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Memories of the old Ingham Infirmary

A digger clears a load of bricks and mortar away from the demolished Ingham Infirmary.
A digger clears a load of bricks and mortar away from the demolished Ingham Infirmary.

Although the Ingham Infirmary was pulled down in 1991 to make way for housing, memories of the place, the people who worked there and of the patients they treated remain, as we found out when we posted a photo of the demolition on Facebook recently.

Margaret G Blythe said: “Forty years ago I had my kneecap removed by Tony Winn. I was in a four-bed ward, the window looked out onto the Westoe pub so I could tell the time by the doors opening and closing.

“I had my hen party on that ward, the families of the other patients had brought bottles in! Escaped on Tuesday and got married on Saturday in full leg plaster – the headline “bride was wearing French lace and plaster of Paris” (thanks dad).”

Meg Bond recalled how she “had my hand stitched there when I aged about seven. A stump of a broken tree branch had gone through it, leaving me dangling from the tree. My friend Robert Askew (aged nine) unhooked me, took me to his home and called an ambulance. He got into trouble for ‘creating a fuss over nothing’ cos his almost-blind grandma couldn’t see that an artery was bleeding. But the nurses at the Ingham said he’d done the right thing. And my parents were very grateful.”

Lynne Lillycrop posted: “Remember when our daughter was Christened at The Glebe Methodist Church, in Westoe Road, 40 years ago on Mother’s Day. Her gran, Florence Lillycrop, was in the Ingram Infirmary poorly so we walked up and she was able to see her through the window. Happy days.”

Dianne Grantham Martin told how she trained there, saying: “I had a fab time, the best training eve , made fab life-time friends. I was there 71-73 though cadet nurse at the General from 69. I believe Miss Seymour was fab, after my time Mr Dyan, Pinkerton, and Winn. Sally Kane, Sister Green, Miss Carr, Sister Hooper, Sister Rafferty and Robson Gerry, on ward one, and so many fab people never forgotten.”

Others who worked there were Lianne Douglas who “loved working there at the end of the 80s, it was a lovely hospital” and Sam Scott whose nursing career started in 1988. Ken Hartley explained how he “started my career in the NHS there in 1986” while Louisa Howard (maiden name Pape) said: “Loved working there 69 to early 70s”.

Carol Smith got in touch to say: “My husband, the late Mike Smith, was Catering Manager there and my sister-in-law, Judy Smith (nee Henderson) trained there. It was a lovely building” while Suzanne Buckingham told how “My mam used to work nightshift, making food for the doctors and staff. Sometimes I would visit her from the Mecca for a sandwich to take home.”

Linda Surtees Peters posted: “Loved working at the Ingham, it was like a cottage hospital where you knew everyone who worked there. Happy days.”

Yvonne Adams went on Facebook to reveal that she worked there in 1972. “I remember sister Rafferty well, first ward I worked on. Also remember you nurse Pape. I really looked up to you.”

June Wicks told how she “took end of my finger off in a door, the nurses and sister were really nice. Really nice hospital, our young Leslie was in there for ages when he got scalded bless him” while Michael Jacobson said: “Enjoyed the socials there when I was a lad. Being a teaching infirmary they used to recruit beautiful Irish lasses. So sad it’s gone!

Keith C Thompson remembered it well, he had his tonsils out there in 1947.

Other patients included Angela Hunter who “lived there! Three times I split my toe open and later buckled my arm in two places and had to have a plaster cast” while John Murray suffered “two broken arms and a broken toe all treated there. Stayed over two nights as well in the children’s ward.”

A lot of readers remembered a lady called Seymour.

Lee Harper wrote: “Seymour! What a lady” while Angela Reay commented: “Ms Seymour, fab lady. Don’t make em like her anymore. R.I.P.”

Rob Price said: “Miss Seymour, remember her well, shouted at the top of her voice.”

Nicola Robertson told how: “Mrs Seymour was the one I’ll never forget” and Mark Young commented: “Miss Seymour. Don’t get doctors like her anymore, God rest her soul.”

Denise Jopling Faill told how she “visited there many times, it was a good hospital. Dr Seymour was the paediatrics doctor there. Fab hospital”

Martin Borthwick also took to Facebook to say: “I was never away as a kid” while Mark Ord said: “I was in there 1980, fell off my bike.”

Brenda Wilkinson revealed how she “had my appendix out there when I was seven, a long time ago lol” and Judith Topping got in touch to say she “had my first varicose vein operation there in 1971.”

What are your memories of the Ingham Infirmary?