« I, The Grey Mist | Main | Back In Simpler Times »

Open Features: Family Life - Two Scarlet Fever

...Like Alice, I had Scarlet Fever when I was eight and spent six weeks in the Isolation Hospital at Meltham. Visitors were allowed on Saturday afternoons, but they could only speak to us through the windows, and any sweets or toys had to be left at the office for us and we got the sweets two at a time after lunch...

Lucy Oates, who grew up in the Yorkshire township of Homfirth, a place made famous in the BBC's longest-running comedy TV programme The Last Of The Summer Wine, records her early life in fascinating detail.

Like Alice, I had Scarlet Fever when I was eight and spent six weeks in the Isolation Hospital at Meltham. Visitors were allowed on Saturday afternoons, but they could only speak to us through the windows, and any sweets or toys had to be left at the office for us and we got the sweets two at a time after lunch. It wasn't a very happy place to be in, and it made you very glad to get back home.

Shortly after I came home, my parents took on the job as caretakers at Underbank Sunday School this had a two bedroomed house with the post, which was their reason for the move. This meant doing all the cleaning, and heating the place from a boiler fed with coke which had to be carried in sacks down a flight of stairs outside the chapel, as the place had to be up to a certain heat for the services and various meetings during the winter.

I must also say there were teas and concerts, so trestle tables had to be set up all the crockery got out and Mother had to brew and fill big urns with tea and keep the gas geyser lit and boiling for refilling them. After tea the tables had to be cleared and put away for the concert to take place.

It was hard work, and for winter Father had to bag and carry coke for the boiler down some steps to the boiler-house and keep the boiler going to warm the building. At the Sunday School we used to have concerts sometimes given by the men and others by the ladies, and at the prizegiving the children gave a short concert before the prizes were given out. If you had a fully marked star card you got a more valuable book, but if you had missed a few classes you had a book of less value. We greatly valued these prizes as there wern't many free libraries in those days.
In 1927 Alice was taken Ill again with Scarlet Fever, and as it was an infectious disease my parents were not allowed to go into the school.

I enjoyed school, in spite of being teased by the boys and being called Bessie Bunter and Underbank Steam-roller because I was fat. I never let them see I cared but I did hate being fat then although I never found it a burden in adult life.

Categories

Creative Commons License
This website is licensed under a Creative Commons License.