Nurses' Home - History

The Nurses' Home seen here opened in 1926 on the north east of the sanatorium site to accommodate 70 nurses and maids and would have very quickly become their home. The nurses did not get long periods of time off and so would not have returned home to see their families all that often, once a week at the most. The Home was quite large and modern and would have been very different to what most of the nurses were used to. It had a beautiful entrance hall with a phone booth in the corner, the dining room to the right and a small sitting room for the senior nurses on the left. In addition there was a large room used by the student nurses for dances and tennis courts behind the building.

Margaret Shotton, a participant in the 2013 oral history project 'The Voices of Stannington Sanatorium', recounts some of her memories there in the 1950s:

"There was a close liaison with Acklington RAF Camp, the Sergeants' Mess there, so buses went to Acklington and they had dances there. Quite a few nurses married RAF men that they met there."

"It was lovely at Christmas, I remember my first Christmas because we all went down the entrance to the hospital grounds, there were the engineers' houses that lived on the premises, and we all walked down there singing carols with our capes on."

The size of the nurses' home built in 1926 demonstrates how much the sanatorium had expanded in comparison to its early days. The 1911 census shows that there were only 3 nurses resident at the sanatorium in addition to the matron, Miss Davina Wilson from Musselburgh, and the assistant matron, Miss Constance Hodges, who was from Richmond in Surrey. The three nurses were Norah Foster, Frances Joy Gilmore, and Isabella Minto Campbell who went on to become Stannington's long-serving matron.


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