1 – Ancoats Dispensary Archway

Ancoats Dispensary

At long last we have reached the final post of our blogging adventure!  In one hundred posts published over one hundred days, we have highlighted the stories of the patrons, staff, and patients of Ancoats Dispensary.  But this blog only scratches the surface of the institution’s heritage.  There is much more to be discovered and we hope our posts have inspired you to begin your own research  or share your own memories of this historic building.

This blog ran in parallel with a fundraising campaign to secure the future of Ancoats Dispensary (more details here).  We are delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has officially granted the Ancoats Dispensary Trust ‘Permission to Start’ the development phrase of the project to safeguard and restore the building.

However, Ancoats Dispensary Trust still has some distance to go raising money to match the Heritage Lottery Fund grant.  Although the blog countdown is complete, the fundraising campaign continues, having been extended until the end of March 2015.  Go to http://spacehive.com/thebeatingheartofancoats to donate.

Advertisements

2 – Casualty Department Sit-In

Sit-InIn 1987, the North Manchester Health Authority decided to close the casualty department at Ancoats Hospital.  The Health Authority believed that the facilities and staff levels at Ancoats Hospital were not sufficient to cater for accident and emergency cases.  A&E services were to be transferred to North Manchester General Hospital.

Many Ancoats residents felt that they had not been properly consulted and there were serious concerns that the Health Authority’s plan would deprive Ancoats of much-needed health resources.  The Ancoats Action Group was formed to campaign against the decision.  Public meetings, a demonstration, and a petition galvanised the community, but failed to prevent the closure of the casualty department on 1 February, 19871.

On the day of the closure, members of the community began a sit-in to register their opposition.  Participants  took it in turns to occupy the casualty department.  Those on ‘night duty’ slept in sleeping bags and frequent cups of tea helped boost morale.  A bulletin produced by the Ancoats Action Group described the scene:

The members of the Sit-In often comprise entire families, from the oldest to the youngest, and they maintain a presence 24 hours a day.  Facilities are hardly luxurious —two toilets, an open space which at night time is turned into a sleeping area— all very sparse but functional.  As for eating, there is a tea-urn (plenty of tea gets supped!) and a toaster2

The sit-in ended on 11 September after 223 days.  The Health Authority decided to proceed with the closure of the casualty department; however, it promised to open a community clinic in Ancoats.  Although not all participants viewed this as a good result, most emerged from the sit-in with a new appreciation of the power of community action.

Please do leave a comment or get in touch if you have any memories of the sit-in to share.

1.  For more information about the Ancoats Action Group and the sit-in, see Mary Catherine Dunne, Stitched Up!: Action for Health in Ancoats (Manchester: Church Action on Poverty, 1993).
2.  Quoted in Dunne, Stitched Up!, 31.


Do you think this heritage is worth preserving?  If so, contribute to the campaign to save Ancoats Dispensary: www.spacehive.com/thebeatingheartofancoats.

Have you got a photograph, news clipping, document, item of memorabilia, or memory about Ancoats Dispensary?  If so, we would love to feature it on the blog.  Please send images and descriptions to ancoatsdispensary100@gmail.com.  Contributors of material will be acknowledged.

3 – ‘Irreparable Loss’: The Cawley Headstone

Cawley Headstone

This headstone stands in a vault at Néry Communal Cemetery in France.  It belongs to three British soldiers who fell during the First World War, including brothers Major John Cawley and Captain Oswald Cawley from Manchester.  John Cawley was killed during a skirmish at Néry on 1 September, 1914 and Oswald Cawley died in action near Merville on 22 August, 1918.  A third Cawley brother, Harold, lost his life during the Battle of Gallipoli on 23 September, 1915 and was buried in Turkey.

The brothers were sons of Frederick Cawley, 1st Baron Cawley (1850-1937) and Elizabeth Smith.  Lord Cawley had a prosperous textile business and was President of Ancoats Hospital during the war years.  Like his father, Oswald Cawley had ties to the institution; he was a trustee of the hospital before his premature death.  When the governors of Ancoats Hospital learned of Oswald’s fate, they praised his ‘helpful services to the Institution, and offer[ed] their heartfelt sympathy to their President in the irreparable loss he has sustained1‘.

