Deanhouse Workhouse 1916 to 1968

The second part of the history of the Deanhouse Workhouse covers the period from 1916 to the closure of St.Mary’s Hospital in 1968.

 In January 1916 the master presented his half yearly report to the Board of Guardians. He said that large portions of the Institution had been painted but more still needed painting and plastering and the exterior also required attention. He reported that the gas supply had failed on several occasions and  asked the committee to condemn the present lavatory basins and replace them with modern pans.

In May of the same year the Board approved that the wages of J.Settle, engineer, be increased from 31/- to 34/- a week with leave on alternate Sundays. Mr. Froggatt, the handyman, received an increase from 27/- to 30/-.

1917. In September the Board of Guardians agreed to increase the salary of Dr. Smailes, the medical doctor at Deanhouse , from £70 to £100. The half-yearly report of the Master said that he had considerable trouble evolving a dietary which is within the limits of bread, meat and sugar suggested by the Food Controller and had been forced to introduce oatmeal gruel into the breakfast dietary. But in view of the state of world events , he thought the committee would find the diet had been satisfying if not as varied as usual.

In November 1918 about a dozen blind inmates were entertained by Cllr. J.Sykes and Mr. G.Batley. A most enjoyable time was spent and, in spite of the restrictions, there was a “ good spread “.

 Dr. Smalles presented Mr. & Mrs. Rowbotham, the retiring Master and Matron, in April 1919 with a Queen Anne tea service which had been subscribed to by all the staff and friends.

 The Christmas Day celebrations were said by everyone to have been one of the best ever- Mr. Settle , the engineer, said that it was the 25th. time he had attended.

Through the energies of Mr. Lodge and Mr. Beaumont, a concert was given in February 1920 under the direction of F.Whitely. At the Board of Guardians meeting in October , the Deanhouse Committee minutes were read in which they recommended that thanks be given to Mr.Beaumont for providing 48 patients with a charabanc trip. The resignations of Mr. & Mrs. Hill, the porter-book-keeper and the porteress- laundress were received as well as the resignation of Leah the cook. After discussions the Board accepted the resignations.  In the same month the inmates were entertained by Mr. P. Sandford’s party . The concert was highly successful and, as a bonus, chocolates and sweets were supplied to all patients. At the Guardians meeting in December, the Board discussed a proposal for the erection of a nurses home at the Institution. The estimate was £12,000 and after lots of discussion and concern about the cost it was agreed to delay the matter for 12 months.

Christmas day was a very special occasion as it marked the starting of the electric lighting installations. It consisted of a Crossley 23 brake horsepowerengine to run an electric light  plant providing for 300 lights. Mr.Broadbent was asked to start the engine and switch on the lights and he christened the new engine ‘Betty’ after the name of the daughter of the master of the Institution, Mr.Beavis. The normal Christmas activities for the inmates started at 7.30 with breakfast after which the wards were visited and fruit, sweets and tobacco were issued. Dinner was at 12 and was presided over by some of the Guardians and their friends and was followed by games and entertainment. Mr.Tom Bamforth, a patient, said the day was one of the best within his recollection and the food was of first order, beautifully cooked and well served. A  concert was given at the Institution on February 2 by ‘The Middles’ a male voice concert party from Meltham.The first reported meeting of the Board of Guardians of that year was in March  and the Deanhouse  Committee’s minutes showed that the number of inmates at the start of the year was 177 compared to 163 for the same time the previous year. Considering the large number of weak-minded patients the fact that no restraint or punishment had been necessary was deemed highly satisfactory by the Board.

The inmates were entertained in April 1921 to a concert given the Huddersfield Tramwayman’s Concert Party. The reported wrote that due to the length of the programme the encores were limited.

Several months later in  August  , members of the two House committees of the Huddersfield Board of Guardians ( Crosland Moor and Deanhouse ) played bowls on the tennis court at Deanhouse for the Silver Rose Bowl trophy which had been offered by Miss Siddon several years before. Deanhouse had won the trophy for the last three years but this time Crosland were the victors by 373 points to 363.  The following month 92 members of the Institution plus 10 officials and 6 members of the Board had an enjoyable outing. They were conveyed in 5 motor coaches to Marsden and went to the Liberal Club for tea after which they were entertained by local artistes. In October it was found that the disease of smallpox was prevalent in the  Workhouse and this had caused a great deal of alarm. The Institution was chiefly used for the very aged, the imbeciles and the hospital patients with a total in residence of 180 people and staff and, after the presence of the disease was discovered, an investigation showed that 8 inmates, 7 men and 1 woman, were affected.  As soon as the disease was found all visiting was stopped and extensive vaccination and re-vaccination was carried out. Because of the number of people who had been in contact with the Institution,  they were all advised to be vaccinated immediately. No obvious cause for the outbreak was ever found.

