Wing and develop a much more cohesive single site hospital. I don’t think many of us really believed that we’d be able to do it very quickly. One of the advantages of Trust status was that we had more of a say on how we would deal with our money. And one of the biggest changes that I oversaw was the building, commissioning and opening of what was then the new Maternity Hospital. And that was done in time; in fact it was opened ahead of time and within budget. In fact it was four and a half million pounds, which wouldn’t buy you a lot now but it did in those days. And that was absolutely superb. There was the Head of Midwifery and someone called Eileen Fallen who were very much keen on making this work. The real beauty of that, it was one of the best maternity hospitals I have ever seen, was that it was as a result of involving the staff in developing the plans and involving the patients, both past patients and future patients in the way that the service was developed. It was brilliant, excellent and it was one of the real benefits of NHS Trust status.”
John Rostill and Sir Arthur Hill, West Wing build 1980’s
CHAPLAIN Ann Walton describes her role at the Manor Hospital in 2011 Interview carried out by Sian Hirst on Wednesday 18th January 2012
Ann Walton describes her role as Lay Chaplain for the Manor Hospital. “It’s a caring role. I have not got a uniform on so when I go in it gives the patient an opportunity if they have got any worries or concerns to talk to me as a different person. But also I am there as a religious person to give them a helping hand or a prayer or whatever they want; it’s just good to be there for them.”
“I am there as a religious person to give them a helping hand or a prayer or whatever they want;”
MICROSURGERY Tony Durrell remembers the Manor Hospital in the 2000’s Interview carried out by Carol Thompson on Saturday 12th November 2011
“When I had my hernia operation, afterwards I had an appointment to come in. It was playing up and very painful so they bought me in by ambulance. I was hoping to get it done quickly and conventionally but that wasn’t to be. I would have had to wait quite a bit to have it done, until I had a phone call, if I was prepared to have microsurgery would I consent to have it done, I said if it gets me better quickly I will do that. The guy that did it was Mr Amir Khan who is now the chief bod at Walsall, it was the first time it had ever been done in Walsall Hospital, I was the first patient to have microsurgery and it’s been successful.”
‘It was the first time it had ever been done in Walsall Hospital.” South Wing
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Official opening of West Wing, Manor Hospital, 1991
CHANGES IN SURGERY SINCE 1992 Amir Khan, Medical Director and General Surgeon talks about changes since 1992 Interview carried out by Kerry Hodgkiss on Saturday 12th November 2011
Amir Khan, Medical Director and General Surgeon at the Manor Hospital recalls some changes that have occurred since his arrival in 1992. “I came as a Consultant General Surgeon with a specialist interest in Vascular Surgery in 1992. Also I used to be an Upper GI Surgeon. The world has changed enormously, in those days we did oesophagectomies here because we treated patients with cancers of the gullet but then with centralisation they were taken away. We ended up doing vascular and I was involved in benign upper GI work. I brought in here with me bariatric surgery, which was never done here before; this is for those patients who are overweight. Initially we used to do about six to ten patients a year and now we are doing about three hundred patients a year. Surgery has changed a lot and the hospital over all has changed, it was a smallish unit. In General Surgery we were four surgeons, then we became five and now we are nine. We use to have a single handed urologist and now we
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have three. In Vascular Surgery I was a single handed vascular surgeon and now we have three. The hospital has also changed structurally; the old hospital was a Victorian building and now it is replaced with a modern hospital with plenty of space and light whereas the old buildings were dark, we have moved from old Nightingale wards with patients lying from one end to the other to small areas now, in some wards it has come to single rooms now. The work we do today is very different to the work we did in those days, one of the biggest changes in my life was key hole surgery – I remember the surgeons used to say that the more senior you are the bigger incisions you made but it’s the opposite way round now being the smallest possible incision to get the best result and that came around with the advances of modern technology. Patients in the old days used to stay in the hospital for a simple operation for up to five days, now those cases are done as day cases. Major surgery for which patients used to stay on average for two or three weeks, now they stay for two or three days. A lot of the focus is now on the quality of care we provide to the patients, and individual attention.”