Needlework picture marks hospital history
Pauline Wanley (left) with the Westwood Hospital cloth and Barbara Cawood with the framed St Luke’s Hospital embroidery
Every picture tells a story on the walls of the ‘Welcome cuppa’ coffee shop at St Luke’s hospital.
Relics of life at the hospital throughout the years are proudly displayed in the little establishment which can be found in the grounds of the Little Horton complex.
The latest addition to the café, which is run by the hospital’s volunteers, the Friends’ of St Luke’s, is a large piece of framed cloth which includes the embroidered signatures of around 40 staff who worked at the neighbouring Westwood Hospital during the second world war.
It was donated by local woman Pauline Wanley, who found the cloth with her sister Lizzie Lindstrom, when going through her mother, Connie Betts’ possessions following her death last November at the age of 91.
Connie had served as a nurse at St Luke’s, after training there in 1940, later working at Calverley Hospital as a senior night sister before retiring from the NHS in 1980.
Pauline, herself recently retired from the Bradford Royal infirmary where she worked as a financial accountant, said: “My mum started her training at St Luke’s in 1940 but we do not have any recollection of her mentioning that she worked at Westwood Hospital or did any mental health nursing.
“While she was still alive Mum talked about the other piece of framed cloth at the ‘Welcome Cuppa’ which included more than 100 signatures of the nurses she trained with at St Luke’s in 1940 as in those days it seems that was what they did - I suppose it was their version of an autograph book.
“Unfortunately we’ve no idea why she had the Westwood cloth in her possession so it should act as a lesson to everyone out there to remember to ask your relatives about their past while they are still here, as once they are gone, it is lost forever.”
Friends of St Luke’s Hospital chairperson, Barbara Cawood, has placed the cloth donated by Connie’s family in a frame next to the near identical one from St Luke’s which had originally hung in the hospital’s old dining room before it was demolished where it was then placed on the walls of the Welcome Cuppa. The St Luke’s cloth contains more than 100 signatures of nurses who worked at the hospital.
Barbara hailed the latest addition to the wall display as 'unique' and said the framed embroidery on the walls of the café generate much comment and local interest.
She added: "The café is a little bit of St Luke’s history and it is important that people have the opportunity of seeing the hospital in its historical context as it has served the city’s community well over the years.”
Pauline, who visited the café today to see the frame on the wall, said she was delighted that “this little bit of NHS history is there for all to see.”
If you would like to see the framed embroidery for yourself, the Welcome Cuppa is open Monday – Friday from 9am – 4 pm.
The Friends of St Luke’s are always on the look-out for more volunteers so if you have time to spare and would like to support your local hospital, please call voluntary services nurse manager, Chris Heaton, on 01274 364309.