• Welcome to this forum . We are a worldwide group with a common interest in Birmingham and its history. While here, please follow a few simple rules. We ask that you respect other members, thank those who have helped you and please keep your contributions on-topic with the thread.

    We do hope you enjoy your visit. BHF Admin Team

Davos, Switzerland Sunday Mercury & Kunzle


Brummie babby
View attachment 53816 View attachment 53815 View attachment 53814

I was sent by the "Give a girl health" fund in 1964 for 6 months.

The 3 pictures start with leaving for Davos in Birmingham Snow Hill, with the Red Cross nurse who accompanied us on the journey, first to London and after a night's rest there, by British Airways Trident to Zürich, then by train to Landquart and then by mountain train to Davos Dorf.

The picture of the sanatorium is from a postcard which I sent to say that I had arrived safely.

The group of boys was snapped by my dad when he came to visit shortly after an outbreak of head lice had brought in the barber to scalp most of us.

The stay in Davos was wonderfull! After a while I started to feel like a normal boy again as the illness magically receded.

I went back to Davos a few years ago as an adult and was shocked to see how the ski/tourism trade has spread across what I remember as a green and pleasant valley during our obligatory "liegi" each afternoon, where we were supposed to sleep for 2 hours out on the balcony, whatever the weather, with just 2 blankets and maybe a hot water bottle. Curiously the bit of German that I picked up during my stay sowed seeds which ultimately led to my living in Berlin and earning my keep as a translator. It was a life changing experience in many ways.


Brummie babby
Hi, I was at the Pro Juventute Kinder Sanatorium from Sept. 58 to March 59 and thoroughly enjoyed my time there. I have an album full of photos taken on an old box camera. My husband (a computer graphics guy) is going to clean them up and put them on disk so that I can post them here. You may recognize a few people! The Sanatorium was enormously beneficial to me and I came home several sizes larger all round and so much healthier. Although my asthma is still with me it is very controlled and the memories I have from that place make it all worthwhile.

paul stacey

master brummie
such marvolous stories and photo's the gratitude from these kids and there families shines through and such a generous man I ate Kunzle cakes as a kid without realising how great a man made them, and so nice to hear of the dear old Sunday Mercury again dad had it each sunday.

Gillian Kelly

Brummie babby
Hi everyone, it's great to read your memories of Davos. I think the one thing we all remember is the liege whether the sun was shining or it was snowing very heavy outside we still had to do liege out on the balconies.
Anyway thanks for you replys it great to read them as you have probably guessed I'm not the best at replying myself but it's good hearing from you and knowing we all seem to have good memeries hopefully more people will write as well. Thanks for your reply Monica like you my asthma seemed to like me to much and it never left me, the asthma lead from one thing to another, then onto something else and so on and I now have COPD amongst other things and require continues oxygen, but that's enough about me. Does anyone know what is happening out there now as it sounds like it is changing a lot from Kims reply. Looking forward to receiving some more replys.
Best wishes to all of you

little terror

proper brummie kid
I am Malcolm Gardner ,and was in Davos from April 1965 to June 1966. I can relate to many of the stories on this site .and many more besides .Miss Maggs our teacher ,and Saturday writing letters home . Sister Hildergart,the English nurse that was with us sometimes . The large Swiss gentleman that used to take us to football in Kur Park ,The Spanish ladies in the kitchen that used to traet us like their own children. The food was OK .but remember the yellow rice dish that we used to call"mice's ears" ?
We had the freedom to wander werever we wanted to in the woods ,and made ice slides in the winter . Ice skating and sledging throughout the winter. PE lessons where we done our breathing exercises.
People I remember were Stuart, Derek , Tim ,Roselyn,Zeke,Tich,and many many more.
When we had our heads shaved for head lice one boy from Ireland was clear ,but had his head shaved for laughing at us all .
I was the youngest ,at the time,as I was only eight ,but hated it every four to six months when people went home ,and I had to stay ,but when it was my time to go home I wanted to stay.
Sadly one poor girl .who was about twelve .did not return home ,as she died in early 1965 ,due to her severe asthma ,and I remember her funeral being the week before or after Ash Wednesday.
Hope all this is acurate . but I have many more thoughts and good memories .In todays politically correct society no young child would be sent away for such a long and enjoyable time to go home to a new healthier life. Think of the mine field for doing the risk assessments.