Lord Cawley, President of Ancoats Hospital, who lost three sons during the Great War (image courtesy of Manchester Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives)
Lord Cawley, President of Ancoats Hospital, who lost three sons during the Great War (image courtesy of Manchester Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives)

In memory of his sons, Lord Cawley donated £10 000 to endow a ward at Ancoats Hospital.  The Cawley Ward, as it was known, was used for male medical cases.  Lord Cawley offered to build a new nurses’ home as a second commemorative act.  Thus, one man’s private grief paved the way for the hospital’s growth.

1.  Ninetieth Report of the Ancoats Hospital and Ardwick and Ancoats Dispensary (1919), 9.


Do you think this heritage is worth preserving?  If so, contribute to the campaign to save Ancoats Dispensary:www.spacehive.com/thebeatingheartofancoats.

Have you got a photograph, news clipping, document, item of memorabilia, or memory about Ancoats Dispensary?  If so, we would love to feature it on the blog.  Please send images and descriptions to ancoatsdispensary100@gmail.com.  Contributors of material will be acknowledged.

4 – A Brick (And a Live Turkey)

Capture Capture1

Although the Great War was raging in Europe, let it not be said that the local constabulary took their eye off the ball (but not the brick) when it came to keeping law and order on the streets of Manchester.  I’ve tried to keep this blog light-hearted, although you probably wouldn’t agree with the sentiment if you were a police officer nursing a bump on the noggin from a piece of Accrington’s finest..

In December 1915, something fowl was afoot on the streets of Moston.  There had been complaints of live turkeys being stolen in the district, and so on a cold winter night (I’m guessing it was cold but then again it was December in Manchester) four stalwart police officers concealed themselves in the confines of Bacup Fold Farm on Moston Lane.  Their patience was rewarded when, at four in the morning, two dastardly fowl thieves arrived and ‘tampered with the turkey shed.’  On seeing the officers the pair scarpered and a ‘hot chase’ ensued, which presumably was most welcome considering the weather.  During the pursuit, a brick was launched at the custodians of law and order, causing a gash to the forehead of Officer Bacon (there seems to be a food theme developing here).

The Ancoats connection now becomes apparent, as Bacon was treated for his wound at Ancoats Hospital.

Like all good telly programmes, the police got their men; brothers William and Thomas Melling of Failsworth being sent to prison for three months, ‘for being on enclosed premises for an unlawful purpose and for assaulting the police.’[1]

The turkeys, presumably, met their fate a couple of weeks later.

[1] Manchester Evening News, 4 December 1915


Do you think this heritage is worth preserving? If so, contribute to the campaign to save Ancoats Dispensary:www.spacehive.com/thebeatingheartofancoats.

Have you got a photograph, news clipping, document, item of memorabilia, or memory about Ancoats Dispensary? If so, we would love to feature it on the blog. Please send images and descriptions to ancoatsdispensary100@gmail.com. Contributors of material will be acknowledged.

5 – ‘Horse Ambulances for Manchester’

Horse Ambulance
(copyright Greater Manchester Police Museum and Archive)

Craig has written about how Ancoats Hospital obtained a motor ambulance in 1915 (see his post on ‘Gaiety’s Practical Gift’).   But before the institution had this vehicle, Ancoats Hospital relied on horse-drawn ambulances to carry emergency and accident cases to its doors.  This image depicts a horse ambulance at Ancoats Police Station on Goulden Street.

The first horse ambulances were introduced in New York in 1869.  It was not long before the idea crossed the Atlantic and cities such as Liverpool and Belfast established their own horse ambulance services1.  In 1900, a deputation from medical charities in Manchester —including William Armitage, chairman of Ancoats Hospital— urged Manchester City Council to purchase horse ambulances.  The deputation believed that horse ambulances were a faster alternative to the human-propelled hand ambulances which the city had been using for some years2.

Hand Ambulance
A hand ambulance, a precursor of the horse ambulance

The deputation’s wish was granted.  Police stations were equipped with horse ambulances which could be dispatched to take patients to various Manchester hospitals, including Ancoats Hospital.  The horse ambulance service quickly proved its worth.  In 1903, a horse ambulance rushed Martha Godfrey to Ancoats Hospital after she sustained head injuries in a domestic dispute.  When two men were burned in a gas explosion in 1914, a horse ambulance conveyed them to Ancoats Hospital3.  The survival of these three individuals (and many more like them) was in large measure due to the prompt action of the horse ambulance service.

