Wardown V.A.D Hospital First Annual General Meeting

Event date

7th February 1917

Media files and documents

Luton ward


Museum Collection , 3rd July 2014

Source Date

2014-07-03 00:00:00
Entity info.

WARDOWN V.A.D. HOSPITAL. (Voluntary Aid Detachment)

First Annual General Meeting. Splendid Organisation.

The first annual general meeting of the Wardown V.A.D. Hospital was held at Wardown on Wednesday week, the following members of the various committees being present:

Mr. Anthony Cumberland (Chairman of the General Committee)

House Committee.

  • Mr. F. W. Plummer (Chairman),
  • Mrs. J. W. Green, Mrs. Durler (Commandants),
  • Mr. F. E. Shoosmith,
  • Dr. F. Seymour Lloyd,
  • Mr. S. Hubbard

Finance Committee,

  • Mr. R. E. Tomson (Hon. Treasurer)
  • Mr. B. T. Crew (Hon. Auditor)
  • Mr. K. Brown

Ambulance Committee

  • Mr. V. Allen (Chairman)
  • Mr. H. E. Deacon
  • Mr. Arthur Strange (Hon. Sec).


The following report of the work of the Hospital during the year was read by Dr. F. Seymour Lloyd, a detailed report of which will shortly be published in book form, and a copy will be sent to all subscribers.

“ The Mansion in Wardown Park was first opened as a Hospital in October, 1914, by the North Midland Division for the reception of their sick, under the care of a trained Sister and a staff of local V.A.D. nurses, the Military Medical Officers undertaking all the medical attendance.

“ On the departure of the North Midland Brigade, the building was taken over on November 17 th, 1915, by the Bedfordshire Voluntary Aid Detachments of the British Red Cross. Society, No. 12 and No. 14, as a hospital for the reception both of wounded from the active fronts, and of sick from troops billeted locally. After a fortnight spent in cleaning, repairing, and whitewashing, the first patient was admitted on December 1st, 1915, since which, date the hospital has never lacked patients.

" The Hospital provides accommodation for 65 patients. On the ground floor are situated three large, well-lighted wards, one of which communicates with a wooden annexe, capable of accommodating 20 patients, built by the Military during their period of occupation. On this floor are also an excellent Operating Theatre replete with up-to-date fittings, including folding operating table, high pressure steam sterilizer for dressings, and wash-basins with elbow swing taps; a Pack Store for the bestowal of the patients’ belongings and kits; kitchens, pantries, and other offices, and a large Recreation Room.

“ On the next floor are three smaller wards, commanding pleasant outlooks over the park; an isolation ward for two beds; bathrooms for staff and patients; rooms for the matron and nurses; and offices for the Commandants and Secretary. A few rooms are available on the top floor, but are not used on account of their inaccessibility.

“ Wounded soldiers are sent to Wardown from the 1st Eastern General Hospital, Cambrige,- to which it is affiliated -and sick are admitted from the Artillery Training School and other units in the town.

“ From December 1st, 1915, to December 1st, 1916. 873 patients'; were admitted, while the total number admitted from the former date to December 31st, 1916, amounted to 973. During this period, numerous minor operations were performed, and several serious cases came under treatment, amongst which were 13 cases of pneumonia. No death occurred in the institution up to the end of the year 1916, a striking testimony to the attentions of the nursing and medical staffs. The average stay of a patient in Wardown is 10 days.

“ Cases requiring major operations are sent to either the Bute Hospital in the town, or

the 1st Eastern General Hospital, Cambridge, according to their nature and urgency. X Ray examinations are made at the Bute Hospital.

“ The Staff includes two trained nurses,— one taking day, and one night duty.—the remaining help being voluntary. Twelve V.A.D. nurses are on duty daily, with five cooks, and three General Service members, all of whom give their services voluntarily. A feature of the management calling for special attention is the Commissariat, the food being, liberal in quantity, freely varied in nature, and most excellently cooked and served.

“ In this department our V.A.D. cooks and general service members are indefatigable; their services are certainly appreciated to the full by the patients.

The Pack Store is under the charge of two Quartermasters, who collect the kit and effects of every patient on admission, and duly ticket and store them until he receives his discharge,

“ The Recreation Room on the ground floor is furnished with comfortable chairs, writing and card tables, indoor games, a small library, and an excellent bagatelle table. A second bagatelle table is placed on the first floor landing.

“ In the Entrance Hall and in each ward hangs a table of rules and regulations, to which patients are expected to conform during their stay in hospital.

