IPSWICH: Heathfield Auxiliary Hospital, Heath Road

HEATHFIELD AUXILIARY HOSPITAL

Heath Road Workhouse Infirmary, Ipswich, Suffolk

Staff & ‘Hospital Blues’ at Heathfield Aux. Hospital, Ipswich. WW1, 4th July 1917. Courtesy/© of Heather Anne Johnson.

Staff & ‘Hospital Blues’ at Heathfield Auxiliary Hospital, Ipswich.  4th July 1917.
Courtesy/© of Heather Anne Johnson.

The 4th July 1917 group photograph shown above bears the following message:

To “Miss M. Richards 94 Spring Rd Ipswich Suffolk

Dearest Millie   I ham sending this Card hoping you will be able to find me somewhere on it but don’t know were.   I have wrote for two more so I can give ma & Nan one.  dear I have not had the other one come, with me and the baby dear   I have just receive Nan Post.C.   will answer it tomorrow so good by with heaps of love & kisses to you    Hoping you will like the Card.  Dear I think I have come out good what do you think of it   From ?Tom xxxxx, xxxxx, xxxx”  (Photographer: ‘Boughtons, Ipswich’ – 24 Buttermarket, Ipswich?)


In 1898-9, a new pavilion-plan workhouse and infirmary were erected on a green field site at the south side of Woodbridge Road.    It was known as ‘Heathfields Poor Law Institution’/‘Heath Road Workhouse and Infirmary’/’The Ipswich Union’/‘Heathfield/s’.    The design of the complex was opened to competition and the winning plans were submitted by Stephen Salter and H Percy Adams with Lister Newcombe.  Building work began in 1896, the builders George Grimwood & Son having contracted a price of £25,773 for the work.    The final cost of the workhouse, which could house a maximum of 369 inmates, was over £30,000.   Acknowledged:  http://www.workhouses.org.uk/Ipswich/

At the outbreak of the First World War, it appears the Ipswich Workhouse Infirmary became ‘Heathfields Auxiliary Hospital’.  It was affiliated to the General Military Hospital in Colchester and it is recorded as holding 112 beds for Other Ranks i.e. it appears not to have received Officers.

In a 1917 list of Home Hospitals under Eastern Command, ‘Heathfield Auxiliary Hospital’ is described as being based in an ‘L. G. B. Infirmary’ – a Local Government Board Infirmary. The infirmary stood at the south of the ‘Heathfields’ workhouse site.

In 1930, the workhouse infirmary became ‘Ipswich Borough General Infirmary’, with the workhouse section continuing as ‘Heathfields Public Assistance Institution’. In 1955, the site became the Heath Road Wing of Ipswich General Hospital. The main workhouse building has been demolished but a few of the other blocks survive.


1917 Christmas Day: Staff & ‘Hospital Blues’, George Ward, Heathfield, Ipswich. Courtesy/© of Heather Anne Johnson

1917 Christmas Day: Staff & ‘Hospital Blues’, George Ward, Heathfield, Ipswich.
Courtesy/© of Heather Anne Johnson.


Christmas Day 1917, Heathfield Aux. Hospital message. Courtesy/© of Heather Anne Johnson.

Christmas Day 1917, Heathfield Aux. Hospital message.
Courtesy/© of Heather Anne Johnson.

Transcription of the Christmas Day 1917 photograph message [sic]:

“2nd Jan: 1918. George Ward, Heathfield Aux. Hosp Woodbridge Road Ipswich

Dear Mr. & Mrs. Appleby  I Have sent you one of the Photos of my ward which was taken on Xmas day.  Glad to say I am getting on fine and begin to feel more like myself again   It is a lovely afternoon here.  The sun is shining lovely.  Hope you spent a nice time at Xmas and New Year’s.  I hope this year will see us through with the war, and we have a little peace.  So will close wishing you both the best of health for 1918   Yours sincerely  Will”


ONLY ONE PERSON  HAS BEEN POSITIVELY IDENTIFIED AS  WORKING AT HEATHFIELDS AUXILIARY HOSPITAL (to date): a British Red Cross card exists for Miss Mabel Jane Holdsworth – the dates in () refer to ‘Heathfields’ service.   It is clearly evident, from all the photographs shown here, that many others did work at the Heathfields Auxiliary Hospital but they remain unknown.

HOLDSWORTH, Miss Mabel Jane (6 months: ?May-Oct. 1917? Nurse)

Mabel was born in 27 December 1893, in Islington, London.   She was baptized on 14 March 1894 at St. Stephen’s church on Canonbury Road, Islington.   Mabel was a daughter of Porter [ex-soldier?) Alfred David Holdsworth and his wife Susannah “Susie” Jane (nee Slack).