Horse Ambulance (2)
(copyright Greater Manchester Police Museum and Archive)

1.  John F. Hutchinson, ‘Civilian Ambulances and Lifesaving Societies: The European Experience, 1870-1914’, in Accidents in History: Injuries, Fatalities and Social Relations,  eds. Roger Cooter and Bill Luckin (Amsterdam: Editions Rodopi B.V., 1997), 158.
2. The Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, 29 May, 1900.
3.  The Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, 15 April, 1914.


Do you think this heritage is worth preserving?  If so, contribute to the campaign to save Ancoats Dispensary:www.spacehive.com/thebeatingheartofancoats.

Have you got a photograph, news clipping, document, item of memorabilia, or memory about Ancoats Dispensary?  If so, we would love to feature it on the blog.  Please send images and descriptions to ancoatsdispensary100@gmail.com.  Contributors of material will be acknowledged.

6 – Literary imaginings: Lisa Brown’s The Porter’s Wife

If Ancoats Dispensary Trust are successful in their campaign, the derelict dispensary building will be transformed into an exciting community hub,  a centre of creativity in Ancoats. The link between Ancoats Dispensary and medical and scientific creativity is long established, but the building also has a history as a site of literary and artistic imaginings.

The Porter’s Wife by Lisa Brown is a recent example of this. Screen Shot 2015-02-22 at 15.10.17The novel traces the life of Sarah Berry and her husband as they seek to make their way in Manchester at the beginning of the twentieth century. Samuel and Margaret, two of their five children, are treated at Ancoats Dispensary, and the novel includes a creative imagining of that experience.

The two young siblings arrive at Ancoats Dispensary via a wagon, and the novel reconstructs the building at the turn of the century. As Samuel and Margaret make their way inside, Brown depicts the administrative window, the sign for patient check-in and the outpatients and accident waiting room that we know about from photographs and Lowry’s famous painting of the Outpatients Hall. Brown also relays a ‘long, winding line of people’ waiting to be seen, ‘two hundred or so men, women and children, all in various degrees of unwellness’.

Outpatients' HallScreen Shot 2014-11-29 at 10.42.22

Brown skilfully reconstructs the interchange between patient and clerk before the National Health Service made care free at the point of access. The clerk approached Samuel: ‘”Are you a subscriber to this hospital?” she asked. Samuel stared blankly at her. “A subscriber. Are you a subscriber to this hospital?”‘.The demand for payment, and the intricacies of the duty of care, are then laid bare:  ”Who is your employer?’ ‘I work at the Markley Factory in Ardwick’ Samuel replied. The clerk perked up. “Markley is a large subscribe to this hospital. His employees are covered for workplace accidents. But these are clearly not workplace accidents. You’ll need to pay for your care. Are you able to do that? Samuel responded the only way that he knew would help his sister at that moment, “yes, we can pay for care”. The clerk looked unconvinced but chose not to question. The hospital’s policy was not to turn anyone away, but the clerk’s job was to collect fees and at times the two clashed’.


Do you think this heritage is worth preserving?  If so, contribute to the campaign to save Ancoats Dispensary: www.spacehive.com/thebeatingheartofancoats.

Have you got a photograph, news clipping, document, item of memorabilia, or memory about Ancoats Dispensary?  If so, we would love to feature it on the blog.  Please send images and descriptions to ancoatsdispensary100@gmail.com.  Contributors of material will be acknowledged.

7 – ‘Jacko, Blood, Get A Doctor’: A Double-Barrelled Shotgun

Capture

This blog takes us away from the environs of Ancoats for a change, up to the rural surrounds of the late-1930s Lake District.  This is perhaps an unusual place to find a connection with Ancoats Hospital but a connection there was.

In January 1938, Dr Arnold Renshaw, pathologist at the Hospital, had been called as a witness at the trial of Mrs Mary Evelyn Dillon, who had been accused of the manslaughter of an army officer, John Smith.  On Christmas Day 1937, Dillon had gone into a boathouse with Smith, on the shore of Lake Windermere at Brathay.  Smith had a shotgun in his possession.  In what appeared to have been a fatal case of horseplay, Dillon claimed that Smith had dared her to fire the gun, first at the ceiling and then at his body.  The first shot had indeed gone into the ceiling but the hapless pair, not realising that the gun contained another bullet found that the second shot entered the body of Smith and killed him.