In January 1922 the Board of Guardians Deanhouse Committee agreed to open the Institution for visitors subject to the approval of the medical officer. Later in the year in August, thanks to the kindness of Miss Seddon, 130 patients, staff and Guardians had an enjoyable day out. A total of 7 charabancs took them to Fryston Hall at Pontefract. They had a substantial meal on arrival and were given tobacco, cigarettes and pipes for the smokers and sweets for the women and non- smokers. At 4.30 they were fed again and sat down to an excellent tea. The patients who couldn’t make the trip due to sickness or infirmity were not forgotten and were supplied with chicken, beef, tongue and jelly and custard.The Deanhouse Committee met in September and agreed that payments for work involved in the extermination of rats in the Institution be left with the Master to agree with the man concerned. They met again in December to discuss the quality of the accomodation for the nurses. Some of the nurses were sleeping 6 to a room and many of those rooms were like prisons which was why, all over the country, Deanhouse was being boycotted by nurses. It was agreed that the question of accomodation would be considered further. Near the end of the month a meeting of the full Board of Guardians discussed the future of the Institute. Among the items was the movement of the whole management structure to Crosland and another idea was to build an extension such as a new wing. A special sub- committee would be formed.

To finish off the year they had a great Christmas party with lots of food and music. Mr.J.Lodge, who was chairman of the Deanhouse Committee, presided and Tom Bamforth, one of the inmates, moved a vote of thanks which was seconded by John Morley, another inmate. Mr.E.A.Beavis was the Master.

1923 started off with 2 concerts in February, the first was by the Holmfirth ” Merry Makers ” followed a few weeks later by the Crosland Moor United Hand Bell Ringers. There was a great feeling of loss when the Board of Guardians reported in June the death of Miss Siddon who had been a member of the Board for 41 years with specific responsibilty for Deanhouse and had been chairman for a long time.

The Hospital Day was celebrated on Saturday, August 18, 1923 with a Procession and a Fancy Dress Parade plus a Public Tea and  Grand Gala. The attractions included an Aunt Sally,Kicking Dolly, hoopla, coconut shies, pony rides and top of the bill was Prof.T.McMenemy a ventriloquist. It was a great day and a profit of £30 was made.

In October of the same year, Mr.& Mrs. Beavis, who had been Master and Matron since March 1919, left to take up a similar appointment at Crosland Moor Institute

 After many discussions the Board of Guardians gave formal approval for the enlargement of the present building occupied by the nurses but it wasn’t until July 17th. 1924 that the work was finally completed. On that date in the presence of members and officials of the Board of Guardians, the nurses’ home, which had been added to the Institution, was officially opened by Mr.J.Lodge, chairman of the Deanhouse Committee. The scheme had been carried out from plans prepared by J.Ainley, architect, and provision had been made for accomodation for 23 nurses. On the ground floor there was a large dining room and sitting room. It had been furnished throughout by Shaw’s of Holmfirth and other work was carried out by :  Mallinson & Son of Lockwood – mason’s work; carpentry and joinery by Batley & Sons, Netherthong ; plumbing, glazing and electrics by E. Rayner of Milnsbridge ; plastering by Oldfield Bros. Honley and the painting was done by W. Holroyd, Huddersfield. J.Dyson of Holmfirth was the concreter, T.Allison of Milnsbridge were the slaters and, last but not least, the heating engineers were H.Rayner & Sons. of Huddersfield.  Not suprisingly there were lots of speeches and Mr.Ainley, on behalf of the contractors and himself, presented Mr.Lodge with a gold key to open the door of the nurses home. The key was inscribed ” Presented to James Lodge Esq. on the opening of the Nurses ‘ Home, Deanhouse Institution on July 17th, 1924. After the ceremonial opening all the assembled company sat down for tea.

In December 1923, the Board of Guardians discussed the efficiency of having a single master for Crosland and Deanhouse and it was agreed to try the idea for a probationary period. Deanhouse would be treated as a secondary part of Crosland Moor.

A social evening in May 1924 was enjoyed by officials and staff when they were entertained to supper by the newly appointed Master and Matron, Mr.& Mrs. H.Johnson. After supper they had musical items, recitations and dancing.

The Christmas Day celebrations in 1924 maintained the high standards and Mr.& Mrs. H. Johnson, the Master & Matron, presided over the festivities with 240 patients in residence.

At the end of January 1925 a fire broke out at the Institution. At about 1.30a.m. an inmate discovered that a building used as a store room adjoining the main block was on fire. The Institute buzzer was sounded and the Huddersfield Corporation Fire Brigade was summoned. The staff set to work using fire-extinguishers and when the Fire Engine ” Wilfred Dawson ” reached the scene about 15 minutes later, it was found that a quantity of hay in the loft was burning.The Holmfirth Fire Brigade also attended and in a short time the fire was extinguished and the damage which was confined to the roof of the building was estimated at £100 but covered by insurance. The fire was discussed at the Holmfirth District Council meeting regarding  the response time of the Holmfirth Brigade and the capability of its engine.

