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Poplars 3

A Memory of Brentwood

I believe I was sent to Brentwood following a stay in Hither Green Fever Hospital with whooping cough. I seem to have been in a ward named Poplars 3. I have two very strong memories of that stay. I was 5 years old. First, I was encased in a 'frame' which was made of metal but thickly padded, the padding encased in thick suede leather. It went around my head at forehead height; a long straight rod went down my back to just below rib height, where the lower part of the frame circled my body just above waist height. It was intended to stop me from turning my head. I have since found out that they suspected I had tubercular glands. The second memory concerns what must have been a visit from some 'big-wig'. A nurse came round with a tray of beatiful satin ribbons of all colours. She handed a ribbon out to every child in the ward until she came to me. She looked at me and said "Oh, you can't have one" and passed on. I have never forgotten that feeling of rejection, although, with hindsight, I suppose there was no point in putting a ribbon on a metal frame! I've often felt a little kindness wouldn't have come amiss though. My dad had taught me to read and write before I went to school. All his life he treasured a letter I had written, headed Poplars 3, and asking for some grapes. He had written across the top: April 1935. I suppose he thought I might not survive. Dear Dad, tomorrow is my 83rd birthday!

A memory shared by Beryl Padgham , on Oct 11th, 2012.

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