Capture1

 Renshaw carried out the autopsy on Smith and stated that ‘cause of death was a gunshot wound of the heart, disrupting the left ventricle of this organ and causing immediate death.’  The wound was not, he concluded, self-inflicted and that the gun had been fired from within six inches of Smith, and probably within one inch.

This rather sad affair saw Dillon acquitted of manslaughter, as Hawkshead Bench decided that the prosecution had not made out a prima facie case against her.  It is not known how vital Renshaw’s evidence was in securing this verdict but it is interesting to see a member of the Hospital’s staff possibly influencing events at a high profile trial many miles away from Ancoats.

For a rather melodramatic account of the trial, including Renshaw’s evidence, see the Lancashire Evening Post, 6 January 1938.


Do you think this heritage is worth preserving? If so, contribute to the campaign to save Ancoats Dispensary:www.spacehive.com/thebeatingheartofancoats.

Have you got a photograph, news clipping, document, item of memorabilia, or memory about Ancoats Dispensary? If so, we would love to feature it on the blog. Please send images and descriptions to ancoatsdispensary100@gmail.com. Contributors of material will be acknowledged.

8 – ‘Rescuing a Would-Be Suicide’: Rochdale Canal

Rochdale Canal
(image courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives)

This photograph from 1903 shows workmen beside Rochdale Canal in Union Street, Ancoats.  This was the site of a drama in 1900 when an Ancoats labourer saved a man who did not wish to be rescued.

On 14 September, 1900, soldier Joseph Lee of George Lee Street, Ancoats, stepped out in front of a fire engine.  He sustained bruised legs in the resulting collision but —determined to end his own life— he then headed towards the Rochdale Canal in Union Street (now Redhill Street).  Labourer James Hoy noticed Lee’s strange behaviour.  Hoy stopped Lee at the canal’s edge, but Lee jumped and dragged Hoy in after him.

Struggling, Hoy managed to keep the suicidal man’s head above water until assistance arrived.  Lee was conveyed to nearby Ancoats Hospital where he remained for several weeks.  The institution had acted as a receiving house for such emergency cases since the 1830s (see the previous post on ‘The Recovery of Persons Apparently Drowned’).

James Hoy's Medal
The Hundred of Salford Humane Society awarded to James Hoy

The Humane Society of Salford was founded in 1789 ‘to reward persons who have shown courage and self-devotion on occasions when life has been endangered by water, fire, or other cause’.  Hoy received the society’s gold medal in December 1900 in recognition of his ‘great resolution and bravery1′.    The city authorities also granted him ten shillings.  For Joseph Lee, however, the episode concluded less heroically.  On 9 October, 1900, he was charged at the City Police Court with attempting to commit suicide2.

Joseph Lee was not the only person driven to such a desperate act.  Mere months before Lee’s suicide attempt, a man drowned after throwing himself in the Rochdale Canal at nearly the same spot.  This man had been taken to Ancoats Hospital, but died3.

1.  The Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, 15 December, 1900.
2.  The Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, 10 October, 1900.
3.  The Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, 16 June, 1900.


Do you think this heritage is worth preserving?  If so, contribute to the campaign to save Ancoats Dispensary:www.spacehive.com/thebeatingheartofancoats. Have you got a photograph, news clipping, document, item of memorabilia, or memory about Ancoats Dispensary?  If so, we would love to feature it on the blog.  Please send images and descriptions to ancoatsdispensary100@gmail.com.  Contributors of material will be acknowledged.

9 – ‘Poisoned by the Fluff’: Cotton

Cotton

The cotton above may seem like harmless fluff.  But, in the early 1830s, James Phillips Kay (1804-1877) exposed it as a killer.

