COLCHESTER: Isolation Hospital, Mill Road

ISOLATION HOSPITAL or Myland Fever Hospital or Myland Hospital

Mill Road, Colchester, Essex

Myland Hospital, once originally Colchester Isolation Hospital. Image captured by ‘Simmons Aerofilms’. © of Blom UK. Courtesy of Heather Anne Johnson.

Myland Hospital, once originally Colchester Isolation Hospital. Image captured by ‘Simmons Aerofilms’. © of Blom UK.  Courtesy of Heather Anne Johnson.

‘The Colchester Isolation Hospital’ began in 1884, when a small girl was admitted with Scarlet Fever to an old farmhouse on the Severalls Estate – it had cost £180 to adapt.    A few years later, three small brick wards of four beds each were added plus two temporary Pavilions for patients (one of wood and one of corrugated iron).

At the same time, a ‘Smallpox Hospital’ with staff cottage was built a quarter of a mile from the main Hospital.   This ‘Smallpox Hospital’ was built of corrugated iron but the cottage was built of brick.   It is believed that this “cottage” was a brick built house called ‘The Lodge’.   ‘The Lodge’ was reached on foot or by cycle via the Hospital grounds at the rear of the site or by a rough drive/track off Severalls Lane.

‘The Lodge’ was where ex-Lexden-employees ex-Chauffeur George H. Soar and ex-Nursemaid Ellen F. (nee Saye) made their home once the First World War ended.  George had probably begun working at the Isolation Hospital in 1915.  As well at George’s ‘Hospital Engineer’ duties, he also carried out ambulance driving – George would always boast of being Colchester’s first Ambulance Driver.

Above left: George H. Soar, at the back of the Colchester Isolation Hospital ambulance c1919. Above right: Ellen, Eric & Pamela Soar at ‘The Lodge’ – with the ‘Smallpox Hospital’ seen in the background, 1926. Courtesy of Heather A. Johnson.

Above left: George H. Soar, at the back of the Colchester Isolation Hospital ambulance c1919. Above right: Ellen, Eric & Pamela Soar at ‘The Lodge’ – with the ‘Smallpox Hospital’ seen in the background, 1926. Courtesy of Heather A. Johnson.

A poor image of the 'Smallpox Hospital' at Colchester Isolation Hospital, 1928. Courtesy of Heather Anne Johnson.

A poor image of the ‘Smallpox Hospital’ at Colchester Isolation Hospital, 1928. Courtesy of Heather Anne Johnson.

At the outbreak of WW1, two temporary Pavilions of asbestos sheeting were erected and, in 1917, the War Office put up two temporary wooden Military pattern Hospital Pavilions – to accommodate infectious cases from the very large number of troops in the district.  (Source: 1936 brochure for the Opening Ceremony of the ‘County & Borough Small-Pox Hospital, Colchester’).

Hospital Engineer George H. Soar and an unknown woman, with the wooden WW1 Military huts behind. Courtesy of Heather Anne Johnson.

Hospital Engineer George H. Soar and an unknown woman, with the wooden WW1 Military huts behind.  Courtesy of Heather Anne Johnson.

On 27 April 1936, a new Smallpox building was officially opened at the Isolation Hospital in Mill Road, Colchester.

The 1936 ‘Souvenir of the opening ceremony of the County & Borough Small-pox Hospital, Colchester’. Courtesy of Heather Anne Johnson.

The 1936 ‘Souvenir of the opening ceremony of the County & Borough Small-pox Hospital, Colchester’. Courtesy of Heather Anne Johnson.

Exterior & Interior views of 1936 new ‘Smallpox Hospital at Colchester Isolation Hospital. Courtesy of Heather Anne Johnson.

Exterior & Interior of new ‘Smallpox Hospital at Colchester Isolation Hospital. 1936.  Courtesy of Heather Anne Johnson.

In 1948, this ‘Infectious Diseases Hospital’ (in Mill Road, Colchester) was re-named ‘Myland Hospital’ because it was no longer going to be used exclusively for infectious cases.    The Hospital closed in 1989.    It has been demolished and the ‘Highwoods’ housing development (north east of Purvis Way, as far as the Mill Road) has encompassed what was the site of Myland Hospital, the old Isolation Hospital.

Nothing remains of what once stood there bar a few preserved trees.  One oak tree, in particular, stands as a landmark to denote the site of ‘The Lodge’.

(http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?compid=22004: acknowledged for some facts above)



Friday 05 March 1915, Chelmsford Chronicle [sic]:

“The body of Pt. Fred Minney, 6th Northamptonshire Regt., who died in the Isolation Hospital at Colchester, was conveyed to Northampton for interment on Tuesday.  Deceased was 19.”


