Memories of Hill End

From a child's perspective in the 1950s

By Chris Mitchell

When I was born in 1952, my parents came to stay with my great uncle, Alec Bursnell, who was the Hospital Engineer, and his family at the Lodge in the Hospital grounds. I am told that I slept in a laundry basket as space was tight, with 6 adults living in the house. My parents still speak fondly of the happy times they had at the Lodge. My grandmother, Frances Saunders, was for many years the Head Seamstress in charge of the workrooms. I can recall being taken round the Hospital in the late 1950s and meeting some of the patients. I was always taken round the workroom to meet the ladies who worked there, and was treated to sweets if I was lucky. I remember being taken to see the farm, which was still a working unit back in the late 50s.

Uncle Alec also had some responsibilty for Cell Barnes engineering & maintenance functions. He was, I am told, involved in the design and installation of a heating system which was powered from Hill End Hospital. At the time it was highly advanced, and attracted a visit from the Institute of Mechnical Engineers in London. It went on to give many years of service well after his retirement.

This page was added on 14/01/2013.

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  • I was there in 1947, aged 10 when I had my ‘bat ears’ stitched back.
    What I do remember was dozens of servicemen being treated for disfiguring wounds. I can also remember the terrible smells that came from the treatment of a young girl called Lorna, who had suffered the effects of a nightdress catching fire. Poor kid was burnt over most of her body.
    I was always told that my treatment was in the early days of purely ‘cosmetic’ surgery

    By Crayston Lee (20/08/2019)