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More memories of Hallam and the District

By Black Country Bugle User  |  Posted: August 28, 2008

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AFTER seeing some of our recent articles on West Bromwich District Hospital, Mrs Mary Davies of Oldbury has sent us the accompanying photographs and a few of her memories of when she was Nurse Goode. She writes:

"I was a student nurse at West Bromwich District Hospital from 1958 to 1961. At that time there were two general hospitals in the town; West Bromwich District and Hallam Hospital. Although most of our training was undertaken at West Bromwich District we had to go to Hallam Hospital for our gynaecological training. Of course subsequently the District Hospital closed and became Edward Street Psychogeriatric Hospital, and Hallam Hosptial has now become the general hospital for the town. Nurses of course are now trained at university.

"In respect of the photograph submitted by Mrs Boden, of her brother Peter Ward, I can confirm that the lady in the photograph was a Miss Taylor, a midwifery tutor of Hallam Hospital. Although I did not know her at the District she was my tutor during my midwifery training later at Hallam.

"With respect to the photographs in issue 831 I know almost everyone in them, as I was in the group that succeeded them. During the course of my training I worked on the Children's Ward (Bache Ward) with Jean Prosser, and then moved to Casualty, where I worked with Jesse Ingley.

"The lecturer in the classroom is a Mr Joe Plant, general nursing tutor who sadly died in the early 1960s.

"The group photographs were formal records of prize giving and certificate presentations, taken by photographers Mr and Mrs Sidney Darby and Son of New Street, West Bromwich.

"The Nursing Home sister used to serve the students and doctors their meals in the Nurses Dining Room shown in your picture, although eventually the doctors got their own dining room. The photo of the Nurses' Sitting Room was somewhat posed, as I recall it was always cluttered with books as it was used primarily as a study room rather than a place to relax!

"Mrs Stanway moved to Hallam Hospital, where she remained for some considerable time. I remember I worked with Nurse Homer, then known as June Homer, and I have a number of prize-giving photographs which include her and myself. Readers may notice that qualified nurses had uniforms with lace cuffs, whilst the students had plain uniforms. In addition, belts were of a different colour although of course this does not show up in black and white.

"As it was a small hospital, there was a wonderful atmosphere, and I have very happy memories of my time there."

Mrs Davies also mentioned that each nurse received hospital badges on completion of their training, which were made in Birmingham from silver and featured the letters 'SRN'.

We also received an email from Helena Camwell of Rowley Regis, who referred to one of the pictures from our original article, showing Peter Ward at Ward 10 of an unidentified local hospital. Helena writes:

"I wondered if it may have been at the old Neurological Hospital in Smethwick. Working there in the '70s, I remember the ITU ward at the back of the hospital and am pretty sure this was the old Ward 10. It had two parts for the very sick and another for those recovering from brain surgery, some of whom would be there for months. I worked on both ends for several years before the hospital closed."

Along with Mary Davies's excellent photographs, we have also included another from Jean Cadwallader's District Hospital prospectus, which we took a look into a couple of editions ago. It shows the Main Operating Theatre, and how quaint it looks today, with its walls of glazed tiles and globe lights suspended from the high ceiling.

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