Brummie babby
Yes, I remember lessons with Miss Maggs, everyone in one class whatever their age, including Zeke with his Hebrew dictionary. I remember the awe that I felt when, if the weather was good, Miss Maggs would occasionally simply drop lessons and take us out for a walk. Then helped by a friendly man who did a bit of handwork with us we made a box kite from coloured paper and a wooden frame which, when we flew it, it pulled so hard that it nearly lifted two of us boys from the ground. Behind the sanatorium there was a hut in the woods which contained a football machine. There was never a ball, so we would play using fir cones. Not exactly David Beckham's level but it was great fun. I also remember playing asthmatic sit down football in the small wooden panelled sports room and even some sort of ersatz olympics in my summer of 1964 as I was given a silver medal with a red ribbon (bacofoil or some such) for achievements now long forgotten, but which I kept proudly for years afterwards. I also remember quite clearly when it was my turn to go home, after 6 months, I seriously considered hiding until the nurse had gone, so that I could stay longer. When the dread day came, the new boys arrive and one asked me if there was TV there. I thought for a moment and then told him, yes down in the village, there is a shop window where I had seen a TV. He burst into tears, which I could not for the life of me understand ...


Brummie babby
Hi everyone, I am trying to upload a few photos from the album I made up when I was in Pro Juventute in l958/9. An old box camera!! Does anyone recognise anyone?


Staff member
what lovely pics monica....i had a friend who was there but i would think it was about 4 years after you.

thanks for posting them...



Brummie babby
Thanks Lyn

Yes, I love looking at my album - going to Pro Juventute was really a turning point in my life. Up until that point I had not stayed one night away from my parents, so I gained the knowledge I could live without them and not lose their love or support. I grew tremendously physically, so much so that as I got off the plane on coming home, my mother didn't recognise me from a distance and kept looking for a smaller girl to come out the plane door! When I got home I told everyone that would be leaving home when I was old enough and, sure enough, come 19 I moved from my home in Birmingham to a bedsit in Southampton. I had alovely loving family but really prized the independence I had gained in Davos. How did your friend get on afterwards?

Regards Monica


Staff member
hi monica..i am so pleased to hear that you gained so much life experience from your trip to davos i bet you felt right grown up when you got back to brum...unfortunately my friend coleen left villa st a couple of years after her trip and we just lost touch...must say i would love to find out how she got on in life...you never know one day she may crop up on this wonderful forum..


