Memories of old Ipswich reawakened by Kindred Spirits

Heather Gosling has recalled the rather basic wards at Heath Road Hospital in the 1960s. This photog

Heather Gosling has recalled the rather basic wards at Heath Road Hospital in the 1960s. This photograph was taken on one of those wards in January 1964.

My picture feature published recently, looking back at the Anglesea Road and Heath Road Hospitals, Ipswich, is still bringing response from readers, writes David Kindred.

Heather Gosling has recalled the rather basic wards at Heath Road Hospital in the 1960s. This photog

Heather Gosling has recalled the rather basic wards at Heath Road Hospital in the 1960s. This photograph was taken on one of those wards in January 1964.

“It brought back memories of my stay there in 1976. Sister Bennett was the ward sister. I was in there for three months, Mr Hartfall was my consultant, I owe my life to them and all the staff, I don’t remember the name of the ward, only that it was a surgical ward

“I spent my 28th birthday in there and they all helped to make it a special occasion. I was very pleased to read that Sister Bennett is still enjoying her retirement as she is a very special lady and wishing her many more years.”

Alan Thompson, Ipswich.

Heather Gosling has recalled the rather basic wards at Heath Road Hospital in the 1960s. This photog

Heather Gosling has recalled the rather basic wards at Heath Road Hospital in the 1960s. This photograph was taken on one of those wards in January 1964.

“I am nurse on the left holding the silver medal. With me is Kathy Reid, who received the gold medal.


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“Sadly Kathy died some years ago, she came from Washbrook and married a registrar from the hospital. After passing our finals I continued on Pringle Ward at Heath Road, which was a male and female surgical ward based in an old Nissan hut.

“The group photograph shows the January set, of which Kathy belonged, my May set and the September set of 1962.

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“Several of us still meet each year at the nurses’ league reunion and AGM held at the hospital.”

Heather Gosling has recalled the rather basic wards at Heath Road Hospital in the 1960s. This photog

Heather Gosling has recalled the rather basic wards at Heath Road Hospital in the 1960s. This photograph was taken on one of those wards in January 1964.

Heather Gosling (nee Taylor),Trimley St Martin

“I so enjoyed your item of memories of Anglesea Road Hospital, it brought back so many happy memories of my training there in 1973 eventually qualifying as an SRN. So much had changed re health care since then, maybe not always for the better.

“As male student nurses we were in a minority, you could count the number on both hands. It was an era of high standards and expectation of jolly hard work, but tremendous job satisfaction. Surnames were the trend then, no Christian names. We took pride in our uniform, a long dental style coat laundered on site and starched like a piece of cardboard. I well remember the first few hours of wearing it, you felt it was cutting into your neck.

“How many miles a day we walked up and down those Nightingale wards one will never know, all I know is that after a day or night on duty your feet would feel on fire.

“Consultants’ rounds were carried out at set times during the week and woe betide you if silence was not maintained, no non smoking then, it is hard to believe, but one well respected consultant would carry out his ward round puffing on a cigarette,. You would so often follow him with an ash tray at the ready and so many times you missed his spent ash as he was so quick.

“On operating days the surgical ward was exceptionally busy. Observations had to be maintained, drainage bottles had to be checked, post op washing of patients, clean nightwear and a general freshen up, all the order of the day or night. The patients spent far longer in bed then following surgery, so pressure areas had to be attended to. For a patient to develop a pressure sore was a sin. I am not sure that I ever experienced nursing patients with a pressure sore in those days.

“Shift systems then included a split shift. These were a pain, you would probably work the morning 7.30am to 1pm then return 5pm till 9pm and you never left off until sister or the charge nurse gave you permission. Always one nurse would remain on the ward until report and hand over was completed, sometimes not very speedily!

“There was a great sense of comradeship and support between all the staff at Anglesea Road and you probably knew everyone who worked there. We were well catered for re meals, although if you worked at the far end of the hospital it was quite a rigid timescale to reach the dining room and then be faced with a long queue and woe betide you if you were late back.

“So many fond memories of training days and eventually qualifying as a staff nurse. You knew then what responsibility was, answerable to doctors and consultants, organising student and pupil nurses’ workloads and ensuring patients total needs were addressed. Good days with lots of fond memories and friendship.” Eric Dockerill, Ipswich

See more from David Kindred here

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