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Rusholme Military Hospitals, 1914 - 1918

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BerichtGeplaatst: 21 Feb 2012 8:53    Onderwerp: Rusholme Military Hospitals, 1914 - 1918 Reageer met quote

Rusholme Military Hospitals, 1914 - 1918

Strange friendí I said, Ďhere is no cause to mourní
ĎNoneí said the other, Ďsave the undone years, the hopelessnessí

Words from ĎStrange Meetingí by Wilfred Owen.

When WW1 started in 1914 the 2nd Western General Hospital was established in Manchester where its HQ was Central High School for Boys, Whitworth Street. Initially 520 beds were provided at this site but during the duration of the war a total of 25,000 beds came under the one command. This huge number of hospital beds were scattered throughout Manchester and surrounding towns, becoming the largest military hospital in the UK.

It is hard to imagine in the absence of a National Health Service how so many injured service-men could be effectively managed.
Prior to the 1st World War the greatest number of casualties returned to Britain, 21,157 were from fighting in South Africa during 1899-1902. In 1916 523,153 casualties had been returned to Great Britain from the slaughter on the Somme.

There had been a review of the Army Medical services in 1907 and from that a voluntary service, the British Red Cross and St Johns Ambulance constituted a Home Hospital Reserve, whilst the members of the Royal Army Medical Corps went overseas to work in the front line.
In Manchester the Government had requisitioned a number of public buildings, generally schools, to be used as emergency hospitals. In Rusholme, this included Heald Place School, the recently opened Elizabeth Gaskell School of Domestic Economy on the edge of Victoria Park, and alongside Whitworth Park, Ducie Avenue Boys School. In Victoria Park, Newbury, one of the large houses on Daisy Bank Road was opened by the Rusholme Division of the Red Cross providing some 70 beds.

Later in 1916 the Red Cross purchased Grangethorpe, the large mansion on the southern edge of Platt Fields where six wards, an operating block, gymnasium, nurseís accommodation and rehabilitation workshops were built in the gardens. In what had been part of the grounds of The Firs, the mansion built by Sir Joseph Whitworth off of Oak Drive, Fallowfield, over 1000 beds were under canvas! On Wilbraham Road in Fallowfield another large house, Fairview was acquired by the Red Cross and used as a hospital with initially 20 beds although eventually 36 beds were provided.

A letter to the Guardian in November 1914 illustrates the voluntary nature of these Red Cross auxiliary hospitals. Lady Donner of Oak Drive in Fallowfield was the chair of the Fallowfield Red Cross branch and her letter appealed for any suitable materials for the Fairview hospital, viz;

'As we earnestly desire the hospital to be suitably equipped and adequately maintained, we appeal to the charitable public for donations of money, and especially the following articles:ó
1. Surgical dressings, including lint, cotton wool, gauze, jaeconet, and bandages.
2. Enamelled ware - suitable for dressing and nursing- purposes.
3. Bed-rests, rubber water-bottles, wheel chairs. Bath-chair.
4. An operating-table.
5. Hospital suits, bedroom slippers, and pocket-handkerchiefs.
6. Brushes and combs, sponges, nail brushes tooth brushes, tooth paste or powder, and soap.
7. Tobacco, pipes, cigarettes, newspapers, illustrated magazines, chocolate, fruit, etc.
8. All foodstuffs.
Cheques and money will be gratefully acknowledged by the hon. treasurer, Fern Lea Wilmslow Road. Fallowfield, and any of the above articles will be received by Quartermaster Renshaw at the hospital

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