Lewes Hospital for Infectious Diseases – The 1910s

Lewes Hospital for Infectious Diseases > The 1910s

Early in 1910 the Town clerk employed Ada Langridge as a nurse at a rate of 10s. a week, being unable to obtain the services of a trained nurse. The local gas company at this time were to lay mains along Neville Road and the clerk also agreed to pay £10 towards its cost. Mr. Langridge, the hospital keeper tendered his resignation in June, owing to his wife being ill, this to take effect from September 29th. Following his resignation, Mr. Francis George Green, Infirmary Attendant at Hellingly Asylum applied for the vacancy with his wife and was asked to attend the next committee meeting on July 21st. They were appointed to the vacancy at this meeting. Early in the New Year they applied for a wage increase, which was agreed to and their wages were increased from 18s. to £1 a week from February 1st. later in the year it was increased again, this time to £1. 6s.

In July 1912 six iron bedsteads were purchased at a cost of £1 7s. 9d. from Browne & Crosskey. During the following summer fever cases were admitted from the Military camp at Houndean, at a cost of £3 3s per week, plus £1 1s. for the use of the ambulance.

A letter was sent to Messrs. Carter & Co complaining of the poor condition of the new floor, which they had laid in the new wards. They subsequently re-made the floor and asked for an allowance to be given to them because of the losses they had sustained. The clerk replied stating they had been put to considerable trouble in the matter and that no allowance would be made. Among the bills paid at this time were:

Beck, H. – bundles of wood £1 18s 6d
Brown & Crosskey – waterproof sheets £0 15s 3d
Chapman & Sons – horse for the ambulance £1 2s 6d
Dusart, F.H. – tumblers and mugs £0 4s 6d
Lewes Nursing Association – services of nurses £61 5s 3d
Parsons Bros. – Sawdust £0 4s 9d

The clerk said that the Town Council had paid £192. 7s. 6d. for the maintenance of seven patients.

Late in 1913 Mrs. Green, the hospital keepers wife sustained an injury preventing her from working. She was given financial assistance under the Workman’s Compensation Act and allowed two months leave of absence if she intended going to a convalescent home. However she never fully recovered from her injury and died on February 6th 1914. The committee expressed their deep gratitude to Mr. Green and his wife for their work and the committee received three months notice from Mr. Green to quit his job. The job was advertised again at the present rates and conditions.

Eight Applications for Vacancy

Eight applications were received for the vacancy and three of these were asked to attend the next meeting. They were Mr. A.V. Goodrum and his wife, Mr. T.H. Rutter and his wife and Mr. C. Funnell and wife. Mr Funnell and wife did not attend the meeting, and Mr Thomas H. Rutter and his wife of the Isolation Hospital at Wednesbury were appointed to the vacancy. They were given permission to employ a ward maid to do the washing when necessary at 10s. 6d. a week with board and lodging. Their apartment at the hospital required to be refurbished by the Corporation and as part of the fixtures Mr. Green’s furniture was to be purchased for £10.

In April 1915 Mr. and Mrs. Rutter applied for an increase in wages but this was refused although they were promised extra allowances so long as they remained at the hospital for a further 12 months. Nothing was agreed in writing by July so they resigned, but after a lengthy discussion with the committee they agreed to the previous suggestion and would stay for at least a further year. However once again they defaulted on the agreement and informed the committee that they had obtained another appointment at Huntingdon and were to take up their new job on September 1st.

Subsequently, further adverts were place in the local newspapers for replacement hospital keepers. At the July meeting the completed works of the kitchen and scullery distempering was mentioned, also the purchase of two mattresses and pillows at a cost of £1. 7s. The local gas company agreed to lay a gas main to the hospital from the main road at a cost of £25 and this was accepted, work to commence as soon as possible. There was only one reply to the advert placed in the Nursing Times, The Local Government Journal and the three local newspapers. The advert contained the following wording:

Borough of Lewes, Hospital for Infectious Diseases

The Town Council requires the services of a man and wife (without family) at the hospital for Infectious Diseases, Neville Road, Lewes.  The man to act as caretaker, the women who must be a trained Nurse and experienced in nursing fever cases, to act as Nurse/Matron. Joint salary £1. 6s. a week, payable monthly, with rations, furnished apartment, fuel and lights free.

Applications in writing, stating ages, past and present occupations, with three testimonials of character, experience and ability, to reach me at the Town Hall by noon Thursday 29th inst.

A statement of duties on application to Town Hall, Lewes. Smallpox cases are not taken at the hospital. Selected candidates will receive a notice to attend. Canvassing of members of the Town Council is not allowed. Third class railway fare will be allowed all candidates.

Signed  Montague S. Blaker, Town Clerk. 16th July 1915.

