Saturday, 4 February 2017

On Moss Lane East with echoes of the Great War

Now I doubt we will ever know who this Red Cross badge belonged to.

The Red Cross Badge
I do have a list of the staff who worked at the Willow Bank Hospital but it only runs from 1915 through to 1916 and it is equally likely its owner started later in the war.

The presence of the hospital on Moss Lane East was a complete surprise to me but then so many of these establishments vanished pretty much with the Armistice and within a few generations their existence had been forgotten by many.

Willow Bank is one that I have written about a few times.

It was once three fine town houses dating back into the 19th century and recently I helped research one of the occupants who was a wealthy German businessmen.

Much of what I know comes from  the book Red Cross Hospital from the East Lancashire Branch of the Red Cross published  in 1916.*

Willow Bank, 1915-1916
It includes a short description of all the hospitals in the Greater Manchester area along with details of the men being treated and the names of the staff.

According to the book, Willow Bank was “formerly three attached private residences which have been rented and converted by structural alterations into one Hospital containing 18 wards, operating theatre, mess room, billiard room, pack stores, matron’s room, linen room, bath room &c.

The initial cost before opening was about 3500, in addition to the numerous gifts and loans, and the maintenance cost of the Hospital has averaged about 2s 9d per bed per day.

Sturdee Ward, 1915
A very interesting scheme which has been introduced into the Hospital is the supporting of beds by a contribution of 10s. weekly from friends, employees of private firms, institutions and others.  

The following list shows who have participated in this scheme.

Kitchener Ward. Mr S.T. Rowe, 1 bed, Miss Hunter, 2 beds, Moss Side Conservative Club, 1 bed; Harry Leslie Hon. Bed, named as an appreciation of services rendered in raising money from concerts, etc.”

The Kitchener was only one of seven ward listed with the donors along with the Carlton Club which supported four beds.

Many of those donors are recorded in a series of picture postcards which were produced at the time.
And using that list it is possible to identify the ward in the picture as the Sturdee Ward.

Some of these along with an insight into the work of Willow Bank can be found in Manchester Remembering 1914-18 which came out yesterday.**

Location; Manchester

Pictures; The Willow Bank Red Cross badge 1915-1918 and picture postcard of a ward, from the collection of David Harrop, and Willow Bank Hospital, 1915-1916 from, Red Cross Hospital from the East Lancashire Branch of the Red Cross, 1916.

*Red Cross Hospital from the East Lancashire Branch of the Red Cross, 1916.

**A new book on Manchester and the Great War,

Manchester Remembering 1914-18 by Andrew Simpson is published by the History Press

No comments:

Post a Comment