At the Board of Guardians meeting in March, Mr.Wraith, the district auditor appointed by the Ministry of Health, attended to hear the views of members on his decision to charge individual members of the Board in respect of Christmas dinners eaten by them at Poor Law Institutions on Christmas Day 1923. He objected to an item of £1 7s 11d in respect to Deanhouse which provoked a great deal of discussion, with the auditor adamant that it was illegal expenditure , that he had no discretion and that he must disallow what could not be supported in law.The matter rumbled on and was discussed again at the Board’s meeting in September. The question of ” free food “for the Guardians who had helped at the Christmas festivities and which the District Auditor had taken exception to, had been referred to the Ministry to approve payment.  They said that on this occasion they would approve the amount of £5 12s 5d made by the Board in respect of meals provided to members who visited Institutions at Crosland Moor and Deanhouse on Christmas 1924. The sanction was given on the understanding that no further charges of a similar kind would appear on the accounts.

 A youth, who was employed at Deanhouse Poor Law Institution, was charged with stealing a silver watch and gold chain, valued at £5, the property of a man who had been an inmate. When the man had been admitted he was in possession of the items but when he was discharged he no longer had them and his relatives reported the loss to the Guardians and the police. The youth was seen and at first denied knowledge of the stolen property but later admitted he had stolen them. At Holmfirth Police Court he pleaded guilty and elected to be dealt with summarily. The Guardians asked that the Court to exercise clemency and put him on probation and as a result he was discharged on the undertaking that he would be on good behaviour for 12 months.

Mr. Armstrong and a party from Meltham visited the Institution in October and gave a concert of quartets, duets and solos. Also in October, T.Dyson gave one of his lantern slide lectures on the subject of Hardcastle Crags.

The Christmas festivities at the end of 1925 were to the usual high standard with 120lb. of pork, 120lb. of beef, 12 chickens and 140 plum puddings being consumed under the watchful eye of the Master and Matron, Mr. and Mrs. Johnson. Music was by the Holme Silver Band.

In their first meeting of 1926, the Board of Guardians agreed to the installation of a wireless system at a cost of £92 17s.

The inmates were entertained twice in December. The first was a lantern lecture given by T.Dyson on the Yorkshire Moors and Dales using 100 lantern views lent by the L.N.E. Railway Company.  The second followed on a week later and was a musical entertainment by members and friends of Netherthong Parish Church Mothers’ Union.

The Christmas treat maintained its high standards with the Institution beautifully decorated and masses of food. The Mayor and Mayoress of Huddersfield paid a visit.

A motion at the January 1927 meeting of the Board of Guardians stated ; ”  That his Board  appoint a committee to consider a report on the advisability of disposing of the Deanhouse Institution to one or other of the Mental Hospital Boards or other similar authority as a mental hospital and thus enable the Board to concentrate the administration at Crosland Moor. ” It was discussed and approved.

The Huddersfield & District Band of Hope Union gave a lantern display and concert in March to the inmates. It was directed by J.Pitchforth with views of London plus humorous slides. Recitations and dances were given by  Miss Hilda Hawkyard and Lily May with Miss Hilda Townsend on piano. The latter part of the programme was sustained by a party of girls from Deighton United Methodist Church who were known as The Merry Coasters. A vote of thanks was proposed by one of the inmates and seconded by the master, Mr.Johnson.

At the Board of Guardians meeting in September a letter was read out informing the committee that the late Mrs. Amelia Benderlow of Dalton had given the Guardians a sum of £100 to be used for the supply of comforts for the inmates of Deanhouse Institution.

Mr.T.Dyson and party paid one of his regular visits in October and gave a lantern slide lecture entitled ” The message of the flowers ” and the show finished with a large selection of Hymns.

Lindley Liberal Club visited the Institution in December and gave a pleasing programme to the inmates. A carol party from the WMC got the Christmas celebrations off to a good start and after the breakfast, super dinner and distibution of gifts, the Merrymakers rounded off the day with a rousing concert.

Mr.Dyson and friends visited in February 1928 and gave an entertaining lantern slide show to the residents.

