Saturday, 20 May 2017

Convalescent homes for Australian nurses

During the First World War it was not just soldiers who might require medical treatment. There were also times when nurses who were ill needed to recover away from the hospital at which they were stationed. Two of these hospitals were Southwell also known as Mrs T S Hall's Hospital for Australian Sisters and St Alban's Convalescent Home.
Building that was Southwell - Lost Hospitals of London
The house at 12 Southwell Gardens in South Kensington was donated for the use of Australian nurses during the war by Mrs T S Hall. Mrs Hall provided food and general labour for the hospital while the Australian Army supplied the nursing staff consisting of a matron and three sisters. The hospital was opened by the Australian High Commissioner on 30 June 1917 and operated until 1919.

Lost Hospitals of London website provides the following description:
The Hospital had 26 beds and an operating theatre.  The wards contained a varying amount of beds, depending on the size of the rooms.  The largest had 9 beds and there were a number of single rooms. The beds were covered with light green quilts, which harmonised with crimson screens.
On the ground floor were the drawing room, furnished with comfortable chairs, and the dining room ...
The hospital was run under the auspices of the Australian Red Cross.

St Albans Convalescent Home - AWM
Glen Almond, 14 King Henry's Lane, St Albans, Hertfordshire was the site of the St Alban's Convalescent Home for Australian Nurses. The house was the country home of Mr Harold McIlwraith who, in July 1916, lent his home to the Australian government for use as a convalescent home for Australian nurses.
Sisters on the steps of St Albans - AWM
In 1917 Sister Janet Gaff worked at both Southwell and St Albans for short periods.

Janet was a staff nurse at No 3 AAH Dartford during 1918. The diary of Matron Pocock contains references to sisters who were ill, especially those with influenza, leaving or returning from St Albans.

References
Lost Hospitals of London website - Southwell
Lost Hospitals of London website - St Albans
British Journal of Nursing vol 59 14 July 1917 p 21 - website
Australian War Memorial website - photographs of St Albans Convalescent Home  
Diary of Mary Ann Pocock (Dartford) - Australian War Memorial website 

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