Call the Midwife in Loddon

At the turn of the 20th century, with no NHS, many towns and villages had their own Nursing Association. Loddon formed its own Nursing Association as part of the Norfolk Federation from 1907. A newspaper report of March that year minutes a meeting at the Town Hall where it was felt that they should affiliate to the Norfolk District Cottage Nursing Association.

The second entry in the Association Minute Book, dated 15 March 1907 sets out the basic rules and the scale of charges (NRO, MC 3212/988).

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Minute Book for Loddon Nursing Committee, 1907. NRO, MC 3212/988

During this meeting Mrs Cadge was appointed as secretary and Mr Cadge as treasurer. The Association needed to raise between £50 and £100 per year for either a Nurse from the Norfolk District Cottage Nursing Association or a Queen Victoria Jubilee Nurse. The Queen Victoria’s Jubilee Institute for Nurses had been chartered in 1889 and had trained many nurses, known as ‘Queen’s Nurses’, by this date. The Cadge Family, local solicitors in the village, may well have desired that Loddon had a Queen’s Nurse in order to keep up with their close neighbours, the Beauchamp Proctors of Langley Hall Estate who had their own Queen’s Nurse.

The Committee Minute Book and the Annual Reports give us a detailed account of the state of nursing in Loddon from 1910 to the creation of the NHS in 1948 (NRO, MC 3212/988).

In 1910 it was reported that Nurse Featherstone had attended 73 cases and made 2,135 visits ‘but besides this she had paid many casual visits, helping cases of sprains and cuts etc. which are not included’.  Nurse Kate Mary Featherstone had been born in 1875 in Bowthorpe.  During her time in Loddon she lived in the street near to Bank House, now Farthing Green House.  She appears on the Electoral Rolls in Loddon from 1912 to 1914 as an occupation voter, able to vote in County & Parochial Elections. After completing her nursing career in Loddon she moved to Norwich where she died in 1917.

In 1913 Nurse Ayden took up the post, which she held for a total of 4 ½ years, before leaving in 1918 to take up a post in Ditchingham. She was presented with a clock by the Committee and her friends in Loddon.  During the previous year the funds raised had allowed for the purchase of a new bicycle and a new ‘District Bag’.

Nurse Turner arrived in May of that year and made 1,454 visits to the end of December 1918. In 1919 she made 1,827 visits. It was also reported that in conformity with a resolution of the Norfolk Nursing Association, midwifery fees would increase to 15/- for Class I, £1 for Class II, or £2=2=0 for Class III. Local families made quarterly subscriptions, which allowed them to access the services of the Nurse. These were related to the rental price of their homes. At the same date the scale of charges [quarterly subscriptions] increased to:

Class I Cottages under £7 rent      8d;

Class 2 Houses under £12 rent      1/4d;

Class III   Houses over £12 rent     1/9d.

The scale of monthly subscriptions for emergency visits was 3/-, 5/6 , or 7/6

Nurse Turner was replaced by Nurse Colman who left in September 1922 after ‘13 months good work’, paving the way for Nurse Goodbody to take over. The minute Book records that:

Arrangements through the County Association had been made for a new Nurse on a 3 month trial, she was to lodge with Mrs Dowe for 25/- per week. If found to be satisfactory the Nurse to be paid £120 per year with uniform and bicycle, but to pay her own board & lodging.  The Association also paid 10/- for an annual 3rd party insurance against claims up to £100.

It was also noted that the previous Nurse had been charging all Maternity & Midwifery patients at the Class I rate; Nurse Goodbody was to be made aware of the charges.

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Meeting of 11 September 1922 from the Loddon Nursing Committee Minute Book. NRO, MC 3212/988

Nurse Goodbody was one of six children born in Ely, to William Goodbody in 1884. Her mother died in 1890.  Her father was a Brewer’s Agent, who by 1911 was landlord of the Six Bells Public House in Hemingford Grey near St Ives with his second wife. Ida meanwhile had moved to Saffron Walden; she appears as a Hospital Nurse there in 1911. She was registered in 1922 after taking the Central Midwives Board Examination. She was registered as a nurse on 15th June 1923, having qualified at Saffron Walden Hospital Essex, 1907- 1911. She would go on to nurse at Loddon for the next 22 years.

