Monday, February 27, 2012

Bowthorpe Maternity Hospital, Wisbech. A trip down Memory Lane.

Lilian Ream postcard
Well, an odd thing happened to me this week. I always knew the name of the maternity hospital where I was born in Wisbech, and last November at the unveiling of the Bruce Close sign in Wisbech, I was told the building had been demolished several years ago. 
 This week I decided to 'google' it to see if I could find an old photo or postcard image of it.  How extraordinary to find this postcard (right) in the Cambridgeshire Archives, taken the same year I was born, by Lilian Ream the notable Wisbech photographer.

 And then, to my amazement, I found an Estate Agent's posting showing that not only is it still standing, but part of the residence it was made into in the 1980s is up for sale!!!

Today there are 2 residences there

So yesterday I took a trip to the outside of it, just, you know, to see the place I was born. I didn't bother with a viewing as, at £440,000 it's slightly out of my price range!!  The original 1955 postcard gives some idea of the land around the hospital. Since it closed in 1983, there has been a huge amount of building within the old grounds. No longer is the building in an isolated, private setting.

  closer up to part of the old hospital

It gave me a funny feeling as I stood there trying to decide which room I was delivered in...and 'felt' that it was the top floor, far right end window, the one with the curved tops. There's no-one alive now in my family who could tell me if my guess is right or not. As we drove away, I waved to the ghosts, in the window, of my mum and dad holding me.

Here are some images from the Estate Agent's website. 
Good to see that some of the mature trees survived.
back view of the building
side garden

patio and back garden
the swimming pool can be seen more clearly here


SheilaMatilda said...

You should buy it Sheila then I could come stay with you and use your pool. Sounds like you enjoyed your visit. You should have had a viewing, they wouldn't know you didn't intend to buy lol

Anonymous said...

Just came across this while looking for pictures of Bowthorpe Maternity Hospital. I too was born there and had been told it had been demolished.
It was a shock to see it is still standing

Anonymous said...

Lovely to see - I was born there too - are there any birth archives online that are accessible that provide information such as delivery room, ward, time, etc etc?


fengirl said...

Hello Daryl, I don't know. I've not looked. I expect they'll be at the Wisbech Museum. Hadn't got round to doing anything else apart from this. Let me know if you find any won't you? Good luck. Sheila.

Nanette Leaf said...

I wouldn't have thought that you were born in the actual building as the Maternity part was to the side of the house, the house was used for treatment and examination rooms, and there was a ward upstairs for mothers in waiting.....

Sheila WB said...

Hello Nanette, did you work there? You seem very familiar with the layout. Which side of the house was the Maternity part? Would love more detail.

Unknown said...

I been told I was born there & had a photo taken & there were reporters there saying it was closing down on the 24th of June 1979

Neelima said...

That was a fascinating and informative article.
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