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					                            Snapshot of 1936
Taken from:
  The Marlborough Times and Wilts, Berks & Hants County Paper

January 3rd
A Munificent Gift
Lord Nuffield has given £1000 to the Hospital in recognition of the good work
done by the Hospital, particularly the orthopaedic work, and the progressive
step taken in building of the new theatre block.

This sum, together with the money already given or promised, in answer to
the recent appeal amount to over £1,500, so that the whole sum then asked
for is forthcoming.

January 17th
Tin foil sales realise £100
It is just nine years since Miss Ida Jeans first began the systematic collection
of tin foil for Savernake Hospital and the total amount raised by its sale has
just reached the sum of £100.

The committee feel very grateful to Miss Jeans for all the trouble she has
taken in the matter and also to the very large number of people that have
joined in the collection. The price of tinfoil is reported to be steadily going
up, and this fact together with the large sum already produced should be an
encouragement to the public to preserve in the collection of this waste
product, which can be made so useful.

January 24th
Death of King George V reported

February 7th
Wireless for Savernake Hospital
Headphone for every bed
The fund raised by the News Chronicle in co-operation with the Radio
Manufacturers Association, has undertaken the great work of installing
wireless, free of charge, in every hospital in England for the use of patients.
In raising the very large sum required, the promoters have had the ready
help of a large number of theatrical and radio stars who have given their
services in charity performances and the general public are also subscribing

The fund will shortly be installing wireless at Savernake Hospital, complete
with headphones for every bed. It is easy to imagine what a boon this will be
to the patients. Last Friday Colonel G F W Briller, representing the technical
committee, visited Savernake Hospital, where in consultation with the Matron
and Hon. Secretary, he made all the necessary arrangements for the work to

be put in hand. The previous day he had visited St. Thomas’s hospital
London for the same purpose.

The committee of Savernake Hospital feel truly very grateful for this
magnificent gift.

February 21st
The late Mr Herbert Leaf had a beautifully detailed and very long obituary.
It was noted what a courteous and genial man Mr Leaf had been during his
lifetime. He was welcome wherever he went and obviously tackled any task
he undertook with great enthusiasm and zeal. He was honoured by
Marlborough College where he had served for thirty years as Assistant Master
and Master. On the Subject of Savernake Hospital the report says;

“It is well known that one of Mr Leafs main interests was Savernake Hospital.
He became Chairman in 1905, in succession to Sir Godfrey Lushington when it
was a small Cottage Hospital and ably assisted by the late Dr Haydon and
others, watched over its growth to its present size and usefulness. He was
most generous in his help to the hospital, but he was always averse to any
public mention of his gifts. It would be contrary to his wishes to enumerate
them now. His wise guidance of the affairs of the hospital was of even
greater value. To the great regret of the committee he resigned the
Chairmanship in 1929 feeling that he was no longer equal to the discharge of
its duties but he continued to serve on all the hospital sub-committees and
was regular in his attendance and as wise as ever in counsel. His work will
long and gratefully be remembered.

March 6th
Chairman’s comments prior to meeting of Savernake Hospital
Before we begin the business of the afternoon, I would like to say a few
words about the great loss the hospital has suffered through the death of Mr
Leaf. As they all knew, Mr Leaf was a man with many interests, he was a
scholar, a sportsman and a very keen politician, especially in the good old
days of Liberalism, but he (the Chairman) thought what Mr Leaf cared for
most in his life was helping other people, not only the poor (though the poor
were his first claim) but all those he came across in every walk of life, and
nothing was nearer to his heart than the interests of Savernake Hospital.

It was forty years since he first joined the hospital committee, he was
Chairman from 1906 onwards. He did not think that in those days there was
a Chairman of the hospital – as far as he could discover, a Chairman was
elected for each meeting, but Mr Leaf was always there and his capacity was
recognised in the very early days so that he became what he might call the
natural Chairman of the hospital.

Ever since Mr Leaf had served the hospital in all sorts of ways, he had been
as they knew more generous in his support but he never liked to be thanked

for anything that he did and he (the Chairman) would not be doing what Mr
Leaf would wish if he enlarged on that particular part of his work. His
generosity was not the biggest part of his work, but his love of the hospital
and his interest in the management of its affairs.