During this meeting Mrs Cadge was appointed as secretary and Mr Cadge as treasurer. The Association needed to raise between £50 and £100 per year for either a Nurse from the Norfolk District Cottage Nursing Association or a Queen Victoria Jubilee Nurse. The Queen Victoria’s Jubilee Institute for Nurses had been chartered in 1889 and had trained many nurses, known as ‘Queen’s Nurses’, by this date. The Cadge Family, local solicitors in the village, may well have desired that Loddon had a Queen’s Nurse in order to keep up with their close neighbours, the Beauchamp Proctors of Langley Hall Estate who had their own Queen’s Nurse.

In 1925, at the age of 40 Nurse Goodbody paid 2,404 visits. In order to make work easier for her, friends supplied a tricycle. By December 1929 the Committee were looking to provide a fund to purchase furniture for a house for the District Nurse. She is listed in the 1930 Electoral Roll as living in Prospect Place, Bridge St, in the care of Mrs Eliza Dowe. However, by the 1931 Electoral Roll she has moved from Mrs Dowe’s house to Church Plain.

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Report for the Year ending 31 December 1924. NRO, MC 3212/988

And so year after year Nurse Goodbody served the Loddon community. By 1939 War seemed imminent and along with the other residents of Loddon Ida Goodbody appeared on the Register living on Church Plain and described as District Nurse & Midwife. Her home was a tiny cottage.

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Home of Nurse Goodbody.

The 1943 balance sheet shows that Nurse Goodbody’s salary cost the Loddon Nursing Association £173=1=7. Whilst the purchase of a new tricycle for her cost £5=12=0.

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Balance Sheet for Loddon Nursing Association for 31 March 1942-31 March 1943. NRO, MC 3212/988

The Balance Sheet for 1944 records £1=1=0 to Browne & Sons for repair to her tricycle, had she had an accident? It was later this year that Nurse Goodbody, now aged 60, retired. Nurse Sparrow from the Langley Association also resigned.  The two associations amalgamated & appointed Nurse Hewitt.  She was to be provided with a telephone, a bicycle and a car and to be responsible for the whole district.  In 1945 Nurse Hewitt became Nurse Frost when she married. She lasted for a further year until December 1946 when Nurse Burton took over temporarily. The records state that by this date ‘all the possible permanent replacements are married and need a house’.

Finally the District Council was able to provide a house in 1946 and the Nursing Association felt that their reserves would soon allow for the purchase of their own house. At that point the preserved reports end. But we know that the National Health Service was launched on July 5th 1948, and nothing was ever the same again.

And Nurse Goodbody, sadly she did not have a well-deserved long and happy retirement as she died as the result of a stroke in December 1949. She was fondly remembered into the 1990s by Mrs May Crisp whose 8 babies had all been delivered by her. Many still living in Loddon will have been first held and bathed by her.  Her tricycle was remembered for being the signal that a baby was due when it was parked outside a cottage.

When Nurse Goodbody retired her tricycle went to Ellingham and was used by Mrs Elizabeth Hammond a Monthly Nurse, first in Ditchingham and later Loddon.   Elizabeth’s granddaughter Maureen remembers that she and a friend decided to try to ride the tricycle.  Not surprisingly she turned the tricycle over and cut her leg, but got no sympathy from either her gran or her mum!

Compiled by Elvie Herd, NRO Research Blogger

 

 

This entry was posted in NRO Research Bloggers, Snapshots from the Archive and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Call the Midwife in Loddon

  1. Margaret Lomax says:

    Nurse Hewitt (Frost) was my mother. She went on to work for private patients and at Chevington Lodge , a nursing home in Bungay. She died in 1960 ,aged 48.

    Like

    • Hi Margaret, thank you for contacting us with further information about your mother Nurse Frost (nee Hewitt). It is good to hear she continued nursing, we shall pass this extra information on to our blogger.

      Like

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