Friday 05 January 1917, Chelmsford Chronicle [sic]:

“HOUSEMAID WANTED, wages £18-£20; KITCHEN MAID, must be able to do plain cooking, wages £20; WARD MAID, wages £18-£20.  Apply, Matron, Isolation Hospital, Colchester.”


29 April 1917

The death of Sister Margaret Mayne was registered in the Colchester District.  Margaret had been volunteering at the Great Eastern Hotel Military Hospital in Harwich when she contracted Cerebral-spinal meningitis – probably picked up from one of the patients she was nursing.   Margaret died three days after admission to the Infections Hospital, Mile End, Colchester.   The hospital’s Matron Kate Carron Braidwood was named as ‘Informant’ on Margaret’s death certificate.  Margaret’s burial took place at Colchester Cemetery on 3 May 1917 – her grave in plot S 2 15 remains unmarked.


30th June 1917, The British Journal of Nursing

“FEVER NURSES’ ASSOCIATION.    ANNUAL REPORT OF THE COUNCIL.   1916 – 1917

In presenting the Eighth Annual Report your Council is still able, although we are now in the third year of the War, with the consequent continued strain upon the Officers and Staff of all Hospitals and the increased pressure and difficulties of the work, to report that the Association makes satisfactory progress.

(1) Membership.-Applications for membership and registration during the past year bring the total number of members and nurses holding the Fever Nurses’ Association Certificate up to 2,316.

(2) The Association’s Examination.-Two examinations have been held during the year, one in October, 1916, when 64 candidates entered and 46 were successful, and one in April, 1917, when 101candidates entered and 71 were successful.

(3) List of Training Schools.-Three Hospitals have been added to the list of Training Schools making a total of 39, viz,, Derby Isolation Hospital, Colchester Isolation Hospital, and Ipswich Isolation Hospital.  …   …   …”        “J. BIERNACKCI, Chairman”.


Friday 24 August 1917, Surrey Mirror [sic]:

“COOK wanted; Kitchen and Scullery Maid kept.—Matron, Isolation Hospital, Colchester. Wages £40.” plus “HOUSEMAID, wages £20. .—Matron, Isolation Hospital, Colchester.”


Friday 11 January 1918, Chelmsford Chronicle [sic]:

“GIRL, strong for housework; no cooking; good outings. Matron, Isolation Hospital, Colchester.”



LIST OF PEOPLE KNOWN TO HAVE WORKED AT COLCHESTER ISOLATION HOSPITAL: No British Red Cross card has been discovered for any person working at the Colchester Isolation Hospital:-

BRAIDWOOD, Miss Kate Carron (Matron)

CUNNINGHAM, Miss Mary Paule (Australian. 1915-1919. V.A.D. worker.  No British Red Cross card)

SOAR, George Henry (c1915-1916/1919-1954. Hospital Engineer and Ambulance Driver)

Colchester.”


PROFILES:

BRAIDWOOD, Kate Carron  R.R.C. Born 1865 Wolverton, Buckinghamshire.  Birth registered 4th Q.

Daughter of Scottish-born Millwright John Braidwood and his wife Matilda Catherine (nee Miles).

1871 Census:  195 West Street, Coppenhall Monks, Crewe. Living with parents; 5 sisters; and 3 brothers.

1881 Census:  195 West Street, Coppenhall Monks, Crewe. Living with parents; 2 sisters; and 2 brothers.

1891 Census:  ‘Oakamoor’, Alton, Staffs.  Living with Housekeeper sister Janet.  No occupation given.

1901 Census:  District Workhouse Infirmary, Paddington, London.  Occupation:  Head Nurse.

1911 Census:  Municipal Infect. Hospital, Colchester.  Occupation: Matron (Trained Nurse).

2nd November 1917, Chelmsford Chronicle:

ROYAL RED CROSS FOR ESSEX NURSES

The King has awarded the Royal Red Cross to the undermentioned ladies of the nursing services in recognition of their valuable service in connection with the war:–

To be Associates, Royal Red Cross (2nd Class).

… Miss Kate Carron Braidwood, Matron, Infections Diseases Hpl., Colchester. …”

1929, 29 April: Kate (“of Carron Villa, Aspley Heath, Bedfordshire”) died.  Kate never married.


CUNNINGHAM, Miss Mary Paule (Australian. 1915-1919. V.A.D. worker)

Mary Paule Cunningham was born in 1893, Queanbeyan, New South Wales, Australia.     She was the daughter of James Cunningham and his wife Mary Emily of Tuggeranong Homestead & Lanyon.

Mary’s Paternal Grandfather was Andrew Cunningham (a wealthy pastoralist); Mary’s mother was actively involved in the Red Cross organisation; and a maternal aunt, (Alice) Joan Twynam, was a pioneering Australian Army Nursing Service Sister who served in France from 1914-1919.