At the February meeting in 1928 of the Board of Guardians, the Deanhouse Committee recommended that a 1st. class man be appointed as charge- house attendant. He should hold the medico- psychological certificate, have musical ability and be able to play the piano. The motion was approved. The committee had received a report by the Medical Officer, Dr. Smailes, and the Master, Mr.F.Johnson, on the accomodation of the Institution, the nursing and accomodation of male patients in the hospital and the employment, recreation and staffing of male patients. The report stated there were 269 beds in the Institution and there was sufficient room for 231. It was now 2.5 years since the experiment of nursing male patients by male staff had been put into operation and it had proved satisfactory in spite of inexperienced attendants being appointed. The employment scheme had proved beneficial to the inmates and to the Institution. The garden, poultry, roads and paths, firewood, painting and general cleaning of the Institution kept the whole of the more-or-less able men fully employed. Cricket, football and walks provided adequate out-door recreation and concerts were a welcome diversion.  Of the nine male attendants at present employed, seven were temporary and these  latter were taken on from unemployed men who were working on the land here or from Labour Exchanges. None of them had any previous experience and this fact emphasised the need for a charge house attendant.

Cricket was on the menu again in July 1928 when the Holmfirth Group of Toc H paid a visit to the Institution to fulfill a cricket engagement against  a team selected from the inmates.The visitors batted first and scored 96. Jones and Webster opened the innings for the Institution but Jones was run out having only scored one run. Webster did much better reaching 19 but the innings closed at 71.

They had another match later in the month against a team representing the 1510 Coronation Lodge R.A.O.B. Honley. The Institute batted first and in spite of Epton top scoring with 39 could only avhieve 63. The visitors scored 77 with Richardson taking 6 wickets. Later in the year in October the same group showed their versatility by giving a well received concert.

Mr.& Mrs. Johnson, the Master and Matron, were appointed in September to the Harton Poor Law Institution under the South Shields Union.

On Christmas morning  two parties of carol singers traversed the Netherthong district. The WMC, conducted by H.Preston, stopped and sang on 29 occasions. The other group was the Male Voice Choir who had a great time and raised funds for their choir. The Holme and Hinchliffe bands also visited the area and every group paid a visit to the Institution.

1929.  In 1925 it appeared that the question of Board members having “free meals ” when helping at the Institutions had been resolved but it raised its head again four years later. At their meeting in March the Huddersfield Board of Guardians were flustered when the District Auditor asked why the Guardians had shared the Christmas festivities of the Deanhouse inmates and why they should not be surcharged for the cost of their entertainment. The Guardians are not allowed to feed at the ratepayers expense. 41 Guardians had visited Crosland Moor and others had visited Deanhouse and all had had dinner and tea. It had got rather confusing and bitter as some of the Guardians who didn’t have dinner,  had received notices of surcharge and a few who “ went the whole hog “ got no notice at all. The sums involved amounted to £6 11s. 8d. and £1 7s. 11d. The outcome was never reported !

The Board of Guardians announced in February 1929 that Mr. &.Mrs. F.Lewis, the Master and Matron at Berkhampstead Institution had been  appointed to the same roles at Deanhouse. They replaced Mr.& Mrs. Steadman who had moved to Crosland Moor. Mr.J.Settle of Miry Green who had been employed at the Institute as an engineer died the following month. He had had a honorary connection with the Sons of Temperance, was one of the trustees of the Wesleyan Chapel and had been caretaker for a period. In July members of the Honley Group of Toc H visited and played a game of cricket against a team composed of attendants and inmates.The Institute batted first and scored 92 runs but Toc H passed this total for the loss of only two wickets.

The Christmas day celebrations  involved  a visit by the Mayor & Mayoress of Huddersfield, Alderman & Mrs. Priest. They were welcomed by the Master and Matron, Mr.& Mrs. Lewis. The superb dinner was followed by lots of speeches and thanks and the evening’s entertainment was provided by the Merrymakers.

The first entertainment for the inmates in 1930 was in February when the Netherthong Operatic Society visited and gave several selections to an appreciative audience.

April 1930 was a a very important date when the Board of Guardians, which had been formed in 1834 and had always been unpopular performing a very difficult duty, ceased to exist as a local public body. A special valedictory dinner was held for its members. It was replaced by the new Public Assistance Committee.

June saw the return of cricket when a team from the R.A.O.B. Coronation Lodge Honley narrowly beat the Institution by 93 runs to 82.

The able-bodied inmates at the Institution had a very enjoyable outing in July visiting Southport accompanied by Mr. W. Stephenson, the vice-chairman of the Institute committee and the Master & Matron. The party travelled in 6 motor vehicles, 3 for the men and 3 for the women. Several months later Mr.Dyson gave a lantern slide lecture of a trip to Southport with illustrated slides which were  of particular interest as the inmates had visited many of the places shown  during their earlier outing.