steve hooper

proper brummie kid
2013.jpgSince posting twice before on this site I have been thinking about my time in Davos and have jotted down a few memories as they have come to me so bear with me. I was there in 1968 to halfway through 1969. Prince Charles was made Prince of Wales – his investiture was televised and I was allowed to watch it with the doctors and nurses on television. It was the only television I saw in all my time thereWhen I first arrived at the sanatorium us boys were in one place and the girls were in another. We were in the back sanatorium and I was on W4 which was the highest level. Our sanatorium had a lift but only boys who had to get to ventilators regularly were given keys but we soon found out that a long nosed pair of scissors could work the lift and boys being boys this got us into a little bit of trouble. I remember breakfasts where sometimes we would eat a dish I can only describe as like cold porridge with muesli and black grapes, it was lovely and I have often looked for this food but unsuccessfully have never found it. I used to think that the dark haired, dark eyed Italian/Spanish looking cooks used their own recipe. They used to look after us so well. At about 10am in the morning we were given a choice of yogurt, milk or bananas – I used to go for the yogurt, it came in half pint glass bottles, scoop the top out fill it with sugar and munch it down. We had this on the wards. Also sometimes at this time the nurses would give us suppositories which we would take into the loo and throw them out of the window, there was a flat roof below and it was absolutely covered in unused blister packs, you could also see it from the gantry which used to connect the back of the sanatorium to the ground below the promenade. The promenade itself was great fun with the pigeons and the red squirrels that would take food from your hands. We used to play boys games of hide and seek and war, throwing pine cones at each other and having fun. I remember being chased by a bulldog one day along the promenade which frightened me to death. Also remember having a sports day just below the promenade on a flat piece of ground in the trees where everyone was involved. We used to go to school in the morning for 2 hours in a place to the right of our sanatorium – it was all quite basic but perfect for a boy (I think this place was a sanatorium for older children) and the girls sanatorium was to the left which I think was the first building with the triangle playground at the front with a large fence around it. We didn’t mix with the girls very much at all only sometimes on some walks around the lake and I also remember a lovely walk out of the back of the sanatorium daresay this has all changed now. During the summer we would play football down in the park (a big outdoor swimming pool was also here but we weren’t allowed to use that). The park was big with what I think was beech trees down either side, as long as we came back for meals etc we were allowed to do basically what we wanted but we never really got up to much mischief. During the winter we used to go ice skating 2 or 3 times a week on a massive ice rink which I think was a football ground that they sprayed water onto, always seemed very big to me. We’d skate around playing a sort of ice hockey not having any sticks we would just kick the puck around. Remember having a picture taken with a man dressed in a white bear suit which I sent home (will try to upload this picture). We’d go sledging not far from the sanatorium and used to make toboggan snakes where we would like on the sledge, link our feet to the sledge behind and shoot down the hill, the last sledge was always uncontrollable and would snake around and usually he would fall off, I remember one boy chipping his tooth, blood all over the snow when he tobogganed into a water standpipe. Never remember there being a ski lift so we had to walk up and down – all good exercise! Remember a workman we used to call Gunter – he was a big man, used to wear grey overalls and carry 2 gas bottles at a time. Boys I remember were Eddie and David who shared the room with me (one from Birmingham and one from Wolverhampton) and a boy called Philip who was slightly older than us and he would help us read our letters etc. I remember he used to wear his bobble cap like a Robin Hood figure (funny the things you remember). Also I remember a boy called Raymond who was very ill a lot of the time and couldn’t join in with us very much. His father used to come and see him quite regularly and I remember us getting the news that after Raymond had gone home he had died, remember having the church service in his memory, that kind of touched us allI had german measles while I was there and was put in quarantine for a week (that means shut away in a room) with a nurse bringing me meals and the only thing I had to do was read and play with my stamp album. Stamp collecting was quite a popular pastime for us boys and there was a very good shop that we used to go to for packets of stamps, bits for our tuck boxes and also souvenir presents for when we went home. Mum and Dad sent postage coupons I exchanged for airmail postage letters and postal orders to me for cash, this is how we supplied our tuck boxes and bought our stamps. Tuck time was in the evening where we were allowed to take something out of our tuck boxes, a nurse would oversee this and help us eek out what we had. I remember 2 nurses in particular who mostly worked during the nights, to us 8 or 9 year olds they were stunningly beautiful and we all loved them – one was a dark haired lady and one was a blond lady and they both used to wear a lot of makeup but we all liked them to say goodnight to us (funny the things you remember). Also remember an episode where a load of us boys were taken down to the girls’ dormitory and asked to dress in a quite weird football kit (weird because the socks had no feet) and then we posed for a picture, the kit was then taken back off us and we never saw it again. We all thought at the time how weird it was but realized later that it was probably for a press release or something like that It was nice to mix with other nationalities, Europeans, Americans etc and I am sure that this helped broaden my mind. I got quite friendly with 2 German boys and learnt quite a bit of German which later I forgot (shame) but many a friendship was struck up between us all and it is nice to put my memories and thoughts down here to share with some of you who also had this experience. Remember saying goodbye and being taken to the railway station in a car waving as we went, train journey back to Zurich and then a BEA flight home, the Red Cross nurse then accompanied me back to Wales as she lived in Machynlleth (Mid Wales). Lovely to see the family again. My health was good for about 10 days after which my wheezing returned but it was nowhere near as bad as it had been before I had gone, daresay it was the damp Welsh air!! I have always carried a remnance of my asthma throughout my life (pumps, inhalers etc) but I can honestly say that it has never been a major disability as it was before I went to Davos. I look back at my time in Davos with fond memories and a great feeling of gratitude that I was lucky enough to have been able to go there.I have rattled on enough, sorry if this seems disjointed but memories can be like that. Hope you find this interesting and helps with some of your memories of this a wonderful place. The 2 photos I am hoping to upload here - one is of me in the morning on the day that I left for Davos and the second is during the winter of 68/69.+ my Passport photo 1968


  • 2013 002.jpg
    2013 002.jpg
    46.3 KB · Views: 30
  • 2013 001.jpg
    2013 001.jpg
    56 KB · Views: 30
  • Davos Kinderlinken Projuivenetute Sept 09.jpg
    Davos Kinderlinken Projuivenetute Sept 09.jpg
    114.3 KB · Views: 35
  • Davos Kinderlinken Sept 09.jpg
    Davos Kinderlinken Sept 09.jpg
    18 KB · Views: 38
Last edited:


Brummie babby
Hi Steve

some things had changed at Pro Juventute from when I was there and some things the same! I was on Floor 3 of Waldschlossli, which I think sounds like where you were but if you were floor 4, then you didn't have a balcony? I can't remember using the lift, so I guess we walked up!
When I was there each floor was like a family and had a resident nurse, who lived in a room on the floor and had one day off a week. Obviously boys and girls had separate rooms, but other than that we shared the accommodation. Lots of nationalities, as you say, but we had no Americans when I was there and only about 20 British children in total, including the 'private' ones in Chalet House. We had two classrooms in the school, divided - I think - by age and again divided into German or French for the language lessons. There were two teachers when I was there: one French, a lovely woman in her fifties, who we called 'Tante Susi' and the other a British woman in her mid to late twenties called Miss Brownlow, also lovely.

I was there from late Sept. l958 to late March 1959, so it was almost all deep snow during that time. I remember I had a cockney accent on coming home, I can only assume because most of the British brigade were Londoners, although I do remember a girl from Swansea (Marion Court) and Sheila from Kent and 2 Davids from Birmingham.

