Wool, Wiltshire and All Manner of Wonderful Things!

Posts tagged ‘Ryedale’

The Old Children’s Orthopaedic Hospital- Kirkbymoorside

A couple of Fridays ago when I was nattering away I mentioned the Repair Cafe I am part of in Kirkbymoorside. Andrea left me the following comment which really intrigued me.

“I was thrilled to see you mention Kirbymoorside. My grandmother used to work at the old children’s orthopaedic hospital there in the early 1930s – she was very proud of being ‘Matron’s maid’! She and my Grandad emigrated to New Zealand in the later 1950s – and here I am!
Is the hospital building still there?”

Now I have lived in the area and been a regular visitor all my life to Kirkbymoorside. My Dad had an office there, and my brother and I loved visiting him. He had a rather marvellous desk called a partners desk, whereby two people could sit either side of a desk with shared leg space underneath. It was a great game to hide there. Totally digressing here. The point is I had never heard of the hospital, and Kirkby as people usually call the town is small. Population between 3000 and 4000 people. Not big.

But I vaguely recalled seeing a booklet for sale on a children’s hospital.

Flurry of emails between myself and Andrea, some googling and an exchange of emails with the Kirkbymoorside history group, and bingo, I know exactly where the hospital site was. I was there just the week before at a rather interesting talk, on beggars in the 19 century and their appearances at the Quarter sessions.

This is the remains of the entrance to the Yorkshire Children’s Orthopaedic Hospital. Originally know as the Hospital for Crippled Children and later known as the Adela Shaw hospital.

I found the booklet for sale in a charity shop for Distressed Children in the Market Place.

Information Board at the Entrance Gates.

Adela Shaw had a privileged background, coming from and marrying into a wealthy family. But she put this to good use. Her first involvement with hospitals was near her home at Welburn Hall, a couple of miles from Kirkby, and the creation of a cottage hospital on land nearby. It is now been changed into two semi-detached houses, but is clearly recognisable. Dad always told me it was a fever hospital. He was nearly correct. It was used for people recovering from surgical procedures not infectious illnesses. He had it the wrong way round.

Adela Shaw was then instrumental in creating a hospital for injured soldiers in the First World War in Kirkby itself.

In 1924 an urgent need was identified to treat children who suffered from surgical TB, rickets and Polio.  These children could with the right care and treatment could be helped to lead full and independent adult lives. The idea was to provide medical and education on one site.

The wooden huts used for the injured soldiers were no longer needed, there was the perfect site. So you can now imagine lots of fund-raising, building , hiring of staff etc etc.

This clubhouse/hall formerly the British Legion Hall is sited on the old Ward 4 building. Gardens have been created on some of the site.

And housing on the rest of the site.

Andrea’s Grandmother joined a small group of girls coming from Hetton -le -Hole, Sunderland.( Not to be confused with the nearby village of Hutton-le-Hole, which I did for a bit, silly me). Now Sunderland is quite a distance from Kirkby, and I wonder why and how this came about? Andrea’s Gran Ethel was just 14 and only permitted by her parents to leave home because she was with a group of older girls.

I was thrilled when I found mention of a Tilly Anderson in the booklet, coming from Hetton-le Hole in 1926 as a nurse , one of those first employed in the hospital. She met and married a local chap called Frank Simpson. Tilly will have known Ethel.

The committee minute books are available to be seen at the County Records office. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Ethel had a mention?

You can read a bit more for yourself if you like here or see for yourself in this video. The gentleman speaking is  a former patient from the 1960s, but the pictures on the video date from the 1920s onwards.

His account is very moving I thought.

I want to thank Andrea for first of all commenting on my blog and pointing me towards a fascinating part of local history. It would take five minutes to walk from the hospital to my Dad’s office. How can I not have known? Secondly to thank her for giving me permission to share her Grandmother’s memories.

I thoroughly enjoyed doing this bit of research , blogging is amazing isn’t it, you just don’t know what might turn up next.




Time for another exploration of a Ryedale village. Once upon a time, there was a large Lake which covered the Vale of Pickering. On its shores lived Neolithic man. As the lake dried up, little communities grew and grew into the villages and towns we can visit today. Sinnington certainly dates back to Saxon times. How do we know any of this? In nearby fields ancient burial sites and flint tools have been found, and if you visit the Norman Church in Sinnington, the walls reuse stone work from an earlier Saxon church. The Normans came to England in 1066, The Romans  were here until around 200 AD, then came the Saxons. We are talking a long time ago.

Right let’s go.

A little lane takes you up a slight hill to the outskirts of the village. To the Church.

All Saints Church has an idyllic setting. See the large stone to the left of the footpath.

That’s a rather unusual war memorial to the poor chaps who died in the trenches during the First World War. Behind the stone to the right , and you can see this better in the previous picture, is a blocked in doorway.

Re-using carved stones from a much earlier building.

This fragment has been used to repair a window frame inside the church.

This cross on the South side outside.

Back inside you can see the font and behind that the filled in doorway. There used to be a Minstrels Gallery above the door where musicians would sit to accompany the congregation in worship.

Outside I sat a while on the bench and thought Big Things, well actually I just enjoyed the sunshine and thought about weddings, skirts and zips, which amounts to Big Things at the moment. How lucky am I that these are the Big Things!

It was great to go to Greece last month but it did mean that some of the ideas I had for 30 Days Wild  went by the wayside. One of them was to visit a Churchyard and enjoy a wild area.

Hurrah look at these, positively buzzing with bees. On with the stroll..

Past this bench on the roadside. A father and two sons who were all Church wardens here.

Up the lane,

where my eye was caught by this building. You can’t see it so well from this picture but it struck me as most unusual. Research has since told me this was tithe barn ( now a listed building) , used to store the produce which was rent for fields to the powers that be ( ie the church probably). Before that it might have been an earlier chapel to St Michael. Clearly something quite big was going on here back in the day, but records that exist apparently don’t throw much light, the Doomsday Book and the dissolution of the monasteries records do not show any religions community here. A mystery for someone to solve still.

Onward round the bend… haha! To the front of the Tythe Barn

That’s the house I’d have in this village. Look at their view.

Maybe you would prefer the Hall?

Time to head back to the village.

The Village Hall where the preschool meets. The Maypole with  a fox on top round which the school children dance on May-day, and a bridge over what exactly? No-one knows but it is thought to be a pack bridge over which pack horses would go. Possibly a river once upon a time? There was once a market held weekly in the village on a Monday, long since gone, just over 200 inhabitants now.

The river as you can see is nowhere near this bridge but on the far side of the road.

That’s the current bridge over the river.

The river floods from time to time. The villagers recently cleaned out the beck/river to help prevent this.

I loved these pigs guarding a door and

these two planters, but where are the plants?

Right time for some work. My favourite place to go fruit picking.

Strawberry Fields. Sadly the strawberries were wrecked by rain and none to be had till the end of the month. But lots of lovely


Hot and bothered now, time for some refreshment? Pub anyone?

I hope you enjoyed today’s walk round another Ryedale village. Look forward to taking you another one soon. Meantime I hope you have chance to enjoy some fresh air in an equally lovely place this weekend.

Just before I go here’s what another blogger Mrs Betimus wrote about her recent visit to Pickering.







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