16 thoughts on “Stockton and Thornaby Surgical Hospital

  1. Stockton and Thornaby Hospital was indeed a far different place to the modern North Tees and I had my share of both with a visit to the Sedgefield General in-between. Osteomyelitis at age ten saw me with a big plaster from knee covering the foot with an iron to walk on. Doctor Reed was the bone expert and he asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up, “join the Army says I” right do as I tell you and you will. In and out for several months and the plaster was off, I was one of a lot of boys and girls infected who did not become crippled in some way, thank you Doctor Reed.
    Second time at fifteen in severe pain Mother and I walked down to the Doctor in Norton High Street, “Good Grief” he said, “get him to Hospital now” so we came out got on the “0” bus to Parliament Street and walked up to the Hospital. Ropner ward, the dreaded enema and then the mask with the ether and black out. I awoke being very sick and in severe pain. The night nurse was checking me and finally got the duty Doctor who again put on the mask and black out, two operations in a day, I never did things by half.
    Two weeks in Hospital the ward seemed to swarm with Nurses in different coloured uniforms who all knew their duties and were very efficient doing them. The ward Sister had the place buzzing for the Matrons inspection each day and you could see the Nurses quaking in case Matron did not think they had done the job properly.
    Matron was Irish one afternoon she came in and found me playing Irish tunes on the piano in the ward, I felt an arm round my neck and froze as I looked up but she just said “play on”, being Matrons favourite had its perks.
    One night one of the lads had nipped out to the fish shop through the back door, as he came back in some one shouted “Matron” so he lifted my bed clothes and pushed the parcels under them. Matron walked down the ward stopped near my bed then walked on, she must have smelled the fish and chips, I could as the parcels raised my temperature, she just walked out with a good night. We enjoyed our secret feast.
    On release Matron walked out with Mother and I telling me what a lucky lad I was it had been touch and go not that I knew that, back down Parliament Street onto the “0” bus and home, the Ambulance was for the very ill not walking wounded.
    Frank.

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    • Must have been a common illness years ago Frank as I was in with osteomyelitis in my arm when I was 9 years old in 1963. I had to stay in the hospital for about 5 weeks and getting loads of injections in my backside every day. I used to like it when the nurse came around every day to give us a big spoonful of gooey malt–yummy. I wasn’t too keen on having to have a nap every afternoon about three o’ clock though. It was because of that stay in hospital that I missed the start of the new school year in September. It was a new school just opening St’ Patricks in Fairfield. Before that I was at the old St. Cuthberts School down the Bowesfield area.

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      • John, in my day it was not known to be an infection, Doctor Reed a young man then (1940) had his own idea’s and it did not include laying about in bed. Get up, get out, play, walk and exercise plus of course we did not have antibiotics either.
        Once the plaster was on and I could manage it with crutches it was home, school and normality, “err” not quite I became the butt of the bully brigade and walking the long corridors at Richard Hind from class to class found myself on my butt as crutches were kicked away or the sly punch and push.
        They knew not what they were taking on, the crutches became long spears or heavy knob berries when I reversed them, the plaster with a leg iron inflicted nasty bumps and bruises, I was also taking boxing lessons at the time, it ended with me getting a large space as I walked the corridors or played in the playground during breaks. It also got me into the headmasters Office for a long talk, him not me and handed a letter to give to my parents which I duly did, unopened you would not have dared, Dad read it and laughed good for you Son keep on using your crutches and plaster as deadly weapons if some one hurts you.
        It is still apparently around today and is now treated with antibiotics although if you once had it it can return. You do not have to walk the many miles I did for nine months take vitamin “D” on every meal and have the heel opened and the bone scraped in Hospital. The Air raid Wardens all knew me, when the itch got too much at night I got up and sat on Norton Green to cool it down, the lads would take me in their hut at Red House and give me tea and biscuits. Doctor Wilmot once asked me how I got in the Army having had Osteomyelitis, I told him at the medical in Middlesbrough he was the Doctor who passed me A1+, we had a laugh talked about the army and he gave me an extra weeks leave at home.
        The good old days?
        Frank.

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  2. I had my stomach pumped there on VJ night after eating something in Norths shop doorway while watching the bonfire on St Peters Road.

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  3. Did the back of this hospital overlook Woodland Street? I lived there as a child upto the age of six and I have vague memories of a building at the end of the road where I saw people smoking sat in wheelchairs??

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  4. We lived not far from this hospital in St Cuthberts Road I went there for an operation so did my Dad but my Mother died there. That was a very good hospital shame it was knocked down.

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  5. I remember, as a child, thinking this hospital looked overpoweringly majestic, very official. On 28th November 1950, on his Silver Wedding Anniversary, my Dad was taken here having suffered a heart attack. The nurses were very friendly and nice to me. My Dad was later released and had to give up work entirely. He became very depressed. Eight months later, on 24th July 1951, he suffered a second heart attack and died. I was 9 years old.
    Thank you Christine for jogging me into nostalgia. At 76 the memory now raises a benign smile and the stinging is almost gone.

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    • Sorry to hear of your loss Roy at such an early age. It must have been just terrible not to have your Dad by your side when growing up

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  6. I visited this hospital as a child in the fifties a few times taken by my mam for stitches. The nurses always give me a candy lollipop good days

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