My best memories are of walking on the promenade around the base of Shatzalp and ice skating on the enormous rink in Davos Platz and also on the very small one, like frozen village pond, in Davos Dorf, when the big rink was closed.

Happy days!

little terror

proper brummie kid
Hello ,Got my dates wrong on my first blog ,as I was there from April 1964 to June 1965 ,and I guess I was on same trip out as Kim ,but I got on the train at Leamington Spa . We flew out to Zurich on BEA flight BE564 at 09:50 on April 22nd 1964 , The cost of the flight as a mere £17 15 shilling and I returned on June 11th 1965 .
I have some good black and white photos ,one of us all wearing our medals ,two of us dressed as Cowboys and Indians ,and several of us playing football . I actually got to watch TV twice during my stay , Churchill's funeral ,and The Grand National ,strange mix.
There were 8 francs to the £ in 1964 ,and we ,I think , got 5 francs a week pocket money ,which did not go very far .
More people I remember were Debbie Heather Rosalind Fraulien Silvia Gerhard Derek Evans,from Deal in Kent Christian Haefelin
We went to St Lukes Church every Sunday,without fail ,and at certain times of the year we would be the only people there.
Though not a religious person ,as other people have also said ,Davos made us live again ,and if I am ever fortuneate to visit ag Davos, then a trip to the Church will be made .
On returning home I was still quite ill ,but slowly ,as I entered my teens the worst of it went away ,and I became a strong swimmer , enjoyed playing competitive football ,and took up jogging from the age of 17 years till I was fifty when knee injuries ,and not my lungs stopped me. The Asthma has always been with me ,but the inhalers keep it away .
No doubt I'll add more memories when they come back to me ,perhaps a TV Company could take us all back , and make a programme about our experiences


Brummie babby
My mother kept every letter that I wrote from Davos in an old Oxo tin, providing an interesting and sometimes embarrassing insight into the mind of a 10 year old Brummie asthmatic. When I can find some time I will try to add some edited highlights here.

The two nurses who lived in the adjacent nurses home and who looked after me where called Schwester Jolanda and Schwester Hildegard. I loved them dearly although Schwester Hildegard was a bit frightening as she had a metal pin protruding from both sides of her ankle after she broke it skiing.

I remember being weighed once a week, which was an occasion of much jollity, I remember one of the boys hiding a steel weight under his pajamas to earn astonished approval from whichever sister was weighing that week.

Ii also remember the curious habit which we had of dashing into the room housing the dumb waiter from the kitchen and loudly claiming "first Konfitur" which then entitled you to be first to help yourself to jam when it was time for breakfast, but only if you got there first ... boys !


New Member
Steve Hooper's memory of our morning cereal at Caselva, that muesli never to be matched by any since, and certainly not by those dessicated coloured cardboard chips marketed in Britain since the early 1970s, reminds me that we always called it Bircher-muesli. And there may be one place where it survived until quite recently, though I fear it's now too late. It was Dr. Max Bircher-Benner (died 1939) who created this breakfast meal for the patients of his clinic near Zurich; it was at first based on apples, with grains added, and only much later, in the 1950s, cream and sugar. His niece Dagmar Liechti-von Brasch continued to run the clinic until 1980; it closed in 1995. So I fear that the nearest approach we are ever likely to make to those blissful breakfasts may be in reading a recent biography of her, by Kathrin Barbara Zatti, appetisingly entitled _Dagmar Liechti-von Brasch: Between Bircher Muesli and a Philosophy of Life_. All this information is taken from an article in the latest SwissInfo news, whose website often provides solace for those of us who even after forty or fifty years still think of Davos as home. Here's the link: https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/culture/Bircher_muesli_s_forgotten_champion.html?cid=28756136&ref=nl

swiss miss 1963

Brummie babby
I was just surfing around the Internet and I found this video which sadly talks about the "final" closure of the clinic in 2009 after 87 years. I am afraid it is in heavily accented Swiss German so it's hard to understand, but there are some tantalising glimpses of very familiar bits



just found this wonderful place.so sad to see this sanatorium close down.l was there from Jan 27th-28th Aug 1963.my name is Margaret Okey.l live in Birmingham.l was 13 yrs old when l went to Davos.l shared a room with Carole Robinson.she lived in Bolney Rd.l lost touch for quite a time then in 1974 l was on a radio programme radio birmingham and she was listening so we met up afew times,she had married and had a daughter fleur.her married name was Lawson,needless to say we lost touch many years ago.
l had a feature in Sunday Mercury a couple of years ago.it was all about Davos and how well l was at age 60!maybe some of you saw it?my married name is Quinn.from that l was put in touch with the Red Cross lady who took us to Davos in 63.her name is Mrs Gwen Anson.she phoned me and had quite a chat.she is in her 80's now.maybe someone remembers her?
l remember Miss Maggs the teacher.so many memories of Pro Juventute.hope to post more as l think about special moments.