March 27th
Big donations to Savernake Hospital and the Nursing Association.
It was reported how successful the Ramsbury Hospital Week had been.
The Hon Treasurer, Mr Frank Rushen, then gave his statement of accounts
and read a letters of thanks from the Hon Sec of Savernake Hospital and the
Nursing Association, for the kind contributions from the effort, one hundred
guineas had been paid over to Savernake Hospital and thirty five guineas to
the Nursing Association.
HOWEVER in a further report that week;
There was another plea as the income for Savernake Hospital still gave cause
for anxiety. There was a need for more subscribers and a statement of
accounts was printed.

April 3rd
There was a correction, explanation and deep apology in the form of a Letter
to the Ed from Alfred Joyce Watson (Hon Sec Savernake Hosp) as Ramsbury
had not given the £90, as reported, but £105.

April 10th
Hungerford Appeal for Eastertide Egg Collection for Savernake Hospital.
Indeed, throughout the paper, week after week there are events, carnivals,
plays, musical happenings and gifts to the hospital noted from all over East
Wiltshire and West Berkshire. The gifts of garden produce, linen, flowers,
rabbits, pheasants etc were listed every week along with the number of in-
patients and the doctors who were on duty. The reporting and fundraising
was non-stop and carried out with a huge amount of attention to detail and

On April 17th the fundraising went nationwide following a Radio Broadcast
by the Earl of Cardigan and a week after the event the amount stood at
£134. Contributions had come in the form of everything from a 6d bit from
Scotland, to larger donations of £5 from as far away as Cornwall. By April
24th the total had risen to just on £1000. An extraordinary cheque had been
received for £777 from Lieutenant General Krishna Shum Shere – the address
of whom had not been disclosed. Over 300 replies had been received
altogether along with some very touching letters. By May 3rd the total was

July 3rd
Presentation of the New Equipment
The wireless equipment which has been provided for the Savernake Hospital
by the News Chronicle in co-operation with the Radio Manufacturers
Association, was formerly handed over to the hospital committee on

Wednesday. The apparatus consists of an 8 valve set weighing 3 cwts with
91 headphones and 6 loudspeakers. Headphones are connected to every bed
where there are adult patients and the loudspeakers are installed in the
children’s ward, the Matron’s sitting room, the Nurses Home and the maid’s
sitting room, while one is fitted near the set in the basement for tuning
purposes. If necessary the set can be adapted for use as a radiogram. The
Head Porter has charge of the set which is tuned to the National Programme
from 10.15am to 9.30pm daily.

The handing over ceremony was performed by Col EFW Barker (member of
the technical committee of the wireless fund) in the presence of numerous
members of the hospital committee, Matron (Miss E R Lavintgon) and
representatives of the medical, nursing and outdoor staff.

In asking Mr H Savery (Chairman of the hospital committee) to accept the
gift, Col Barker said that tenders were being accepted to supply with wireless
all voluntary hospitals in the United Kingdom which had over fifty beds. They
were on the last lap of completing the work in connection with the smaller
hospitals but they still wanted money, because they were going to turn their
attention to hospitals which were in possession of dilapidated sets.

Usual thanks were given, then it was said;
The Matron had never been famed for getting rid of patients quickly but she
would have her work doubled in the future in that respect.

Dr WB Maurice said that wireless was a great boon to invalids for it helped
them to forget about their troubles.

August 7th
Death During an Operation.
Axford man dies at Savernake
Mr A L Forrester (Wiltshire County Coroner) held an inquest at Savernake
Hospital yesterday, concerning the death of George Whitbread, aged 66, an
agricultural labourer of Axford. Dr Jim Maurice stated that Whitbread was
admitted to hospital on the previous day and his condition was such that an
immediate surgical operation was necessary.

He (the doctor) gave the anaesthetic for an operation by Dr Donald Wilson.
When the operation was nearly over, it was noticed that the patient had
stopped breathing. Artificial respiration and other forms of treatment were
tried, but without effect.

