Author Topic: Matron Marjorie Bell MBE - Lewisham Hospital  (Read 18160 times)

LewishamArtist

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Matron Marjorie Bell MBE - Lewisham Hospital
« on: January 21, 2009, 09:18:51 AM »
Hello.
 I am currently the 'artist in residence' at Lewisham Hospital and trying to find out as much as I can about this much loved and respected woman who has almost faded from sight.  Marjorie Bell was the Matron of Lewisham Hospital from 1948 to about 1970 and was quite a notable figure at one time.

Any stories, anecdotes or information greatly appreciated. Hope you can help
Many many thanks

.


Brenda

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Re: Matron Marjorie Bell MBE - Lewisham Hospital
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2009, 07:42:29 AM »
Hallo there,

I knew Matron Bell when I was a student nurse at Lewisham Hospital 1963-65.  It was she who interviewed me when I applied to move from Edgeware Hospital after my father's death. She was very helpful and understanding at a time when I was feeling very fragile.

I must say, we nurses were in awe of her and when it was she who did 'the rounds' rather than one of the Deputy Matrons, a hush really came over the ward and a collective sigh of relief went out when she left and we knew we'd come up to scratch.  She did always look rather severe but then, that was the way of things in those days. It didn't do for senior staff to be too familiar with the underlings.  Nursing was still run on quite military lines in those days.

Have you found any photographs of her? I'd love to see if she was as I remember her. 

She had been awarded the MBE for the part Lewisham Hospital took after the Hither Green train crash which was before my time.  I've googled her name  in the past but never come up with anything. Yes, a shame that these people fade from sight, as you say.  Good to know someone is trying to rectify this.

What does a 'artist in residence' do at Lewisham Hospital? 

Bren


christine

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Re: Matron Marjorie Bell MBE - Lewisham Hospital
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2009, 06:48:44 PM »
Hi Lewisham Artist - think a great number of current and past Downhamites would have spent some time in Lewisham Hospital during their lifetime - and am I right in saying that it is now part of one of the bigger London hospitals.  I can remember Matron from a stay as a six year old (around 1950) when it was thought I had meningitis and, yes, remember that practically everybody, including us children, felt they had to stand to attention (if they could) when she appeared on her rounds.  Amazing isn't it that nearly 60 years later I can still remember the effect she had on the ward, the nursing staff and patients (all children) - but how well it all ran and what a credit her nursing sisters and nurses were and how clean everything was.  Gosh - wouldn't it be nice if we could say the same about today's hospitals - don't think MRSA would dare appear on the wards of any hospital in those days.

Brenda

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Re: Matron Marjorie Bell MBE - Lewisham Hospital
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2009, 09:08:17 PM »
Stand to attention is right, Chris.  When on night-duty, if we were sitting at the desk (which was in the ward itself so you could see everything that was happening - much better for nurses and patients as far as I'm concerned) and Night Sister came to do the rounds, we literally had to stand to attention. We were allowed to wear cardigans on nights but we had to take them off in 'The Presence'. 

When I worked on the Children's Ward in 1965, the nurses had to clean the children's lockers and we also had to make the beds three times a day.  Now, it didn't matter if the bed was already made and empty, we had to strip them and redo them and if they weren't done right, the ward sister used to call all the staff and ask who made it.  Phew!  She was one very terrifying lady. We weren't allowed to cuddle or fuss the children either, not even the babies in the cubicles.  Only the senior nurses were allowed in to bath and feed the babies and then we had to come straight out again.  And Sister's beady eyes were on us all the time. 

It was the Ward Sister's responsibility to make sure everything was clean and you're right again, Chris, superbugs would have been terrified!  I have a lovely mental picture of them all screaming as they run away.

Bren

Pauline

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Re: Matron Marjorie Bell MBE - Lewisham Hospital
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2009, 12:11:57 AM »
Hi Lewisham Artist - think a great number of current and past Downhamites would have spent some time in Lewisham Hospital during their lifetime - and am I right in saying that it is now part of one of the bigger London hospitals. 

I was in Lewisham Hospital in 1966 in maternity.  Matron Bell does not come to mind, I don't recall that I ever saw her, maybe she stayed away from maternity.  I do recall that we had to give our newborns coddled eggs!  Now if that was one of her innovations, my daughter would like to have had words to say to her, she blames those eggs on her Crohn's Disease.  I do remember the ward, it was huge and every bed was full, no privacy at all.
Born 1944 in Geraint Road.  Launcelot and Churchdown Schools.  Moved to Western Australia in 1988.
Two children, 6 grandchildren, 3 dogs, hundreds of snakes, spiders and lizards.

Brenda

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Re: Matron Marjorie Bell MBE - Lewisham Hospital
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2009, 04:08:04 AM »


I was in Lewisham Hospital in 1966 in maternity.  Matron Bell does not come to mind, I don't recall that I ever saw her, maybe she stayed away from maternity.  I do recall that we had to give our newborns coddled eggs! 


How very peculiar!  I'll have to ask my friend if she remembers that, she would have been doing midwifery there at the time.  But I don't think we can blame Matron Bell for it.  More likely to have been on the instructions of some old duck in charge of the ward, someone who hadn't progressed past nursing a la Crimean War! 