1915, 12.05:        Arrived at the Port of London, from Australia (Brisbane), on the ship ‘Miltiades’.  Mary, reportedly, either joined the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) or trained as a Voluntary Auxiliary Detachment nursing member.

1916, 4th Q:       Married Major William Archibald Shuldham Dunlop at St George Hanover Square, London.  Major William (Bill) A.S. Dunlop was amongst the original student intake at the Royal Military College in Duntroon, near the future site of Canberra.     He served overseas 1914-1919 in France and was at Galipoli.

1978:                  Mrs. Mary P. Dunlop died.


SOAR, George Henry (c1915-1916/1919-1954. Hospital Engineer and Ambulance Driver)

George Henry Soar was born 03 August 1889 in the shadow of St. Mary Magdalen Church, Colchester – in Portugal Terrace (also known as Church Lane), off Magdalen Street, Colchester.  His Suffolk-born parents were Tailor Arthur Thurston Soar & his wife Tailoress Ellen Mary (nee Dynes).

1891:     7 Church Lane, St. Mary Magdalene, Colchester.  Living with parents; 3 sisters; and 3 brothers. 

1901:     58 East Street, Colchester.  Living with parents; 3 sisters; and 2 brothers.

1904:     Apprentice Engineer with W. Paull & Co. of Barrack Street, Colchester.   The Motor Car Agents W. Paull & Co. offered:-  “Cars for Hire”; “Any Make Supplied”; and “Lessons free for Purchasers”.       Additionally, George is said to have been a ‘Taxi Driver’ … driving a De Dion-Bouton – perhaps he drove the hire cars for customers?   George loved anything mechanical.   In his youth, he had been a keen amateur racing cyclist and then, when older, he owned a motorcycle and loved riding it.

1909:     Became a Private Chauffeur & Mechanic for Lexden Farmer & Cattle Dealer James Hines, of Lexden Farm Lodge, off Spring Lane, Lexden.

1915:     George probably began working at the Colchester Isolation Hospital (Myland) in 1915.     George credited himself with being Colchester’s first ambulance driver – based at the Hospital.     He was also the Hospital Engineer.

1916:     Enlisted into the Royal Naval Air Service and worked as an Air Mechanic, working on aeroplanes.  In 1918, the R.N.A.S. became the British Army’s Royal Flying Corps.

1916, 11 July: Based in the Dunkirk area in France – until 14 May 1917.

1916, 23 Dec: Married Ellen Florence Saye at St. Leonard Parish Church, Lexden.   Ellen also worked for James Hines – as a Nursery Nurse+.    George had already enlisted and married in his uniform – he must have been given leave for Christmas!?     Under normal circumstances, upon marriage, Ellen would have left her employment to become a full-time housewife but she continued to work for the Hines family until George was demobilised in 1919.

1917, 15 May: After being based in Dunkirk area in France, George moved to the Somme area – until 31 January 1918. “In April 1917, the RFC lost 245 aircraft with 211 aircrew killed and 108 taken POW in what became known as the “Fokker Scourge”.   During the same month, the RFC only shot down 66 German aeroplanes.”  (http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/royal_flying_corps.htm)

1918, 01 Feb: Based in the Dunkirk area in France – until 31 May 1918.

1918, 01 April: The Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Navy Air Service combined to form the Royal Air Force.

1919:  After being demobilised from the RFC in 1919, George returned to Myland Hospital and became Hospital Engineer and Relief/On-Call Ambulance Driver.    George and Ellen made their home in a Myland Hospital “cottage” – ‘The Lodge’, Severalls Lane, Colchester.    This “cottage” was, in essence, a substantial house which was reached by a rough track off the Severalls Lane or by walking across the couple of fields which divided the house from the Hospital on Mill Road.   The latter was George’s route to work.

The house stood within striking distance of a wooden building which was, in reality, the ‘Smallpox Hospital’.   Both were approximately a quarter of a mile from the main hospital buildings.   A ‘new’ Smallpox Hospital and a ‘new’ Isolation Hospital were opened in 1936 at the same Mill Road site, in Myland.

George and Ellen had one son (Eric George, born 25 July 1921) and one daughter (Pamela, Beatrice born 02 March 1926).    George was a good ‘shot’, as was his brother Arthur – both being members of Colchester Rifle Club winning teams.   Their niece, Marjorie E. Geernaert, later followed in their footsteps and became a renowned winning member of this same club.

1954:     George retired.     Thus, George and Ellen had to vacate their hospital-owned home.  They purchased a house on the lower part of Ipswich Road.   Both before and after retirement, George was a keen pigeon fancier – a successful pigeon breeder.       He won many prizes, his birds being very successful racers.

1960, 31 Aug: George died at Essex County Hospital, Colchester.


NEXT:  COLCHESTER: Essex County Hospital, Lexden Road

Advertisements