Dr Thornton, county pathologist, gave evidence as to performing a post
mortem examination. It was found that the man suffered from hernia, and
he heart was in very poor condition. In fact, his heart was in such a state
that he might have died at any time. The anaesthetic given was the correct
one and properly administered , and the operation itself was skilfully carried
out. A verdict that the death was due to heart failure was returned.

Nothing changes……..

August 14th Letter to the Ed
A disgrace;

Dear Sir
I am not the (as some people think) the writer of the letter in the last issue of
the county paper “A townsman” drawing attention to the disgraceful state of
the pathway through St Mary’s Churchyard after a so called dance. I thank
him very much for his letter but would point out that the condition of the
pathway was created during the dance, as was also much of the noise and
chattering which proceeded from the archway and churchyard, by those who
spend more time there than in the dance hall. They would find the air much
more refreshing up in the Common rather than under people’s bedroom
windows, who are anxious for a restful night.

I collected many empty bottles which were dumped into the dustbin, but wish
now that I had taken them back and claimed twopence on each bottle; it
would have meant a shilling or so for Savernake Hospital. All the effort
needed to put a stop to a great deal of the trouble, would be for the Town
Council to make necessary arrangements for the electric light situated
through the archway to be switched on whilst dances are on.

I am
Yours faithfully
AJ Davis
46 Kingsbury Street

September 11th
Modern Hospital Expenses Pre-Anaesthetic Operations
To the Editor

Dear Sir
Your Ramsbury correspondent made me out to be somewhat more antique
than I really am, in his report of my remarks at the United Service for the
Ramsbury Hospital week, which you published last week. I did not say that I
was old enough to remember my grandfather’s operations by the roadside.
What I said was, that I was old enough to have met people who had seen
them. I was drawing a comparison between the relative simplicity and small
cost of operations such as were done in those days and the costliness of
modern operations.

Perhaps it would interest some of your readers and incidentally make them
realise the needs of the hospital in these days if I give the details. I was told
by one eye witness, Mr Phelps of Ramsbury, how there had been an accident
to a Waggoner at the foot of the White Hill, at Ramsbury. The man had his

leg badly crushed. Mr Phelps told me he had seen my Grandfather arrive on
horseback, with his instruments, give the patient a dose of laudanum
(tincture of opium) and some brandy and after a suitable interval proceed to
rapidly amputate the limb.

The operation as was usual and necessary in those days was done with great
rapidity and dexterity, not quite the messy sawing off that your correspondent
described. The sawing was a very small part of the operation. The patient
was then packed off to his home.

I was told of a very similar incident on the London Road in Marlborough, close
to the Roebuck Inn. This was told me by old Mr Blake who lived nearby. The
description of what took place was almost identical, except this time it was an

Operations in those days were rare events and amputations were the most
common. In pre-antiseptic days it was generally hopeless to try to save many
a limb which would now be saved. Even at the time when I witnessed my
first operation at Savernake Hospital, within a few weeks of my leaving
school, operations were quite an event. They were generally done on a
Sunday morning and all the staff assembled for the occasion. There was, of
course, an exception for emergencies, but many an emergency which we
would deal with today, was then considered to be beyond the reach of the
surgeon and left to the physician to do his best for. The anaesthetic was
usually Chloroform, administered on a piece of lint, sometimes ether.

Now the up to date anaesthetic apparatus costs about £80 - £100 and the gas
and oxygen etc, costs large sums annually. Instead of an occasional Sunday
operation, there are many nearly every day. These and the endless dressings
and all sorts of apparatus for sundry purposes, mount up expenses in a way
that would not have been dreamed of 40 or 50 years ago.

The number of patients in the hospital at the end of the war (this would be
First World War 1914-18) was usually about 25, now never less than 100. The
public who benefit by all of this, must not be dismayed, if we keep, like Oliver
Twist, asking for more. I hope their response will be generous as usual and
that our hospital will be able for many years, to carry on, on the voluntary
basis, to save from becoming a soulless State Institution.
Yours faithfully
W B Maurice
Lloran House

October 9th
Serious Accident to Mr Harry New
Fall from Lorry on to Concrete Floor at his Farm at Hungerford
A wide circle of friends will hear with regret the news of the accident
sustained by Mr Harry New of New Hayward Farm, Hungerford at his home

on Monday afternoon. It appears that a motor lorry was standing in his barn
and from it meal was being unloaded. Mr New was on the top of the load
assisting with the work and fell backwards on to the concrete floor.