Sorry to learn your daughter has Crohns.  That's a rotten, rotten thing.

Bren

christine

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Re: Matron Marjorie Bell MBE - Lewisham Hospital
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2009, 06:27:04 PM »
OK girls - what is a 'coddled egg'.  Had my first child in Southampton in 1975 and he was 'breastfed' - not a 'coddled egg' in sight although he had lots of 'cuddles'!

LewishamArtist

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Re: Matron Marjorie Bell MBE - Lewisham Hospital
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2009, 09:28:59 PM »
Hello Brenda,
I have found a few photographs of Matron Bell in the hospital archives which I am using for a piece of work to go in the yet to be built link between 'Outpatients and the new Riverside building. Although the residency is coming to an end I would still like to collect more stories to do something more substantial. If possible it would be great to interview you about Matron Bell and your time at Lewisham Hospital.

There is going to be an open event on the 12th February to launch the new work from both myself and the poet in residence Gale  Burns. Everyone is welcome. I will post more details in a few days.

LewishamArtist

Hallo there,

I knew Matron Bell when I was a student nurse at Lewisham Hospital 1963-65.  It was she who interviewed me when I applied to move from Edgeware Hospital after my father's death. She was very helpful and understanding at a time when I was feeling very fragile.

I must say, we nurses were in awe of her and when it was she who did 'the rounds' rather than one of the Deputy Matrons, a hush really came over the ward and a collective sigh of relief went out when she left and we knew we'd come up to scratch.  She did always look rather severe but then, that was the way of things in those days. It didn't do for senior staff to be too familiar with the underlings.  Nursing was still run on quite military lines in those days.

Have you found any photographs of her? I'd love to see if she was as I remember her. 

She had been awarded the MBE for the part Lewisham Hospital took after the Hither Green train crash which was before my time.  I've googled her name  in the past but never come up with anything. Yes, a shame that these people fade from sight, as you say.  Good to know someone is trying to rectify this.

What does a 'artist in residence' do at Lewisham Hospital? 

Bren



Brenda

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Re: Matron Marjorie Bell MBE - Lewisham Hospital
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2009, 10:21:25 AM »
Hallo Lewisham Artist,

An interview?  It would have to be a very long-distance one (or you would have to pop on a plane) but I am more than willing to answer any questions via email if I can be of any help.

Would appreciate seeing any photos you have too.

Best wishes for the project. 

I've seen pictures of the Riverside Building.  Am I right in presuming that is where the old medical wards were in the 60s?

Bren

Pauline

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Re: Matron Marjorie Bell MBE - Lewisham Hospital
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2009, 11:03:36 AM »
OK girls - what is a 'coddled egg'.  Had my first child in Southampton in 1975 and he was 'breastfed' - not a 'coddled egg' in sight although he had lots of 'cuddles'!

Hi Christine

A coddled egg is an egg that has been partly boiled so that the white is still "snotty".
Born 1944 in Geraint Road.  Launcelot and Churchdown Schools.  Moved to Western Australia in 1988.
Two children, 6 grandchildren, 3 dogs, hundreds of snakes, spiders and lizards.

Brenda

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Re: Matron Marjorie Bell MBE - Lewisham Hospital
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2009, 01:09:12 AM »


Hi Christine

A coddled egg is an egg that has been partly boiled so that the white is still "snotty".
[/quote]

And is utterly disgusting.
Bren

Dickie eagle

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Re: Matron Marjorie Bell MBE - Lewisham Hospital
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2009, 09:53:19 AM »
To "Coddle" an egg you require an egg Coddler. This is a small shallow bowl.usually ceramic, with a screw on lid which has a ring handle in the centre (Sometimes with a chain). The egg is broken into the bowl,the lid screwed on then immersed in boiling water. Why on earth they did not just boil the egg is beyond me
. Bren I will send you one for Syd.               dickie............................
Tristram Rd.,  M.N, RN. FAA. RFA,s  from 1941 to 1971  retired ex-MOD(Navy) , Moved to Downham in 1927 .! Travelled a bit With long spells ashore in USA, Malta, Southern India, Japan, NZ and OZ also attatched to Aus Navy ( HMAS Sydney)

Brenda

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Re: Matron Marjorie Bell MBE - Lewisham Hospital
« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2009, 05:41:50 AM »
Dickie dear, you are a living encyclopaedia.  Never mind Wiki, we've got Dickie.

Bren

christine

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Re: Matron Marjorie Bell MBE - Lewisham Hospital
« Reply #13 on: February 01, 2009, 10:54:09 AM »
Thanks everyone - you are all a mine of information!  Would you believe opened the February 'Waitrose' magazine and lo and behold there was a recipe with coddled egg - what a coincidence but not rushing to try it!

Brenda

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Re: Matron Marjorie Bell MBE - Lewisham Hospital
« Reply #14 on: February 02, 2009, 05:51:35 AM »
Thanks everyone - you are all a mine of information!  Would you believe opened the February 'Waitrose' magazine and lo and behold there was a recipe with coddled egg - what a coincidence but not rushing to try it!

I do believe it, Chris.  It's those wheels of synchronicity; they just keep on turning.
Bren