Who remembers the hooded trolley at Thorpe Hospital?

The last line-up of mums to have their babies at Thorpe Maternity Hospital.
The last line-up of mums to have their babies at Thorpe Maternity Hospital.

We were astonished at the response to our story all about Little Thorpe Maternity Hospital.

Echo readers and followers by the thousand followed our story which eventually reached nearly 98,000 people on social media.

Thorpe Maternity Hospital.

Thorpe Maternity Hospital.

And some of you reminded us of the wonderful personal experiences you had, such as going to the delivery room on a trolley with a hood on it.

Many of you told us about your own experience and they included Pamela Howe who said: “My daughter was born there in 1970. I was pushed in the hooded trolley with my newborn from the delivery room to the ward, across the courtyard with snowflakes falling and the moon shining through, magical!

“Then my son was born there in 1974 in a heat wave, staff were great.”

Christine Mortimer Kilner said: “This was a great maternity hospital where mothers and babies were so well looked after.”

My daughter was born there in 1970. I was pushed in the hooded trolley with my newborn from the delivery room to the ward, across the courtyard with snowflakes falling and the moon shining through, magical!

Pamela Howe

Eileen Hassell remembered: “The delivery room was a long way from ward and you were put on a trolley that had a hood, and moved on that.”

Some asked if we knew anything about the last babies to be delivered at Thorpe and here’s a photograph as a reminder. Can you identify any of the people in the picture? We would love to hear from them. Email chris.cordner@jpress.co.uk.

Mums from Easington, Blackhall and Peterlee were among the last group of women to have their babies at Thorpe. It officially closed on September 15, 1986, before it re-opened as a Hartlepool Health Authority geriuatric unit a day later.

Lesley Robson experienced both sides of the Thorpe system. She explained: “I was born there in 1960, then had the opportunity to work there as a midwife before it closed. Lovely happy place, lovely people.”

Susan Briggs had both of her children delivered safely at Thorpe and said: “It should never have been closed. The care was exceptional and homely.”

Jean Wilson commented: “Had my eldest daughter there 65 yrs ago as she was premature. As I remember we were well looked after and it was great.”

Deirdre Jones had both her children at Thorpe in 1978 and 1981. “Lovely nurses,” she said. “Even called my daughter the same name as one nurse. Pity it closed.”

Denise Robinson said: “I had my anti natal appointments there in 94 with my daughter. I’m sure it closed for good just before she was born in the August.”

Gillian McCabe had both here children there and said: “The last one was born just two weeks before it closed. It was a lovely experience with both of them. We were well looked after.”

Lots of you had relatives who worked there, such as Susan Calvert who was both born there and told us that both her and her nana worked there. “ worked there as an auxiliary nurse,” said Susan.

Colin Branthwaite commented: “My mam was a cook there. She became a firm friend of the matron. I can’t remember her name now but I do know she didn’t stand for any nonsense and her standards were very high.”

Colin Lockey said: “I worked at Little Thorpe as a porter from 1970 -1973. The matron was Beatrice Royal followed by Matron Grand or Grant. The cook was Elsie.

“It was a happy hospital. I have very fond memories of my time working there. Part of my job was transferring mothers and their babies from ward 3 to either ward 1 or 2 in the hooded trolley.”

Emma Cassidy Davis had a very different reason to remember Thorpe - as she just missed out on being the last baby born there.

“Maternity ward didn’t accept any patients from midnight on 31.08.1986. My mam rang at 11.45pm and was told she had to go to Sunderland to have me,” said Emma.

Jackie Hopps also missed out on being born at Thorpe but for a different reason. She explained: “I was born in the ambulance ... on the way to Thorpe in 1969.”

And finally, thanks to all those who reminded us of Milly Lancaster - the wonderful nurse who looked after every baby as if they were her own.