The Patients Sports Day was held in August with a full programme including flat races, potato sack races, egg and spoon, tug-of-war and throwing the cricket ball . The tug-of-war was most popular with 15 nurses and female officers competing against 11 male officers which was finally won by the men. The proceedings were organised by the Master & Matron, Mr.& Mrs. C.Billington and tea was served on the sports ground. Later in the year, Mr.T.Dyson gave a lantern show titled – Views of North Wales. The patients were entertained in October with a concert by Mr.A.Taylor’s Concert Party from Meltham consisting of vocal and instrumental items. The next month St.Georges ( Brockholes ) children’s concert party  visited on Guy Fawkes Day and presented a play ” The Enchanted Forest “. There was even more entertainment during that month when the Male Voice Choir visited and, during the interval, went round the infirmary wards and sang for the bed-ridden patients who had not been able to attend the concert. At the end of the month there was a concert presented by Moldgreen Congregational Church Married Ladies Party organised by Mrs. George Brown. The show was a great success and patients were amused by the Party of Midgets and the Yorkshire dialect was very much in evidence.

The first entertainment for the inmates in December was a concert organised by the Meltham “Lyric ” Male Voice Quartette accompanied by Mr.Herbert Downes. The humorous element was provided by John Drake, the once-champion Yorkshire humorist from Meltham. The penultimate treat of the year was for the deaf, dumb and blind patients who were entertained to a tea arranged by Mr.& Mrs.Batley, through the generosity of anonymous friends. The tea was partaken in a comfortable room provided by the Master & Matron and was followed by an excellent concert for all the patients presented by the Speedsters Concert Party.

The hospital was beautifully decorated with holly and bunting on Christmas Day and  the Mayor of Huddersfield, Alderman T. Shires paid a visit. After a superb dinner, the patients received presents from the tree that had been donated by Mrs.Law Taylor. To round the year off, the entertainment on New Years Eve was provided by the Woodroyd Handbell Ringers.

The first entertainment in 1932 was a concert presented by the Thongs Bridge Church Married Ladies and during the interval, sweets, tobacco and cigarettes were distributed among the patients. A very successful Whist Drive and dance was held at the Hopital in February in aid of the Local Government Officers Benevolent and Orphans Fund. Over 130 people attended and music was provided by Monreve Dance Band. Mrs. C. Billington (Matron) and her staff served the refreshments and the Master was in charge of the dancing with the assistant manager running the Whist drive. Under the auspices of the Colne Valley Divisional Labour Party, a large group visited the Hospital. They were shown round everywhere and then walked to Holmfirth for tea at the Co-operative cafe.

The Hospital Sports Day for 1932 was arranged by the Master and Matron and they organised 21 events which included flat racing, egg and spoon, team races, potato races and tug-of-war. Upwards of 200 patients were entertained. The Holme Silver Prize Band played music during the day and also for dancing in the evening. Mrs.Law Taylor presented the prizes.

Several friends, resident in the Hospital, arranged an outdoor concert one afternoon in September. Music was by the Marsden Senior School Brass Band . After an interval for tea at the Wesleyan School, the inmates returned to the field for dancing. T.Dyson visited in October and gave his lantern entertainment with slides of a miscellaneous nature. Harold Atkinson of New Mill also entertained with stories and songs.

The deaf, dumb and blind patients were given an enjoyable and appetising tea in November  by Lt. Col. Sir Emmanuel Hoyle and Lady Hoyle. All the patients were presented with buns, sweets and fruits and the males received cigarettes. T.Dyson gave another of his lantern lectures in December on Christmas Hymns and their writers. He was assisted by C.Bray and T.Dufton.

Two of the early entertainments in 1933 were a concert party in February organised by Mr. F. Merritt followed in March by a T.Dyson lantern lecture on ‘Messages of Flowers’. A most unusual item was headlined ” Killing the Pigs ” by the Express.  The Huddersfield Town Council had commented at one of their meetings on the fact that pigs were being killed by the old-fashioned method at St. Mary’s Hospital. Councillor W.Scott pointed out that the Corporation abattoir at Great Northern St. was equipped with modern electrical killing instruments and he suggested that the pigs should be sent from Deanhouse to be slaughtered there. Mr.J.Barlour pointed out that the killing of pigs was not governed by the regulations of the Huddersfield area and that no action should be taken.

The Annual Sports and Field day for the patients at St.Mary’s was held in August 1933 in ideal weather and 150 patients took part. There was a full programme of 18 events and the proceedings were enhanced by the Holme Silver prize band. The outstanding events were the tug-of-war contests and the potato race. Cllr. Barlow made some pleasant remarks and his wife presented the prizes.

In October Mr.T Dyson presented one of his lantern slide shows of holiday pictures and local beauty spots.

At the end of the month the Express printed a very interesting letter .  It was entitled ” Jolly Times at St.Mary’s ” and was a message from Deanhouse Institution by someone who signed themselves C.G.

