Godfrey Jellyman (born 1923)
When father was young, there was a doctor at Chalford Hill; he used to have to do a bit in his garden. Also, when he was on his rounds, he had to drive the horse and cart for the doctor. This was after father had left school.
I am not sure if it was the advent of the NHS or not, but a dentist used to visit the school and set up his ‘surgery’ in the infant classes. This was a dreaded occasion. The district nurse also visited to check pupils over, especially for the dreaded nits. Any cuts or abrasions were treated with iodine.
The France Lynch Rooms were used for quite a lot of different things. A Welfare Clinic was held once a month. Here mothers could purchase their National Dried Milk (the main baby milk at the time), orange juice and cod liver oil. Babies were weighed and a doctor would attend periodically for the immunisations (here of course we are talking definitely early 1960s) not sure which decade these began.
In the summer/autumn, women with their families would walk through the fields collecting blackberries, some of which were made into blackberry vinegar. Diluted with hot water and some sugar, this was a remedy for coughs and colds.
George Gleed (born 1930)
The Women’s Institute (hut) at the bottom of the pleasure ground has been pulled down now. I used to go to welfare there.
Cynthia Gleed (born 1933)
Dr. Middleton lived along the road by where we lived in the council houses. When I was 29 I had to have my varicose veins done in hospital. I was told I could go home and have a bath and I had all these red blotches on my legs and George asked if he’d come and have a look. George made a fuss, like he always did. The next morning he (Dr. Middleton) come in the gate at the bottom and shouted ‘who is that making a fuss’? George told him to get out. We changed doctors then. Dr. Middleton was so unpredictable. We know that people used to go into the surgery and he started playing his bagpipes and people started laughing and he told them to clear off, that there’s nothing wrong with them and he’d clear the surgery.
In the early 60s there was a polio scare. He sent us a postcard when we were at the Skiveralls to say he’d got the vaccine in and when we got there, he was in the road waving this needle around. He was drunk but we had to have it done, but we didn’t know what was in that syringe!
There was Dr. Mundan at Eastcombe, where Crouch’s house is by the church.
Grace Banyard (born 1930)
We were playing French tag in the playground (Chalford Hill School – Infants), where you put your hands out, and the toilets were L shaped and someone opened the door one end and I was stood by the other door and smashed my thumb. They didn’t stitch it then, they just stuck it back on. I had to go to Doctor Dill, the school doctor. He lived where Middleton took over from. Very nice man, but Dr. Munden was our real doctor in Eastcombe. When I did my thumb, I can remember having a lovely little blue dress on and mother had to cut it off me. It took a long time to heal.
We went up into the top school then. There was a cookery class there, where they had the dentist and doctor who came, they used that room.
At Eastcombe they had a girls’ orphanage and when they got to a certain age they all came to France Lynch School, before they went to High School or wherever.
I can remember we didn’t have toothpaste years ago, we just rubbed our finger on the soot in the chimney and rubbed it on our teeth. We used to have a school dentist – I hated that. When they brought the polio and that out, we all had to go there and my arm was very bad, reacted very badly because of my colouring. I had to have it done a second time.
When the farmers gave up, Alan (husband) and his friend went on as foresters, cutting trees, and he was injured very badly and ended up in hospital – broke his leg in 2 or 3 places when a tree fell on him. The saw was still going so he cut himself out and crawled up the bank and got in the landrover and got as far as the gate and then caught the attention of someone. He was in hospital 6 weeks. Before that he got injured too, when a piece of wood shot off the winch and hit him in the side of the head. Then he was rushed to Frenchay.
My dad had rheumatic fever because he was gassed in the 1st World War. That affected his chest. He couldn’t work after he was 59/60. We used to go down to Blizzards to get the herbs. My mother believed in herbs. Dad went into hospital with cancer and he ended up at Salterley Grange and he wasn’t eating and he was on this machine, so I asked if I can bring him something in. Mother always used to make beef tea. Then you could buy it in the chemist, like bottles of Bovril, and so I took this in one night with a spoon and he ate very bit! I used to take him some in every night. He got better. He was 70 something then, and the nurse said she had never heard of that before.
Shirley Bushell (born 1943)
My earliest memory of school is the first week I started school, the school dentist came and he decided to take out four of my milk teeth, just there and then. I was four. No parents there, and they found my gums bled a lot and I had a new yellow knitted cardigan to start school and it was covered in blood. I don’t know what my mother thought when she came to pick me up. I always remember this cardigan covered in blood! The nurse came to look at our heads seeing we didn’t have nits!
Doctor Munden had a surgery in someone’s house on the main road just where the houses were taken down for the road widening in the 1960s – just opposite the village hall, opposite the Round House but on the other side of the road.
Gerald Gardiner (born 1933)
I mainly worked in asbestos for Fibrecrete and they got taken over, taken over, taken over and after all them years of washing my clothes Maureen got the disease that killed her look. She died 11 years ago. I worked from ’55 to ‘67’ with asbestos.
There’s lots of asbestos buried around. There was a chap from Oakridge and all he was doing was taking asbestos waste away. They broke it up and put it on a wagon. The car park at the Old Neighbourhood is all asbestos. It was like a little quarry and they filled it in deep with asbestos. They closed the one by the road as you go along towards the top club because the asbestos started coming up by the track people used. We didn’t have a mask or nothing. They did know it was dangerous from the 30s. I found that out after. When I finished off working I was on the beater floor – it wasn’t a dirty job it was just dusty but you were breathing in bits of fibre like feathers – the bad stuff look. I’ve got something on the right lung – plural plaque. Asbestos like Maureen had turns nasty and you can’t get over it.