Mabel Jane Holdsworth. WW1 Nurse.  Courtesy/© of Heather Anne Johnson.

Mabel Jane Holdsworth. WW1 Nurse. Courtesy/© of Heather Anne Johnson.

https://vad.redcross.org.uk/Card?sname=holdsworth&page=2&id=107884&forwards=true

ADDRESS: 21 Junction Road, Brentwood; PREVIOUS ENGAGEMENT: Heathfields Auxilary {sic} Hospital Ipswich 6/ months); RANK AT ENGAGEMENT: Nurse; DATE OF ENGAGEMENT: 31/10/1917; PAY AT ENGAGEMENT: £20 p an; RANK AT TERMINATION: Nurse; DATE OF TERMINATION: 15/02/1919; PARTICULARS OF DUTIES: Medical, & Surgical, & Head (Linen Section); WHOLE OR PART TIME: Whole; ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: 2nd. General Western Hospital, Greek Street, Stockport, Cheshire Front of card:{Address Chelmsford crossed through; COMMISSION: Essex.

https://vad.redcross.org.uk/Card?sname=holdsworth&page=2&id=107883

ADDRESS: Hackney Schools, Brentwood; COUNTY: Essex; AGE WHEN ENGAGED: 22; SERVICE FROM: 31/10/1917; SERVICE TO: 15/02/1919; PREVIOUS ENGAGEMENT: P.T.O; RANK AT ENGAGEMENT: Nurse; DATE OF ENGAGEMENT: 31/10/1917; PAY AT ENGAGEMENT: With; DATE OF TERMINATION: 15/02/1919; ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: 31.10.17. to 15.2.19 2nd W.Gen: Stockport Section. Manchester; DEPARTMENT: J W V.A.D; COMMISSION: Essex Reserve.

One Mabel J. Holdsworth married one Charles John Cranwell in the Registration District of Epping, during the 4th Quarter of 1930.

If Mabel did marry Charles Cranwell, the two of them were found living at 83 Staples Road in Chigwell in 1939 (1939 Register entries).  Mabel’s birth date was given as 27 December 1894, and not 1893 … but her occupation was given “Late Hospital Nurse.  Unpaid Domestic Duties”. Charles’ occupation was noted as “Chauffeur Mechanic”.

The death of one Mabel J. Cranwell was registered “June 1965” in the Registration District of Epping.


Staff & ‘Hospital Blues’. Heathfield Auxiliary Hospital, Ipswich. Hand dated 13 September 1918. Courtesy/© of Heather Anne Johnson

Staff & ‘Hospital Blues’. Heathfield Auxiliary Hospital, Ipswich.
Hand dated 13 September 1918. Courtesy/© of Heather Anne Johnson.


It is wondered whether the following lady, Mrs. Jennie Combey Richardson,  also worked at Heathfields Auxiliary Hospital – given that she was living on the site:

RICHARDSON, Mrs. Jennie Combey (19.4.1918-15.10.1918. “T.N. Dept.”  Trained Nurse)

This is Jane “Jennie” Richardson (nee Combey), born on 1 December 1886 Burnmoor in County Durham.  She was the daughter of Durham-born Coal Miner/Stonemason and his wife Cumberland-born wife Jane (nee Cairns).

1891 Census:      43 Burnmoor, County Durham. With Coal Miner father; mother; older sister Mary; Coal Miner brother John; and younger siblings Hannah and Matthew.

1901 Census:      Bourne Moor, County Durham.  With Coal Miner/Stonemason father; mother and siblings Hannah and Matthew.

1911 Census:      64 Poplar Street, South Moor, Durham. Jane was a “Visitor” at the home of her sister Mary and her husband/family – widowed mother Jane Combey was living with the family.  Jane’s occupation was “Hospital Nurse”.

In 1913, Jennie married James Richardson.  The marriage was registered in the Registration District of Lanchester, County Durham.

https://vad.redcross.org.uk/Card?sname=richardson&page=16&id=175009

ADDRESS: Heathfield Aux. Hospital, Lattice Barn, Ipswich; AGE WHEN ENGAGED: 32; SERVICE FROM: 19/04/1918; SERVICE TO: 15/10/1918; RANK AT ENGAGEMENT: T.N; DATE OF ENGAGEMENT: 19/04/1918; DATE OF TERMINATION: 15/10/1918; DEPARTMENT: T.N. Dept; COMMISSION: T. N. Dept.

1939 Register:    133 Church Street North, Sunderland.  Living with husband James (“Ships Steward”).  The personal occupation for “Jane” was “Unpaid domestic duties”.

Jennie died on 12 June 1962, in Blackpool, Lancashire.


NEXT: IPSWICH: East Suffolk & Ipswich General Hospital

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