Some of my friends who possess considerable knowledge of this delightful valley of ours have not the slightest idea of where St. Mary’s really is. Now if you come up to Netherthong you cannot miss it.  It is a most lovely spot in summer or winter. One lady said she thought she might have mistaken her way and must be in Cawthorne and St.Mary’s was Cannon Hall but she had seen no swans and thus could not make out where it was. However we were able to guide her and put her right for that ancient little village of Holmfirth. There is not much chance of getting lost and you are in one of the beauty spots of the North of England. The object of these famous places is to have a home for every poor cripple, persons who have lost their sight or who have lost control over their mental powers or the use of every organ of their bodies.

St.Mary’s is governed on Communistic lines. Do not let anyone be frightened. We are much in advance of the “Red Flag “of 20 years ago. It is more like a New Haven with gardens, poultry farms, piggeries,heating appliances, cookeries and electrical machinery.All work under the principle of every man and everything working for others as well as for themselves. Also everty trade and profession are represented here at some time or another, We have tinkers, tailors and skilled gardeners. In our gardens besides the ordinary things of life such as potatoes, onions, cabbages, turnips etc we go in for salads of all kinds, herbs, tomato culture and flowering plants. We have a little mission church or chapel in which some of the ablest preachers in the district visit. We have some delightful times in the wireless and occasionally friends from Deanhouse and other parts of the district will come to entertain us.”

In November the inmates were treated to a Firework Display  on the Saturday and on the following Monday received a visit from the Berry Brow Wesleyan Choir. The final entertainment of the month was a lantern slide show by T.Dyson entitled Christmas hymns. The Christmas festivities were up to their normal high standard and the Mayor and Mayoress of Huddersfield, Alderman and Mrs. A. Hirst, paid a visit.

The first show of 1934 was in February  by F.L.Merritt and his concert party who entertained both staff and patients. This was followed in March by a concert by Mr.A.Taylor and party from Meltham. In the same month they were treated to a lantern slide show on Bonnie Scotland but not this time by T.Dyson. Miss Jessop was the lecturer and her address was interspersed by songs by G.Earnshaw accompanied by Miss R. Dufton on pianoforte.

August saw the Annual St. Mary’s Field Day with flat races, egg and spoon races and the ever popular tug of war. The Master and Matron, Mr. & Mrs. C. Billington presided over the events.

T.Dyson made a welcome return to St. Mary’s in October to give a lanter slide lecture titled ” A tour of Ireland “. They were entertained in November  by the Gay Girls Concert Party of Heckmonwike. The firework display had to be held on November 6 due to the very bad weather the previous day and Mr. Edwin Greenhalgh sent them a parcel of fireworks.

 

The Master, matron and a guard at St.Mary’s Hospital. Date ??

The first entertainment in 1936 was in March when Mr.Dyson gave a varied lantern slide show  on Yorkshire scenery, Blackpool in Winter, the Netherthong Jubilee and the School’s festival. Later the same month Mr. Nelson of Huddersfield gave a concert that was very well received. Nothing else was reported for the year but at Christmas all the patients were treated to the normal special festival feast.

A letter from Ivy Guest says that in 1937 her parents were the Master and Matron. Her father, Stanley, ran 3 local hospitals and left Deanhouse in the 1950s. He had a Jaguar car and also liked a pint so he would drive his car to the Cricketer’s Inn.

The only recorded entertainment that year was a concert by the Zion Methodist Sunday School in March.

The Christmas festivities were up to their normal standard and 226 inmates were entertained by the Male Voice Choir.

Numerous rumours in October 1938 caused a great deal of concern among the 200 inmates and their relatives because the West Riding County Council were proposing to transfer all the inmates to other Institutions. Many were going to be sent to Pontefract, Penistone, Todmorden, Clayton and others. Huddersfield Corporation owned Deanhouse Institution and for the last three years had leased it to the West Riding County Council. When the lease expired there was a dispute between the Corporation and the County Council as to the terms under which the County Council should continue to occupy the buildings ending in the County Council’s decision to evacuate the Institute. There were no further reports until December when the Holmfirth UDC reported that the patients were likely to go back to Deanhouse as negotiations between West Riding Public Assistance Committees and Huddersfield Corporation on the future of the Institution had  reached a successful conclusion.  The Institution would be repaired and when completed the patients would be taken back. It would then become a County Institution.

 The repairs must have been completely very quickly as all the residents enjoyed their normal Christmas treats.

1939. In January the West Riding County Council approved a proposal by the West Riding Assistance Committee that Deanhouse Institution should be purchased from the Huddersfield Corporation for £15,000. There had been a public outcry in 1938 because the majority of patients from Deanhouse were transferred to other institutions in different parts of the West Riding, miles away from their relatives. Previously the County Council had rented the Institution from the Corporation at a rent of £848. The Public Assistance Committee in their report said the institution was an old one, structurally in good repair but about £5,000 was needed to provide adequate heating arrangements. They were satisfied that an Institution in that part of the County was essential and recommended the purchase of the building and land at the price named.

