Object of the Month - February 2015
During Amersham Hospital renovations a local resident made a lucky find of an album compiled by a Nurse Narraway giving a photographic record of Shardeloes Wartime Maternity Hospital 1939 – 1948. After the start of the devastating bombing of the East End of London many pregnant women were evacuated to the safety of Shardeloes and other country houses. Given just under a day to prepare staff at Shardeloes converted the drawing room into a ward and the library to a medical store and office. The album movingly captures life at the hospital with photographs of both the mothers and babies and the nursing and domestic staff under the overall charge of Dr Beatrice Turner, a London Consultant Obstetrician. Also included are various letters and songs from Christmas reviews with specially written lyrics.
In December 1945 Dr Turner announced that they were not able to hand back Shardeloes immediately to the owners but presented Mrs Tyrwhitt-Drake with a “token house – a miniature model ‘Wendy’ house packed full of the love of the 3,900 babies who had been born at Shardeloes.” It continued to serve the local community until 1948 raising the total of births to over 5,000.
The Museum has been able to make copies of this collection and is planning to include them in its exhibition on Amersham in the 1940’s later this year. We would welcome any personal recollections or family stories from this period: http://amershamhistory.info/shardeloes/