Sister Smith

A Memory of Alton

Hi all old inmates of LMTH.

I was in Connaught Ward block 3 (boys), at the tender mercy of Sister Smith, from about end 1951 aged 6 until December 1954. I had neglected TB in the knees and (then unknown) lungs. I remember Wilfred, who carried us about either in that grey wooden handcart or the electric trolley and who made wooden toys for those of us who had little or no visitors at Christmas. Mrs Caravan (I think) was the ward teacher and I remember a poor novice sister getting thrown out for climbing out of a ward window to recover something a boy lost. I also remember Streptomycin and PZA (ugh!) and getting a front tooth broken as they attempted to force me to eat some vile pudding. The cabbage was the worst I've ever heard of, let alone ate! I remember Peter from Compton Abbas and poor Ian, who gave me his Eye-Spy books just before he died (I got accused later of stealing them, how could I have done that when I was tied up in bed, not capable of sitting, let alone walking..?)
Anyone who was there then who can remember the stubbon SOB who threw his cabbage out of the window and on the floor in front of the Matron...that was me!
BTW, I've just seen a film of LMTH from 1945, my blood ran cold.

A memory shared by Robert Court , on Sep 1st, 2013.

Comments & feedback

Sat Feb 7th 2015, at 12:48 pm

steveberwick52 commented:

Hi Robert, I was there a few years after you 1961, Sister Smith was still there and still a complete and total horror who should never have been allowed within 20 feet of a child! If anyone from 61/62 reads this, any idea what happened to the lad next to me, with the wonderful name Tammy Cat. He had some sort of weight arrangement on one leg to make it grow.

Sat Feb 7th 2015, at 10:02 pm

Robert Court commented:

Hi Steve,
Of course I didn't know any Tammy, he was after me, but the weight on a leg.. I remember that. They put too much weight on my left leg, which left it fully 1/2" longer than the other, and so is still today, after over 60 years. Sister Smith was a horror, but she did have guts. In my time it wasn't unusual to find the bed next to you empty in the morning. At 10.00 a.m., we could watch her in her glass-windowed lair, calling the poor family concerned on her phone. Yes, I've seen her cry then too. Talking of that, amazing what a few years brought in medical progress. I was treated for TB (legs/lungs) in 1951, when they started using streptomycin, This stuff may have saved my life, because children died like rabbits from TB as well until about then. LMTH was supposed to be a recovery unit for children and young people.. hah!
There is an internet video of a film about LMTH made in 1945. You can see Wilfred, the porter, a bunch of crabby sisters, some of whom I knew, and that dammed operating theater lamp. When I see that, I still get the shivers. If you like, I'll send you the URL address of it.

Was that cute little railway still going in 61/62? One tank locomotive and two passenger wagons, like Thomas......

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