 In September a member of the Board of Guardians stated “ It would appear that the inmates were evacuated from Deanhouse sometime in August due to a Home Office order. Friends and relatives had experienced hardship, inconvenience and expense to visit the patients at various other institutions throughout the area “ – his report concluded “ it will be the Committee’s earnest endeavour to have all the patients returned to Deanhouse as soon as the present crisis has been brought to a definite and victorious conclusion.” The above reports were taken from the Holmfirth Express but there does appear to be some confusion between the events in 1938 and 1939.

The situation must have been resolved because in November Thomas Dyson gave one of his lantern slide shows titled Shakespeare’s County – Warwick to the patients. Mr.C.Bray was the lanternist and many songs were sung including Holmfirth’s anthem. 

In December 1939 the patients of St.Mary’s Hospital spent a most enjoyable Christmas. Members of the Netherthong Male Voice Choir visited and sang carols and hymns. As usual there was a special dinner with gifts and in the evening there was a concert. On Boxing Day, the staff held their own celebrations and enjoyed various presents sent by local firms and individuals.

 

Male patients at a Netherthong field day 1940

 

The same picture as the one above but this time 8 nurses have miraculously appeared.

In October 1940 the patients at the hospital were treated to a meat tea, supper and a concert. The artistes were Mrs. J.Dixon ( soprano ), Mrs. Merritt ( elocutionist ), F.Dickinson ( bass ), E.Mortimer ( baritone ), A. Sanderson ( tenor ) and the Male Voice Quartette. Tobacco, cigarettes and sweets were handed round to about 60 guests.

In spite of the restrictions  due to the war the patients at the hospital enjoyed the Christmas festivities. There was no pork or poultry available but they still had a good meal. In place of a concert they were entertained by gramophone records and the wireless. The nurses had their dinner on Boxing Day.

The following photograph  shows many of the nurses at the hospital – it is undated but I suspect it must be circa 1940s.

Nursing staff - date unknown
Nursing staff – date unknown

In July 1941, 60 old women from a bombed-out convalescent home on the coast were sent to the Institution. Among them was 97 years old Mrs.Mary Giese with curly white hair, rosy cheeks, twinkling eyes and a keen sense of humour. She had been bombed-out twice but very quickly won the hearts of everyone at Deanhouse.

The old folk at the Hospital were treated in June 1942 to a concert by the  “ Oh Kay Gang “. The audience thoroughly enjoyed the show and among those present were Mr. and Mrs. S.Pugh , the Master and Matron.

 In the same month Mary Wimpenny aged 82 years passed away peacefully at the hospital.

In February the patients were entertained by the Four H’s Trombone Quartet directed by Mr.W.Kay.

The “Balt Cygnet ” Scheme was the first labour scheme which marked the influx of DPs ( displaced persons ) into Britain, mainly from various eastern European countries.The main purpose of this plan was to relieve the acute shortage of nursing and domestic staff in hospitals and sanitoria. Initially recruitment was limited to single women , between 20-40 years old, coming from the Baltic States  under the condition that they could not change employment without the permission of the Ministry of Labour. The first recruits arrived in mid- October and Huddersfield was among the first places to receive its share. In 1947 many more came to the area and 15 went to St.Mary’s Hospital and the Holme Valley Hospital.  The term “Cygnet ” symbolised ” a spotless white femininity ” and to ensure good assimilation and acceptance, a desirable and social background were key factors. They used every opportunity to present themselves well and six Estonian war orderlies were involved in a staff pantomime called ” Babes in the Wood ” which was presented to the immobile elderly patients at St. Mary’s at Christmas 1947. A special feature was the dancing of the Estonian workers who appeared in their national costume. An excerpt from the St.Mary’s Hospital staff records shows the names of the Estonian persons and the dates they started and left their jobs. e.g. Lia Astrid Sormus started in 5/2/47 and left in 8/4/49. The 1948 Christmas festivities followed the normal pattern with plenty of meat, plum pudding , cake and mince pies. On the  Wednesday prior to Christmas the choirs of the Meltham Nonconformist Churches visited and sang carols to the patients. In the new year the staff held their annual dance.

An ” Estonian ” wedding was held in the village in March 1949. It was attended by 30 Estonian guests some of whom were colleagues from St.Mary’s and Holme Valley hospitals plus workers from Washpit Mills with  the reception being  held in its canteen.

This information is taken from a superb document written by Frank Grombar titled ” Brief Encounters : Baltic Hospital Workers in and around Huddersfield 1946-1951″. It can be found on the net.