He was unconscious and Dr James of Hungerford, who was giving evidence in
the local Police Court at the time, was immediately summoned. He ordered
his removal to Savernake Hospital. It was found that he was suffering from
concussion, but it was stated that it would be some time before it would be
possible to undertake an X-ray examination to ascertain the extent of the

Mr New is a very popular figure in the Hungerford district where he takes a
very active part in public life. He is Chairman of the Newbury Branch of the
National Farmers Union, Vice Chairman of the Hungerford Rural District
Council and a member of the Hungerford Parish Council.

Ill luck in the matter of injuries seems to have come his way of late years, for
it was only some few weeks ago that he sustained an eye injury, whilst some
time back he was involved in an accident with his horse and milk float
resulting in damage to his foot. His many friends will extend sympathy to him
in his present misfortune and they will all concur in the hope that he will soon
be restored to health. On enquiry at Savernake Hospital (this Friday morning)
we were informed that he was suffering very severe concussion and was
improving slowly.

October 23rd
Look for the Blue Label and help the Savernake Hospital
Help Yourself Annuals
The Help Yourself Annuals are again on sale in the district – Hungerford,
Pewsey and Marlborough and the intermediate villages in aid of Savernake
Hospital. The cost of the annuals is 2/6d and approximately 1/8d goes to
Savernake. During the past two years about £73 has been paid to the
hospital in this way. Impending purchasers who would wish to help
Savernake, and we know all people will, must look out for the copies bearing
the blue label with the words “Savernake Hospital Copy”, as the proceeds
from the sale of ordinary copies go to the general fund and not to the local
hospital in particular.

A glance at the 1936 number, convinces one of its’ remarkable value. This
year the Annual contains a number of radical changes, each of which is
designed to attract a vast number of new subscribers. There are ten short
stories by local well known authors. (these were listed)

There are four big, free, simple and amusing competitions, each
with a first prize of a Davis built freehold house, value £635, to say
nothing of motor cars and valuable suites of furniture, the total
value of the prizes amounting to over £6,500.

A special feature this year is the introduction of the Help Yourself £1000
scholarship competition. This competition is open to all children of all classes
and takes the form of the payment of educational grants with two first prizes
of £200, one for the boys and one for the girls. In addition there are special
competitions for girls, Boy Scouts, Girl Guides and Rovers.

October 30th
Tin Foil for Savernake Hospital
The Collection Hon Sec. Writes “ Will anyone who has a collection of tinfoil,
kindly send it to the Royal Oak, Marlborough, within the next fortnight as it is
hoped to send away a further instalment at the end of that time. All silver
paper from chocolates, cigarettes, oranges, aluminium paper, utensils, all lead
toys, milk bottle lead tops (now in use), piping etc, lead from tea chests are
required to help the hospital, so please send at once.

November 13th
Marlborough’s Mayoral Banquet
A Memorable Function
Bright Oratory of 25 Speeches

……. It was reported that “some of the speeches were short, others were
longer, but in all cases they were entertaining and they were appropriate.”

It fell to Sir Percy Hurd MP to propose the toast for Savernake Hospital. He
and his wife, Lady Hurd, had come straight from a similar banquet in Devizes.
He commented what a pleasure it was to propose the toast to what might be
called their own institution. It was his duty and pleasure to move about a
great deal in that widely scattered division, East Wiltshire and wherever he
went he found the name of Savernake Hospital mentioned with gratitude and
affection. He was sure that they in Marlborough and all of them in East Wilts
owed a great deal to that hospital. There was something peculiar about
Savernake Hospital that enlisted the kindly feeling of all who had anything to
do with it.

In his reply, Mr EFC Trench, Chairman of Savernake Hospital, which now cost
around £12,000 per year to run, called it …….

not so much an institution as a friendly home………….

He said their thanks were due to the admirable medical staff and to
the nursing staff, led by their incomparable Matron, Miss Lavington.
It was a home to which sick people came with a sigh of relief and
left, when they were cured, with a sigh of regret.

                                                  Researched by Val Compton


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