“ Elaborate precautions have been taken against the possibility of an outbreak of .fire, and the nurses have been, periodically drilled under the direction of Chief Officer Andrew, of the Luton Fire Brigade, to whom special thanks are due. That his tuition has been of service was abundantly proved quite recently by the prompt suppression of what might otherwise have developed into a serious outbreak.

The hospital has been visited and approved by the A.D.M.S. cf the Bedford District, and inspections have been made by Lt.-Col. Daly, and Lt.-Col. Ponton, D.S.O.

“ The House Committee meets fortnightly in, the hospital under the able Chairmanship of’ Mr. F. W. Plummer, when any difficulties in" administration are discussed and dealt with.

“No effort is spared to make the patients as happy and comfortable as possible during their stay. Residents and the management and employees of local firms, vie with each other in offering hospitality, in the form of entertainments and teas, while whist drives and other competitions and concerts are repeatedly held in the hospital. In these functions many talented artists and amateurs take part to the great enjoyment of their audiences, The management of the Palace and Grand Theatres not only place seats at the disposal of the patients week by week, but entertain them lavishly to refreshments and smokes after the performance, for all of which we heartily thank them.

“ Special mention must be made of the Christmas festivities. The wards were tastefully decorated by the nurses and patients, and the Christmas dinner — at which 15 patients sat down to a splendid spread—was voted a huge success. With the arrival of dessert came the speeches, in which the speakers excelled themselves, and gave rise to great merriment. The rest of the day was spent in various amusements and entertainments.

“ The excellent equipment of the Operating Theatre, wards, and Recreation Room, is very largely the outcome of donations in kind or money from numerous well-wishers. To mention all of these personally is beyond the scope of this Report, but special thanks are due to Lady Wernher for the operating table and steam steriliser, to Mr. Fred Beecroft for the instrument cabinet and stand; Mr. F. E. Shoosmith for lotion bowls and stand; Mr A. E. Fisher for Ambulance stretcher; Mr. Keithley for the bagatelle table; the management of the Palace Theatre for merlin chair and stretcher: Mr. A. E. Cumberland and Mrs. G. Carruthers for merlin chairs; and to Mrs. Andrew Carruthers for the bath chair.

“ Besides the above, the hospital has received frequent contributions of vegetables, fruit, groceries, eggs, and dairy produce, to say nothing of tobacco and cigarettes, and comforts of all kinds for the patients. Will the numerous contributors accept our warmest thanks for their kindness?

“We acknowledge with gratitude the cheerful and willing help afforded to us by the whole staff from the Commandants downwards, not forgetting the splendid labours of the Honorary Medical and Dental Staffs, the mem¬bers of which, in spite of serious overwork occasioned by the absence of so many of their colleagues on active service, have given ungrudgingly so much of their time and attention to the Hospital.

“ Our best thanks are also due to Mr. Allen for giving us so freely his time and skill in the capacity of Masseur, to the benefit and appreciation of patients and staff alike, to Miss M. Parker for the able and indefatigable manner in which she has filled temporarily the offices of Secretary and Quartermaster, and also for organising such novel and interesting competitions for the patients; to Mr. Percy Alien for providing motor cars on numerous occasions for the transport of patients; to the management and employees of Messrs. George Kent. Ltd.. Commercial Cars Ltd., Skefko. Diamond Foundry,  Vauxhall Motors, and other firms for organising entertainments on behalf of the hospital; to the members of the Luton and District Master Hairdressers’ Association for giving up so generously their Sundays and Wednesdays to attend the patients free of all charge, and for helping the funds of the hospital by holding a whist drive. To the membership Men’s Red Cross Sections 1 and 3 for their energetic services in window cleaning, orderly and night duty, and other ways; to Mr. Sidney Attwood for providing mineral waters; and to the many ladies and gentlemen who have helped to entertain the patients by concerts, or other ways, either inside or outside the hospital.

“ Owing to the generosity of the public the finances of the Hospital are now in a satisfactory condition.

In conclusion, this Report would not be complete without a special vote of thanks to the Town Council of Luton for their kindness in allowing us to use the Mansion rent free, for their assistance in repairs and alterations, and for the provision of more adequate sanitation, to the Parks Committee for so kindly according to the staff and patients special privileges; and to Mr. A. E. Wray, of the Luton Tramways, for the frequent provision of tram cars to conduct patients to and from entertainments.

“ With the aid of so many generous gifts, and by the endeavours of the staff, Wardown has become, we are proud to believe, one of the most efficient V.A.D. Hospitals in the county, and we trust that this state of efficiency will be maintained to the full as long as the demand for the Hospital exists.”

[A copy of the second annual meeting report is attached as a pdf Media File (see panel, above left).]

Event Place

Author: David

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