Margaret Mills (born 1934)
The doctor’s surgery was in Chalford Valley along the main road – just along from Chalford Church there was a building on the left, where Dr. Hubert Crouch had a surgery. That’s where we went as children; then there was another one in Dr. Middleton’s Road. I remember going to Dr. Middleton once when my own doctor was away. He was quite a character but he was alright with us.
Beryl (born 1941) & Derek (born 1938) Freebury
The visitors to the schools (Eastcombe), the nit nurse, and Mr. Bettridge the health inspector who I think lived in Oakridge, and of course the dentist.
I didn’t work until our youngest child was three and a half, then (1971?) I worked at the local doctor’s surgery just two mornings a week. When he was 14, I worked full time. I worked there for thirty three and a half years until I retired. As the surgery grew, I became practice manager and finished in 2001.
When our boys were growing up there was probably a dozen families with children the same age. We used to go to Welfare by Beavis mini bus once a month and go around picking people up in Water Lane, Oakridge and back into Bisley, where the Welfare was in the WI hall. It was all voluntary then. We went there to collect milk, orange juice and be weighed so all the children got together.
Bob Messenger (born 1950)
Used to be a doctor along the road, along by the Mechanics years ago, and one at Frith Wood. I remember Doctor Middleton, used to be on the whisky. He used to be a surgeon at Stroud hospital didn’t he?– good doctor he was, when he wasn’t drinking. He used to live down the Weavers. Doctor Goodall used to live along here, had a surgery at Frith Wood. Used to be a doctor down here after supermarket closed but they moved to Nailsworth. Went to dentist along Lansdown.
Audrey Bishop (born 1932)
When I was 17 and got into this tuberculosis, when people were away in the panel(?) for a couple of weeks – I was on the panel for 4 years, so you lose contact, you know. You sort of drop out. It was quite a shock to be told you had to go off to Standish. It frightened my poor mum to death. I was in bed here for six months before I could even get in. Then I was in hospital for a year, then I came home.
B Block, we were on, and that was all girls. There were some there about 50. Most of them were pretty young. I remember crying because I had to go. I didn’t want to go. But after I didn’t want to come back, which sounds bad, but you get attached to the environment, because we were happy there. If your birthday came round you had a special do for your birthday. There was 33 in the ward I was in, which was an old block. There was C block that was built afterwards and that was small cubicles, but I was in this old-fashioned wooden block, 15 each side, and there was a treatment room and three single rooms in case anybody was dropping off.
I was very ill altogether. I didn’t get up for months on end. Couldn’t go anywhere. But of course the biggest treatment room, once you got away from the block, was up on what they called E block. Then you were put on a trolley, took a ride in the furniture till you got there, on a trolley. There was some treatment you did up on this block. They started off treatment on B block, but then as you got on to doing, having bigger treatment, or getting up more and walking – getting you back to doing things for yourself really.
Our mum was worried that I wasn’t married but I’m afraid TB got in the way. I did have reason to tell a certain young man that I’d had TB and that ended that. And whether it would today or not, I don’t know. But all these years back… It used to be called consumption didn’t it? And it consumes, so I suppose it’s a good name for it. You can call it being lucky xxx(drug name) came on the scene, ready for me. I didn’t like them injections but there you are. They must have cured me, and some horrible medicine 6 times a day. It was like cat’s wee with about 10 saccharines in it!. It was the most dreadful thing! Streptomisin (?) came on the scene at the time.
I was ill for 4 years but they kept in touch with the x-rays and things for longer than that. I don’t remember how long, it’s many years ago now. But I never had any cause to be looked at again.
I had the doctor in Dr. Middleton’s Road, it was Dr. Middleton. He was a right character. He was very good to me, though he was very naughty to start with because he didn’t get moving. And I think our mum threatened him in the end, you know, because he kept signing me off to work, and my mother knew I wasn’t the type who didn’t want to go to work. Cos I didn’t want to go. I didn’t feel well enough to go. So she went along and tore him off a strip! And he came back and examined me and said to our mum, ‘she’s ill’ and she said ‘what do you think she’s been trying to tell you for…?’
That doctor, mind you, he might have been worried hisself, you don’t know what he thought, when he knew what was wrong, but thereafter, sweets were on the ration but I was never without a sweet. But he couldn’t do enough afterwards. He realised, I suppose, it was his fault I got as poorly as I did. ‘Cos I could have been away from work a month earlier. Instead of that, I was giving it to everyone else. I know another supervisor at the time – she went down two years later, but that might have been a bit long for me to have given it to her, but you don’t know, do you?
Nancy Gardiner (born 1924)
We put in to have the children because I couldn’t have any. We had Stephen when we were at the bungalow. He was only a few weeks old. Then we were asked by the same adoption society if we would take a 2 week old girl. They weren’t supposed to give them for adoption until they were 6 weeks old but the mother’s father wouldn’t have her back until she had got rid of the baby, So we had her at 3 weeks. The twins were Barnardo’s boys. Someone came up from Barnardo’s and asked us to foster these twin boys to see how we got on. Like fools we must have said yes, for six months. They were difficult. They weren’t quite two when we had them but because they’d been in the home – everything was ‘and me’. They’d been fighting for their own selves you see.