Roecliffe Manor - a Memory of Woodhouse Eaves.

I was an 'inmate' of Roecliffe Manor Convalescent Home around 1958/9. I had an operation on my tonsils and went to Roecliffe to recuperate. I think I was supposed to spend about two weeks there but I lasted around five days! I hated the place. You were not allowed your own clothes, you had to wear uniform which for the girls was a bright green long-sleeved woollen dress (very scratchy) with some sort of pinafore over the top. The dormitory windows had bars and the dormitory doors were locked at night. Visiting by parents was on Sunday afternoons only. Letters could be sent home to your parents but the staff would have to read them first and if not approved, they would not be posted. They refused to post mine! Having never been away from my family before, I found the place positively Dickensian and spent most of my time there weeping. This of course was not very good for my newly operated-on tonsils which kept bleeding, and in the end the doctor who came to visit us there decided (much to the fury of the Matron) that I should be sent home. I think I arrived there on Monday and was dispatched home by ambulance the following Friday - what a relief! I was subsequently told by my mother that she had telephoned the home regularly and spoke to the Matron who had assured her that I was doing fine and was perfectly okay. My mother was horrified to learn that I had been so unhappy!

A memory shared by Janet Mills on Apr 12th, 2013. Send Janet Mills a message

 Comments & Feedback

Fri Jul 9th 2021, at 11:43 am
Jim James commented:
Like lots of others I have vivid memories of horrible Roecliffe Manor.
I was sent there when I was 3 after a tonsilectomy I suppose because my family were poor and both parents had to work, it was winter and I remember the sound of the crows in the bare trees and never being allowed out on the play equipment because it was "too wet".I was made to sleep in a cot which I hated-I wasn't a baby!
Sunday visits meant hugs and sweets but only after an equal distribution among the other inmates, the confectionery was put into glass jars on a high shelf in a small locked room to be shared out later.i too remember the barred windows and the nit comb, crying every night for my mam, and being woken every night when someone wee'd the bed or was sick.
I remember being tossed in a blanket by the older children and being terrified.
(later in life I did and still do high risk sports)
I hated every second of my stay here albeit only for a fortnight or so.
On my joyous return home I was treated to ice cream and presents one of which was a mechanical walking bulldog with Jaws which opened and snapped shut, my mam said I backed up flat against the wall then ran at the brute and booted it up to the ceiling victorious as it exploded into component springs, cogs and scary teeth.
Still this was heaven after awful Roecliffe.
Sun Nov 18th 2018, at 4:44 pm
jph-rbh commented:
I’m getting old and I got my dates wrong. Must’ve been the late50’s I was there and, again, I’m sorry your memories are so sad.
Wed Jul 18th 2018, at 2:36 am
jph-rbh commented:
I was a student nurse at Roecliffe in the 1960’s and I’m sorry you all had such a bad stAy with us. My favourite time was playtime out doors with the children.
I agree the food was certainly not nutritious or tempting for children with sore throats. Hope you are all well now.
Thu Jun 9th 2016, at 9:02 am
yorkshirenan commented:
I was sent to Roecliffe Manor for six weeks following removal of my tonsils. I was 5 or 6 at the time in 1957/8. It was probably the worst time in my life. The memories of being in that scary place will stay with me forever, the clothes that were shared with everyone else, the large room filled with cots and beds and bars at the windows. The dining room was filled with long tables and benches which we all sat at and waited for the kitchen staff to come round with huge containers of food and dump some of it on your plate. Then you were expected to eat it all, even though you've just had your tonsils out, with a sore throat and feeling homesick too. I remember being checked on a regular basis for nits in my hair, which was long at the time and it being combed with what smelt like Dettol disinfectant. I hated it, it hurt lots and I just wanted to go home. Sunday afternoons were visiting times and my parents came and brought me sweets and chocolate which I cannot remember getting any of. My Mum told me later that lots of children didn't get visits or chocolate, so it was all shared out between the children.
My time there was almost sixty years ago and I still think about it with dread. A beautiful place and surroundings but just the experience of being somewhere like that when you are poorly and just want your Mum is not conducive to healing. The staff there were not really what a child needs when they are ill, more likely they were suited to a correction center. I am so glad that the attitude to nursing has changed somewhat over the years.
Tue Mar 15th 2016, at 5:05 pm
janetelliott45 commented:
My sister and I were sent to Roecliffe Manor to convalesce after having our tonsils out and because our Mother was herself in hospital being treated for TB. I think it was around 1950-1952. However within a matter of days my sister was diagnosed with chickenpox at which point (if memory serves me right) all the children were sent home and the convalescent home closed down. Our reprieve was short lived because as soon as my sister was no longer infectious ( I never did get chickenpox) we both returned to convalesce for 6 weeks. I still have some postcards of the homes interior. I don't think either of us were happy to be there but we don't remember being particularly unhappy, perhaps the main issue was that we were separated at bedtime. I have some happy memories of walks to the folly on the hill (think it was known as St John) to this day one of my favourite pastimes is walking! Janet
Tue Mar 15th 2016, at 4:47 pm
janetelliott45 commented:
Wed Feb 25th 2015, at 11:58 am
suzywithers commented:
My brother and I. Were their I February 1960 we went there to converless after having our tonsils out what a horrible place I remember sitting behind comics crying our eyes out the meals were horrible and you couldn't leave the table til you had eaten every thing even the horrible fat of the meat to this day I still don't eat fat I remember bars on the windows and having our sweets take of us and was only allowed one sweet a day we never did see the rest of the stuff our mother sent I have had a look on line and I remember those horrible dark staircase please if there is anybody wanting to meet up and talk about this please e mail me on
Wed Feb 25th 2015, at 11:29 am
suzywithers commented:
Mon Aug 25th 2014, at 8:56 pm
Hi Janet I was there in the 1950s would like you to contact me please.

Best wishes
Norma Thorpe nee Webster

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