Pelsall Hall Sanatorium

In 1917 Pelsall Hall was purchased from the Charles family by Walsall Health Authority with the view to it being used as a TB Sanatorium.

Pelsall Hall Sanatorium was officially opened on 23rd October 1918 by Mr Stephen Walsh M.P.

By the end of 1918 there were 17 patients in the sanatorium and at the end of the war discharged soldiers with TB were also admitted. Over the Christmas period, appeals were made for books and games to 'tide them over' the Christmas period.

Due to the nature of what was then an incurable and highly contagious illness the health authority had great difficulty in recruiting nurses and in turn delayed the opening of Pelsall Hall Sanatorium.

Dr James Clark M.D. M.B. Ch.B D.P.H became the medical superintendent of Pelsall Hall Sanatorium.

Pelsall Hall in 1917 together with tennis courts at the time of the sale.

Pelsall Hall Sanatorium with the Men's Pavilion to the right in 1918 shortly after it was opened.  Notice the nurse to the left in the grounds.

Photograph copyright A Bates - Pelsall Times

The photograph above was taken on Peace Day 11th November 1918.

At this time there were 17 patients, eleven men, six women, a dog and a cat.

Miss Partington, the temporary Matron can be seen at the centre of the photograph. Miss Partington bought with her a Cook and Housemaid.  Miss Edith M Kearsley of Madely was the Assistant Nurse appointed on 30th October 1918 and Miss Doris Squire was the Secretary Dispenser.

Although not shown in this photograph, Miss Sadler (TB Nurse) was appointed on 17th Jan 1919, Miss Martha Turner (Second Assistant Nurse) was appointed on 17th February 1919 and Miss Winnie Davis (Staff Nurse) was appointed 30th June 1919.

The first caretaker of Pelsall Hall Sanatorium was Mr George Gregory who had also worked for the Charles family.

By 1920 there were 17 male beds, 14 female beds and 6 children's beds.

The photograph above illustrates what one of the rooms would have looked like when Pelsall Hall became a sanatorium.

Above: Peggy Miller

Above: Peggy and her sister Phyllis

Peggy was the Matron's Maid and Phyllis was the Cook

When publishing the Pelsall Times magazine back in March 2004, I was fortunate enough to speak to Mrs Peggy Miller who was able to share her memories of working at Pelsall Hall Sanatorium and kindly loaned a number of photographs to me which I published in Issue 30 of Pelsall Times.

Mrs Miller started work at Pelsall Hall Sanatorium at the age of 14 when she was employed as a Matrons Maid between 1939 and 1948.  Her job involved making sure that the Matron was prepared for the day ahead.

The reason why Mrs Miller went to work at the Hall was because her sister Phyllis was the cook there.

She remembered that from her first day there all of the staff were very friendly and that it was a very happy environment in which to work.

At that time all staff stayed at the Hall.

At this time, the Matron's room was on the ground floor.

The first floor was the children's ward and the day room was at the rear of the building.

The second floor was occupied by nurses.  Two of the nurses, Hilda and Leah who were very good friends of Mrs Miller were Estonian refugees.

Photograph above courtesy of Mrs Peggy Miller

Patients of Pelsall Hall Sanatorium, adults and children seated on the grounds outside Pelsall Hall.

Photograph above courtesy of Mrs Peggy Miller

Patients of Pelsall Hall Sanatorium with Nurse O'Connell centre of back row.

Photograph above courtesy of Mrs Peggy Miller

Patients of Pelsall Hall Sanatorium with Nurse Hale, Matron Roberts and Nurse Littlewood pictured on the back row.

On entering the main door of the Sanatorium, there was a big square staircase which went straight up to the third floor.  Around the staircase was a large hall having in it a table, two chairs and a clock.  It was a rather grand entrance.

The kitchen was situated at the rear of the building on the ground floor.  There was also a larder and scullery there.

All adult patients were housed outside the hall.  The men's pavilion which housed mostly ex servicemen was a brick built construction which was situated on the left hand side of the hall and extended down Paradise Lane.

Women were housed in wooden huts which were scattered all over the grounds and could be found as far out as where the Clockmill estate is today.

With tuberculosis the emphasis was on fresh air which meant that all patients including children had to sleep with their windows open.

Mrs Miller recalled how all patients had a red blanket.

The elaborate upper staircase in Pelsall Hall at the time can be seen above.  Mrs Miller also remembered the old servants bells which had been left behind by the Charles family.

Above: The Men's Pavilion in the grounds of Pelsall Hall

Photograph above courtesy of Mr A Weller, Pelsall History Centre

The Village Hall which was situated where Paradise Grove is today can be seen above.

In 1924 the Village Hall was used as a dining room and recreation room by the patients of Pelsall Hall Sanatorium.  This building was demolished in 1985 to make way for Pelsall Ambulance Station.

Nurses and patients of Pelsall Hall Sanatorium seated outside the Mens's Pavilion building

If you would like to share your memories of Pelsall Hall Sanatorium, why not drop me a line, I would be delighted to hear from you.

 

Annita Bates - Pelsall Times

 

If you would like to find out more about Pelsall Hall Sanatorium or the history of the Charles Family and Pelsall Hall, why not purchase a copy of The Charles Family and Pelsall Hall.

This publication can be purchased from Kind Thoughts on Pelsall High Street or R W Print on Norton Road, Pelsall