A physician at Ancoats Dispensary, Kay treated many operatives who worked in cotton manufactories.  As machinery in these mills processed cotton, fibres broke loose, covering surfaces and floating freely in the air.  Kay noticed that many of his patients complained of bad lungs and he attributed this directly to the mill atmosphere:

In the commencement of the complaint, the patient suffers a distressing pulmonary irritation from the dust and filaments which he inhales.  Entrance into the atmosphere of the mill immediately occasions a dry cough, which harasses him considerably in the day, but ceases immediately after he leaves the mill… These symptoms become gradually more severe… He is harassed by a frequent cough… The whole respiratory system evinces a great and easily excited irritability1

Kay dubbed the condition ‘spinners’ phthisis’ because those who worked as spinners in the factories seemed particularly susceptible.  In the worst cases, the condition could result in potentially fatal tuberculosis.  Today, the condition is called byssinosis.

Phthisis
A lung affected by phthisis (image courtesy of the Wellcome Collection)

Kay was one of the first medical men to establish the link between respiratory disorders and industrial settings.  By the time Elizabeth Gaskell wrote North and South in 1855, the dangers of cotton were more widely recognised and Bessy —a character in the novel— alludes to its effects:

Fluff… Little bits, as fly off fro’ the cotton, when they’re carding it, and fill the air till it looks all fine white dust.  They say it winds round the lungs, and tightens them up.  Anyhow, there’s many a one as works in a carding-room, that falls into a waste, coughing and spitting blood, because they’re just poisoned by the fluff2

1.  James Phillips Kay, ‘Observations and Experiments Concerning Molecular Irritation of the Lungs as One Source of Tubercular Consumption; and on Spinners’ Phthisis’, North of England Surgical and Medical Journal (February, 1831), 359.
2.  Elizabeth Gaskell, North and South (Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1855), 98.


Do you think this heritage is worth preserving?  If so, contribute to the campaign to save Ancoats Dispensary:www.spacehive.com/thebeatingheartofancoats.

Have you got a photograph, news clipping, document, item of memorabilia, or memory about Ancoats Dispensary?  If so, we would love to feature it on the blog.  Please send images and descriptions to ancoatsdispensary100@gmail.com.  Contributors of material will be acknowledged.

10- Ancoats Hospital Medals

Medals from Ancoats Hospital donated to the Manchester University Museum of Health and Medicine in 2010.
Medals from Ancoats Hospital donated to the Manchester University Museum of Health and Medicine in 2010.

These are four medals presented to staff at Ancoats Hospital, and donated to the Manchester University Museum of Health and Medicine in 2010.

Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 08.33.02

The medals at the top, with the brown ribbon, were awarded for service to physiotherapy. On the front of the medal, pictured above, is the image of an arm holding a wand or torch against a green shield with a yellow banner inscribed ‘Service’, ‘Ancoats Hospital’, Physiotherapy’. The back of both medals were engraved, apparently freehand: ‘H.J Dafforne Memorial Award to the Outstanding Physiotherapy Student’. John H. Dafforne was the superintendent and secretary of Ancoats Hospital from 1948 -1969, and wrote the 150th anniversary booklet in 1978.

The medals at the bottom, with the blue ribbons, were awarded to the Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 08.50.33nurses of Ancoats Hospital. The front of the medal, pictured here, depicts the three virtues of love – in the form of the heart, faith – in the form of the cross, and hope – in the form of the anchor. Each virtue is encircled within a laurel wreath, a symbol of triumph and success, and held together by three fleur de lis. Although the fleur de lis is usually associated with the French monarchy, the three-petalled design may reference the Holy Trinity, or even the Manchester or King’s Regiment for whom it was the cap badge until 2006. The banners around the edge read ‘Ancoats Hospital Manchester’. The back, again encircled by laurels, suggests this was the ‘Douglas Medal’ and reads ‘Nurses Examination’.

It is not clear from the record who these medals were donated by. Medals of this kind might have ended up in larger collections and found in job lots at auction houses. It would be nice to think that these medals were treasured by their recipients, worn proudly on uniforms, displayed on mantelpieces and perhaps passed down to descendants- a material reminder of their loved one’s skill and hard work, as well as of Ancoats Hospital.


Do you think this heritage is worth preserving? If so, contribute to the campaign to save Ancoats Dispensary: http://www.spacehive.com/thebeatingheartofancoats.

Have you got a photograph, news clipping, document, item of memorabilia, or memory about Ancoats Dispensary? If so, we would love to feature it on the blog. Please send images and descriptions to ancoatsdispensary100@gmail.com. Contributors of material will be acknowledged.