Archive for May, 2012

Eve and Jean’s visit to Whitchurch

May 25th, 2012

Eve Evans first made contact with me through this website in November of last year, she was a student nurse at Whitchurch from 1948-1951 when she left Cardiff. Until today Eve had not been back to Whitchurch. Jean Williams was also a student nurse at Whitchurch from 1949-1952, she went on to work as a qualified nurse and retired in 1975.

Jean and Eve

I had been to visit Eve at her home in Llandeilo earlier this year and we had said then we would try and arrange a visit to Whitchurch when her daughter, Jane, could bring her.

We started the visit by walking down from the front of the hospital to the canteen to share some memories of old times, then moving up to W1A (F1A) to have a look at the displays and some of the old record books from when Eve and Jean were students.

We then made out way to the boardroom for lunch with some members

Eve, Jean Mike and Lynne

of the historical society. Tim, Mike and Lynne were able to join us and we had a lovely time discussing Eve and Jean’s time at Whitchurch.

After lunch we went to visit the ECT department where Kara and Karen explained how the treatment is given today. Eve and Jean shared with us how ECT used to be given and the procedure has changed significantly.

The weather today could not of been better and we walked around the outside of W5 (F5) as Eve wanted to find the window she mentions in her Whitchurch memories:

“At one stage I was allocated a room on the gallery of F5. This ward was
alongside the main drive on to which the windows, including that of my room,
opened. But someone had slipped up and omitted to notice that the window to my
room fully opened up. Throughout the hospital as far as we knew, the sash windows
of all wards and corridors accessed by the patients were blocked so that they would
open not more than a couple of inches. This was obviously to prevent any patients
absconding by that means. My window was therefore not subject to the ‘curfew’, and
once the word got around there was traffic through that window throughout the night.
I would hear a whispered “Eve!” and rouse myself sufficiently to open the window,
which was about five feet from the outside ground, and help the latecomer in. My job
would then be to ostensibly go to the lavatory outside the ward, but in fact, to see if
the coast was clear for my visitor to return to her own bedroom. Sometimes they
would have to wait for what seemed like ages before they could leave me to return to
my sleep, and some nights were spent with two or three of us in my bed.”

Eve and Jean outside F5 (West 5)

Eve and Jean outside F5 (West 5)

 

To finish off the visit we went up to the Divisional offices as this is where Eve and Jean used to have their lecturers as student nurses, a wonderful venue with a lovely view over the bowling green.

 

Thank you to all we helped with this visit and made it a lovely day.

The Royal Hamadryad Hospital – Cardiff nurse seeks help with literary voyage

May 7th, 2012

H.M.S. Hamadryad

http://www.newswales.co.uk/?section=Health&F=1&id=24359

A Cardiff health worker is setting sail on a journey to uncover the history of one of the city’s famous ships and is asking for help.

Steve Maddern, a Community Mental Health Nurse with Cardiff and Vale University Health Board’s Community Mental Health Team, is based in the Hamadryad Centre in Butetown. The building is named after a 19th Century hospital ship, H.M.S. Hamadryad, which was berthed close to where it stands today.

The ship treated the many sailors who came through the city’s port during the industrial revolution. When it was decommissioned a hospital was built which today serves as the Hamadryad Centre.

Steve, from Maesteg, is researching a book he intends to write on HMS Hamadryad and the Royal Hamadryad Hospital.

He said: “Cardiff in the middle 1800’s was a very interesting place. It was the centre of the coal industry that fired the Industrial Revolution, and its port served ships that traversed the whole world.

“With this came the problems of poverty, crime, and of course, disease. With hospital care being a valuable resource, there was concern expressed about the welfare of the sailors that came in and out of the port of Cardiff.”

Steve said that the HMS Hamadryad was drafted in to provide care before being abandoned and a hospital built nearby.

He said: “The hospital eventually became used for the general population, and only closed in the middle of the first decade of the 21st Century. Stories abound of the hospital, and staff who have worked there all recount the stories of the ‘ghosts’ that inhabited one of the wards.

“The building continues to serve the people of Cardiff, and now houses the Mental Health services serving the southern parts of Cardiff.

“I am currently researching for a book that I am writing and I would love to speak to any former members of staff at the hospital, or anyone with any memories or information about the hospital.”

Contact Steve on 07970 973929 or at steve.maddern@wales.nhs.uk.

Thank you to Dr Ian Beech for this post.