It was agreed that a telegram be sent to the only applicants, Mr. and Mrs. William Clarity of Leyton, Essex, requesting an interview on July 30th. Following their interview, Mr. William Clarity, 39 and his wife Amelia Thomasine, 36 of Vicarage Road, Leyton, were appointed. Later in the year Mr. E. Wyborn was elected chairman and Mr. Reginald T. Baxter, Town Clerk. The Medical Officer, Surveyor and Inspector of Nuisances were in regular attendance at the committee meetings.

Tradesmen appointed by the committee for the 12 months from June 23rd 1918, were as follows:

Mr. W.W. Ruff Groceries
Mr. G.L. Leaney Milk
Mr. J. Larkin Fish, etc.
Mr. G.W. Moppett Bread and flour

The Town Clerk was requested to apply for exemption from military service for the Hospital Keeper.  He later received a reply granting his request as long as the keeper’s occupation remained the same as at present. Part of his duties included the painting and distempering of parts of the hospital, which cost £40, thus saving the corporation a large sum of money. He was given an honorarium of £4. 4s. for his services, later receiving a further £1. 1s. In April 1917 an application by the Military Representative for withdrawal of Certificate of Conditional Exemption for the Hospital Keeper, was not granted by the local tribunal. The joint wages were increased to £1. 10s. per week and he thanked the committee for the increase and also for his honorarium recently received for his painting.

Nurse Baldwin, a fever patient wrote thanking the committee for the attention received whilst at the hospital. A further application to get the Hospital Keeper to do military service was considered and adjourned for the provision of an efficient replacement. Part of the establishment account for April 1918 contained the following:

J.C. Lloyd – ointment £0 1s 6d
Postmaster General – telephone £0 0s 4d
A. Pennington – lamp £0 5s 9d
Sussex County Herald – advert £0 2s 6d

Also the ward maid was to be paid 10s. a week and allowed two washing dresses and four aprons per annum.

A letter dated June 8th was read, from the Manager, Employment Department, Brighton offering substitute caretakers to release Mr. Clarity for military service. The two substitutes offered were refused by reason that they did not fulfil the required conditions.

Early the following year a letter of resignation from the Caretaker and Nurse/ Matron was received by the committee which would take effect from March 25th. This would be considered at the February meeting. The resignations were reluctantly accepted and at this meeting the Chairman, Mayor and Medical Officer of Health would interview the caretaker and nurse of the Chailey Rural District Council Isolation Hospital. They were not accepted for the vacancies.  Further adverts were placed in local and medical journals for the vacancies and Mr. Oliver Pincock and his wife Elizabeth of the Works Hospital, Ewden Valley, Bolstrode, Nr Sheffield, were asked to attend an interview. Following their interview they were accepted as Caretaker and Nurse/ Matron.

Mrs. Clarity, the former Nurse/ Matron was asked to continue her duties at the hospital until April 14th at £1. 10s. a week and Mr. Clarity was to be paid an honorarium of £3. 3s. in recognition of his valuable services. Mr. and Mrs. Pincock would take up their duties at the hospital on April 11th.

Following the Pincock’s taking up their duties they produced a list of requests, which they hoped would be considered by the committee at their next meeting. They also asked whether their son aged six could reside with them at the hospital. The present Ward Maid who had reluctantly tendered her resignation had intimated that she would be willing to stay if assistance with the washing was obtained. The Nurse/ Matron said she was willing to help with the cooking and cleaning of the wards. She also said she would do night nursing.

The committee again considered the son of Mrs. Pincock and interviewed her on the matter. She informed them that if he was not allowed to stay, they would have to resign their positions. The Ward Maid was granted 2s. 6d a week wage increase and a fortnight’s holiday when the Nurse/ Matron position was clarified or when a new appointment was made. It was resolved that a second-hand washing machine be purchased from Browne & Crosskey for £3. 3s.

At the October meeting of 1919, because the position of the present Nurse/ Matron and Caretaker had not been resolved they said that they would leave the employ of the Corporation on November 2nd. Because of this the committee decided that Mr. and Mrs. Clarity would be asked if they would return to take up their former duties at an increased salary of £20, making £100 a year, if other employment is found for Mr. Clarity at additional remuneration. The Ward Maid resigned on November 1st.

Mr. and Mrs. Clarity accepted the committee’s offer and would resume duties. The services of Miss Inverarity as a temporary nurse replacement would cost the Corporation £4. 10s. for three months. Several matters, brought up by the Clarity’s were considered, including extra payment for night nursing. These were subsequently refused.

Repairs to the hospital were in hand which included the drainage of the grounds where the sewers along Neville Road were extended. £100 towards this was to be included in the general rates. As Miss Inverarity was only a temporary Nurse an advert for a Ward Maid and general help at a salary of £35 a year was placed in the West Sussex Gazette.