Sepia Saturday 184

This week’s prompt falls upon the anniversary of Louis Pasteur successfully treating a boy with the rabies vaccine.

As I type this we celebrate the 65th birthday of the National Health Service and therefore it seems fitting to start this week’s prompt with this first picture.

This next picture is from my Guildford Collection and features the Royal Surrey County Hospital. This picture dates from 1925. The name has since been transferred to the new hospital at Egerton Way, near the venue of the University of Surrey. 
This building I believe is what was the location of the Workhouse, before becoming part of the National Health Service and named St Lukes. I was born at St Lukes and when I worked in Surrey the Oncology unit was still based here. Since then, the equipment has been relocated to an oncology wing at the New hospital (Egerton Road site) and the building sold off. 
You can read about the Guildford Workhouse HERE and about the Spike, which is in the area known as Charlotteville HERE. There is also more details available at the St Lukes Hospital Heritage Project HERE
In 1952 my Mum contracted Polio. She was then 4 years old and spent months in hospital having various treatments. 
There was none of the gentle approach of children’s wards, but the harsh reality of illness. Mum spent months at Rowley Bristol Orthopedic hospital. Mum tells me that she remembers her parents coming to see here in the isolation ward and not being able to actually go into the room, but had to view her through the glass window. How frightening that must have been to a little girl and her parents. 
This picture dates from July 1954. Mum made an almost full recovery and now has, developed a condition called Post Polio Syndrome, which was diagnosed in 1996. That was something that simply was not predicted back in the 1950s. You can read my other posts about Polio HERE
Taking part in Sepia Saturday

About Julie Goucher

Genealogist, Author, Presenter, native Guildfordian, avid note taker and journal writer. Lover of Books, Stationery & History; Surnames, European Ancestors, Butcher & Orlando One-Name Studies, Pharos Tutor for all One-Name Studies and surname courses.
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17 Responses to Sepia Saturday 184

  1. Bob Scotney says:

    We've been fortunate that no-one we knew has every contracted polio. I remember reading about the use of iron lungs back in the 1950s. We should be proud of of our National Health Service.


  2. Sorry to hear about your mother's ongoing health condition from polio. I has read about Post Polio Syndrome when the information was released years ago. It's very sad to think it's behind you and then find it's not.


  3. Karen S. says:

    Oh gosh, wow, I learned something new about polio! The boy next door growing up had suffered from polio, not good. The vaccination shots for polio feel horrible, but are so important.


  4. Postcardy says:

    I have been in favor of a National Health Service for the U.S. since the early 1960s. I can't understand why so many people are against it.

    My parents had a friend who died from polio when he contracted it as an adult. It was still a big worry in my early years.


  5. Little Nell says:

    I wonder how many more birthdays the poor old Health Service will celebrate!


  6. ScotSue says:

    A very interesting “take” on the this week's theme. I remember the polio epidemic of the early 1950's as two of the girls I was friendly with at school suffered. I recall how worried my mother was about me and I was petrified at the thought of hospital and the iron lungs which kept patients alive.


  7. My father also had polio as a child. I keep meaning to write something up about his experience but haven't yet. Thanks for the nudge.


  8. Post Polio is dreadful and like many illnesses where there is no visual signs people show no signs of understanding.

    Even though Mum's left leg was affected, she is now experiencing many problems as a result of the polio from so long ago. Thankfully the disease is pretty much gone, apart from some parts of the third world and in this day and age they are unnecessary cases.


  9. Absolutely Kristin. My Grandparents must have wondered what was happening to their little girl. There was no facility to stay at the hospital, back in the 1950s visiting times were strict period of about 2 hours, and all they could do was look through the glass window.

    As to Mum, she must have been frightened and wondered why her parents were not coming to give her reassuring hugs and cuddles.


  10. Following your comment about the iron lung I asked Mum if she remembered this. She doesn't though does remember the events around that time.

    She had been feeling unwell for a few days and the Doctor was called. The Doctor advised that Mum was simply suffering from perhaps the onset of a childhood illness and recommended that her parents took her on the already arranged holiday.

    The day of the holiday arrived and she went to get out of bed and collapsed.

    Mum's only physical sign of ever having polio was no calf muscle in her left leg. She never used a caliper or stick, and is only recently using stick now.

    Mum remembers lumber punctures, the isolation and the routine checkups until she was 17 years old.


  11. Kristin says:

    I remember the other story about your mother having polio. I'm sure that was a very sad and frightening time for her. Even if she had been old enough to understand it would have been scary.


  12. A good health (or not) tie in to the prompt – and such a coincidence with the date too.


  13. This brings back most scary memories. As a child in the 50s (2 years younger than your Mum) I would spend time at the Derbyshire Royal Infirmary, where my Mum worked as an Orthoptist. I remember I had a lot of freedom to wander the corridors. I recall one ward, the old fashioned long open wards of late Victorian structure, that was always full of polio patients in iron lungs. That was deeply scary, polio was something people still caught, and nobody hid the fact. That is what happened to you, perhaps. For those who do not know, here is an image, perhaps even more alarming than even I remember as a six year old.


  14. Deb Gould says:

    One of my mother's friends had polio; she now (at 89) has post polio syndrome…yikes! We in the US envy your National Health Service, believe me!


  15. I certainly remember those horrible years of the polio epidemic and have one friend, stricken then, and suffering now from the post polio syndrome. Thanks to the Salk vaccine for virtually eradicating the disease.


  16. Yes, how awful for her. Remember only too well when a child how scared we were of getting the illness and forbidden to go swimming.


  17. Wendy says:

    I have never heard of Post Polio Syndrome. Goodness – like having polio wasn't bad enough. I had several childhood friends who had a sister or brother or parent with polio, but I haven't heard of anyone with it recently.


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