Smallpox Hospital

A Memory of Catherine-de-Barnes.

I lived as a child at number 110 henwood lane Catherine de barnes or better known as catney.The house we lived in was the lodge to the hospital. I lived with mother and father,4 sisters and 3 brothers. We spent 3 years there from 1962 1962 I remember my dad and I going into the woods and looking for some where to dig an hole I was only 5 at the time and did not understand what was going on, now I know it was the Cuban missile crisis, and dad thought he was going to have to build some form of shelter. We were apparently as a family, the first people in England to be vaccinated against small pox. during are stay only one patient was admitted. My youngest brother was born in the hospital on boxing day1962.Mum was in hospital all alone ,and one midwife. It was a very isolated place in them days, and in the winter of 63 we were isolated for two weeks as the lane had 6 foot of snow on it ,but we got bye. Very fond memories. Dad said house was haunted by young girl who used to sit on top of stairs, seen her few times he said, after a bit of research, he found out that a girl had in fact died in the house of diphtheria in 1936. Scary stuff. I have since spoke to present occupiers and they tell me when digging in various locations around the outside they have unearthed different toys, one being a plastic helicopter which I remember burying .At the far rear of the hospital there was a large land fill where they would regularly tip rubbish from Solihull, and bordsley green hospitals, now heartlands ,we always rum edged through this stuff lord knows what we played with. Dad threw 1945 Vauxhall car down that hole probably still there. On Sundays dad used to pop into grounds and shoot rabbit or hare that was Sunday lunch, if we were lucky. Mum and all brothers and sisters are still alive, sadly dad passed away in2006 having worked for the health service all his life. please feel free to e mail me at any time regarding this (fond memories)

Added 01 March 2015


Comments & Feedback

Further to my story living at henwood lane I would like to tell you about my school days. along with three sisters and one brother we went to school in the church next to boat inn. There were only about 20 kids in school ,five of them us. The headmasters name was mr dingly, nice chap. The school heating consisted of a coke boiler in the middle of the room, un guarded if you went to near it and burnt yourself,well that was that ,you knew better the next time.Ithink the school was catholic ,on Fridays we were given a round wafer of bread and wine was poured over our fingers?The toilets were out around the back of school one building shared by all. There was a wall which we would stand on and look into pub car park, chat to the customers. The landlord of the pub was named mr Hinckley,his daughter ray came to the school and we became sweethearts.ah.Then one day they left and I was devastated.In 1978 we met by chance at a night club had a good chat, never seen her since .Every Friday before we went home we were told to remember the three Msss MANNERS MAKETH MAN.Loved that school.Oppisite the school there was a garage with two pumps,Mr Bradley owned that ,he had a daughter called rosemary who kept horses in the field next to our house in henwood lane,one was called candy. Next to the garage was the news agents called blackhursts his son Chris came to the school we were best mates, on my birthday his mum and dad took me to see the bachelors live. Next to the shop was a scrap yard, all types of stuff in it, like bits for spit fire aeroplanes.fond memories
I went to Catherine de Barnes school from 1948 until 1954 A few things I would like to mention. The school was a Church of England school. Tom Bradleys daughter is Rosalie. Still around today and looking as elegant as ever. Ros always was a very good looking girl. My mother was an auxiliary midwife at Catherine de Barnes hospital around that time and may well have been on duty at that time or Sister Stella Lewis.
Some of the facts written about Catherine d Barnes in various publications do carry some errors probably due to fading memories or being given incorrect information.
My Family. the Benfields lived in Catney from the mid 1900's My Grandma and Grandad lived in Boat Cottage and both died there. My Uncle Albert and Auntie Molly lived in The Bungalow opposite with my two cousins. His Grandaughter. ( my second cousin) still lives there. My Auntie Ethel lived in Bickenhill Lane, and my Uncle Chig (Charles) and Auntie Amy lived in Lugtrout Lane with three of my cousins. The Bradleys are an old Catney family and I see my old best man regularly. He is now into his 80's We spend hours talking about the old days and of course he can go back further than I can. I dont know all the facts about Catney but I am happy to answer any questions if I can and ask my old friend Keith and his wife if I dont know the answer.

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