Posts Tagged ‘hospital’

Alec Paterson

May 5, 2015

A Canadian soldier of The Great War

A recent web search by our curator found him something long wanted. It was documentary evidence that Lavington Manor house had been used as a military hospital by the Canadians. Oral history had said this was the case, but now one soldier’s medical record confirms it was used.

Hospital record for Alec Paterson Click it to see a much larger version of the image.

Hospital record for Alec Paterson
Click it to see a much larger version of the image.

The top entry tells us that Alec spent three days in Lavington Manor, from the ninth to the twelfth of January 1915 suffering from influenza – described as a mild attack due to wet and exposure. He made a good recovery.

Alec was an officer – a lieutenant in the 2nd battery of the Canadian Field Artillery – and had been leading his men in training across the windswept downland of Salisbury Plain through one of the wettest winters on record. Of course, we know that flu is a viral infection and is not actually due to weather conditions although it may flourish in certain environments.

Anyway, Lieutenant Paterson was able to leave Wiltshire for France on 10th February 1915. This is an extract from the Canadian war diary.

War diary for 10th February. The Canadians are off to the war. Click to enlarge.

War diary for 10th February. The Canadians are off to the war.
Click to enlarge.

By this time the HQ had moved to Market Lavington which is why the entry was made there. But we believe the trains left from Patney and Chirton station which would have offered a more direct route to Avonmouth for the strangely circuitous sea voyage to the continent.

Despite the dislocated shoulder and the effects of a gas attack mentioned in the hospital report, Alec survived the war by which time he had risen to the rank of Major. And it is in that uniform that we see him here.

Alec Paterson after his promotion to Major

Alec Paterson after his promotion to Major

Now to redirect readers to the blog produced by Alec’s grandson, Robert.

You can click here to find the post our curator discovered and from that you can navigate to all sorts of fascinating pages about the Canadians whilst still in Canada, in Wiltshire and then on to the hell of Vimy Ridge.

Many thanks to Robert for allowing us to share and use his family information.


The hospital in the carnival procession

January 26, 2015

Here we have a photo we do not know all that much about. We are confident it was taken in Easterton which was where the carnival processions for ‘Hospital Week’ always lined up. Sadly we can’t date the photo or, at present, name any of the people.

A carnival float in Easterton - but when, and who are the people?

A carnival float in Easterton – but when, and who are the people?

This is a carnival float mounted on a small four wheeled waggon.  On the float a young patient, with a bandaged head is being tended by a nurse. The scene definitely portrays an era when it was the job of nurses to care for patients, rather than to be harassed by paper work. Two young lads and a lady are also by the bedside.

The characters in the hospital tableau

The characters in the hospital tableau

In front of the waggon there is a rather ragged girl, a young man attempting to look a bit of a toff and a lass dressed in adverts. We’ll enlarge her for those ads might give a clue to the date.

The advert girl includes an ad for Bird's Blancmange

The advert girl includes an ad for Bird’s Blancmange

There is also a small child at the left, looking on.

The waggon is nicely decorated with flowers. Twigs with leaves have been woven into the spoked wheels.

Can anyone out there throw any further light on this picture?

Here is the news – for 1936

January 12, 2014


We have a number of old newspapers at the museum – kept for ages by locals for some reason of interest and then passed on to the museum. This is one of them – The Wiltshire Gazette for Thursday 23rd January 1936.

Amongst articles in it we have this one.



We’ll skip the first couple of bits although, of course, the passing of a King was sad news, and move on to ‘Appropriate’. Here’s the transcription.

One of the artistes at a Market Lavington entertainment in aid of the Devizes and District Hospital extension fund was actually born in the hospital, while the little programme seller who was chosen to select a prize winner from the purchasers of programmes has been a patient there. The entertainment was held in the Market Lavington parish room, the arrangements having been made by the local hospital committee. The programme was provided through the good offices of Mr and Mrs Shephard of Easterton who made themselves responsible for the actual items. The proceedings opened with a balloon dance by the Misses R Clark, J Cooper, H and M Shephard and subsequently the same performers were seen in national dances with songs. Others contributing to the entertainment were Miss C Draper (songs), Mr W Harding of Erchfont (songs), The Misses M Harding and Joy Shephard (dialogue), Mr E Plank (monologue), Mr Crocker of Erchfont (songs), Mrs J Shephard (recitation), Miss Little and Mr S Sainsbury (“Darby and Joan”). Taking part in a diverting little sketch were Messrs W Austin, R Maule and J Shephard. There was a grand finale in the form of a well mixed variety turn by Mr and Mrs J Sheppard, and during this the winner of the programme prize was selected, the lucky holder being Mrs E Potter. The prize was given by Mr Jack Hill. Miss Milsom and two little girls dressed as nurses (little Miss Blake and Miss Dulcie Clark) were responsible for the sale of programmes and in this direction thanks are due to Mr Wilfred Moore for printing the programmes free. In fact a notable feature of the whole entertainment was the absence of overhead expense, and the unselfish work of the organisers was well rewarded when it became known that by their efforts £11 7s was available for the Hospital extension fund. At the close of the evening Mr G H Pike briefly thanked everyone whose work or support had contributed to the success of the concert.  The useful sum raised has been forwarded to the Hospital through Mr Robert Gauntlet and a grateful letter of thanks has been received by the organisers.

We had better add that our museum is wonderful, lovely and a great resource, but if you want to see a full range of local papers then we are NOT the place. You’ll need to head up to the Wiltshire and Swindon History centre in Chippenham

Mr Doubleday at the Forbes Fraser Hospital

July 15, 2012

Edward Doubleday was a Market Lavington butcher. In the 1920s and 30s it was his name above the door of the butchers shop which still runs in Market Lavington.

He was born in about 1873 in Rutland. It was after 1911 that he took over the butchery business in Market Lavington.

Unfortunately, Edward must have developed an illness for in 1935 he spent time in the Forbes Fraser Hospital in Bath. This hospital, more or less on the site of the present Royal United Hospital had opened in 1924 and was, at the time, deemed a very up-to-date place.

1935 was, of course, before the 1948 founding of the National Health Service. Edward had to pay for treatment which must have proved a major expense.

Here we see the receipt he received for payment for one week in the hospital. He actually stayed there for more like three weeks.

Receipt for treatment of Market Lavinhgton Butcher, Edward Doubleday, at the Forbes Fraser Hospital in Bath

We can see that the total bill for the week came to six pounds twelve shillings and nine pence. As a proportion of income, that’s equivalent to more than £1000 today. Yet, as we see, most of the cost is for board and lodging and care by nurses. Our Edward had just six and tuppence spent on him for medicines and he presumably fancied some soda water and spent seven pence on that.

It seems probable that Edward had an incurable condition for he died the following year, aged just 63. He is buried in St Mary’s Churchyard, Market Lavington.