May 1949 was a very special occasion for Mr.C.Hobson, a patient in No.8 Ward, as it was the first time in two years that he had been out into the open air. He and five other patients were taken by taxi on a half-day trip round New Mill, Penistone and Hade Edge. All the six patients were able to afford the 10/- which was the cost of the trip and thought it was money well spent after such a long time in the hospital. Most of the other patients did not have enough money to afford such trips. Mr.J. Whittaker, the male nurse in charge of Wards 8 & 9, was trying to get help from some philanthropic organisation. Holmfirth British Legion offered to meet the expenses of ex-Servicemen.

In September  the Hospital Clerk , Mrs.Robertson, was fined by Holmfirth Magistrate’s  Court for fraudulent conversion. Old Age Pensions money had not been paid over to bed-ridden patients. There were 6 summonses totalling £12 5s and after the Chairman ( Major Brian Tinker ) had announced that the Magistrates had found the case proved, Mrs.Roberstson asked for a further 8 cases totalling £9 10s to be taken into consideration. A fine of £5 was imposed on each of the six cases with witness costs of £1 1s 2d and she was also ordered to make restitution of the amount of £12 5s. The Express devoted 3 columns with a detailed report of the case. In May 1950, members of the Holmfirth Inner Wheel Club entertained 19 patients to a bus outing to Wharfedale and also thanked the two nurses who accompanied them.

 In 1951 the death occurred at the  Hospital of Miss Mary Mallinson, daughter of the late Mr. & Mrs. John Mallinson. She was 90 years old and the oldest lady in the village and had been closely connected with the Parish Church. Because of the prevalence of influenza among the staff in February, a ban was imposed on visitors for three days. At that time the number of staff suffering had risen from15 % to 20%. It was also discovered that there were six fresh cases in one of the wards. In January of that year , following on from complaints made by visitors  regarding the difficulties of obtaining transport to the hospital, the Huddersfield & District Hospital Management Committee discussed the matter. They decided to support an application to the Traffic Commissioners for the institution of an additional bus service.

In December 1953 the patients were entertained over Christmas by several local choirs. The Moorland Singers turned up on Christmas Day and sang carols as dinner was served by members of the house committee. In the evening there was a film show of the Coronation and the Queen’s visit to Edinburgh.

The festivities for the patients of the hospital in December 1955 were spread over a long period . They were entertained by the Huddersfield Co-op choir, Holme Silver band, Meltham Baptist Choir, Netherthong Church Choir, Linthwaite Church Choir and Slaithwaite Church Choir. On Christmas morning they were visited by Father Xmas and entertained by the Moorland Singers. Relatives and visitors were welcomed by Miss Smith, Matron, and Mr.A.Stangroom, secretary.

The Chairmen of Holmfirth, Meltham and Colne Valley District Councils paid a visit to the hospital on Christmas Day 1966. They were received by the Matron, Miss M.A.Smith and the Assistant Matron, Miss E.Nesbitt. Turkeys on each of the wards were carved by the visitors and all the patients received a gift. The entertainment was by the Moorland Singers. 

A report in the new look Holmfirth Express stated that, on Tuesday 16th. 1968 ,  Deanhouse Hospital, St. Marys, would close and the 53 patients  transferred to other hospitals in the surrounding areas. It added that the future of the premises would be decided by the Regional Hospital Board. Alfred Stangroom, who lived in the Lodge at the hospital and had been the hospital secretary for 16 years, died aged 55. He had also been the treasurer of the Parish Church and one time chairman of the Holme Valley Scouts.

In March 11 members of the staff of the now closed hospital received awards for long service as hospital employees. All had completed 25 years service of which a minimum of 10 years had been worked in the Huddersfield Group of Hospitals. The awardees were Miss M.A.Smith ( Matron ), Misses N.Smith, C.Bray and E.Beever ( State Enrolled Nurses ), Miss A.Winter( Enrolled Nurse ), Mrs.M.Leach ( dressmaker ), Mrs.A.Brooke ( housemaid ), the late Mr.A.Stangroom ( Hospital Secretary ), Mr.W.Rhodes ( deputy Hospital Secretary ), Mr.D.North ( barber ) and Mr.H.Taylor ( porter).T he Express reported in August – ‘ the former patients of the late Dr. Brian de la Harpe Meyer will be pleased to know that the teal seat which was presented to the hospital in his memory has now been handed over to the Holmfirth UDC and placed in a new position at the junction of Victoria Street and Huddersfield Road in Holmfirth.’

On November 1st. 1968, the Secretary of State for Social Services sold the buildings and the land to B.Dunford of Flockton  for £8500. He started work straightaway  demolishing all the buildings except for the Lodge and the first people to move in said that by 1970, 2 new houses had been built and all the  demolishment was  completed the same year with  the estate finished by  1974. The Lodge, which had been  semi-detached with one half the accomodation for the Master and Matron and the other half for the Engineer, was converted into one residence and remains so to this day.

  This brought to an end over 100 years of an Institution that had been a key factor in the life and times of Deanhouse and Netherthong residents.

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