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St Margarets Hospital - Great Barr

Karenkaren

New Member
Hi, I came across this site when I was just browsing looking for old photos of St Margarets Hospital to show my children. Find it really interesting as I nursed at St Margarets from 1977 to 1985. I remember my first time of going there as a newly qualified nursery nurse and being interviewed in the room below the clock tower. I was absolutely petrified..........it turned out to be the most rewarding job I have ever had. It actually was a town of its own, everything you needed was on site. Most of the staff there were very commited to their posts and had the clients best interests at heart and did there best in difficult circumstances. I worked on various wards on the male side and the female side but mostly on Chase and Derby ward which were the childrens units. Also in the newly built school. The story about the murder of the lady by the gardener was true, I actually worked with Joseph Birch (Jo), of course by then he was a very frail elderly gentleman. Also a young lad from Chase ward did manage to get out through a window during the night and drowned in the lake on site. Things were very different then, health and safety weren't the big issues they are now. I often go back to visit my dad who lives in Great Barr, as I live in wales now and always have a drive up the main entrance. Its very hard to imagine it now as it was then. So many stories could be told, I could go on and on. Just makes me wonder where all the poor souls are now. Would be lovely to be in touch with other people who worked there, as I'm sure they will agree it was the sort of place that had a huge impact on your life.

Hi Faenol, I know it's been quite a while since your post. I look every so often for info aboutSt Margarets as my dad was a nurse there in the 1970s. His name was Kevin Campbell. I don't know if you knew him
 

faenol

New Member
As a complete outsider, I would like to bring into the discussion the children with cerebral palsy and various other physical defects who were dumped into St Margeret's as being "sub normal" and unwanted.

In the 1970's my mother, Margaret Evanson, was appointed head of the St Margaret's Hospital special school, which had been set up to give these youngsters a chance of learning. During her time at St Margaret's, she fought the authorities, continuously, to improve the lot and future of these youngsters. Eventually, a purpose-built school was built on the site - with facilities to improve the mobility, accessibility and independence for these youngsters.

In 1979, my mother was reluctantly forced to resign, being 65 years old. As I understand it, it wasn't long after this that the hospital and school were closed down.

If anyone can tell me more about these years, I'd be grateful.
Hi, I actually think I worked as a Nursery Nurse at the school when your mom was there. The name rings a bell to me. I used to go with the children from Chase and Darby ward and spend most of the days there with them. I left in 1984 , I believe it closed a few years later.
 

faenol

New Member
Hi Faenol, I know it's been quite a while since your post. I look every so often for info aboutSt Margarets as my dad was a nurse there in the 1970s. His name was Kevin Campbell. I don't know if you knew him
Hi, the name is really familiar to me. Do you have any idea which part of the hospital he worked in.?
 

faenol

New Member
Hi , I know your post is quite old but I have just joined and have been looking for information on the patients . My great grandmother was an patient there apparently, Nellie Redfern . I was wondering if you knew her xx thanks in advance
Hi, do you know what ward she would have been on or where she went after St Margaret’s closed down. There’s so many names which are familiar to me but it’s so long ago I just can’t remember.
 

ade

master brummie
Before it was fully demolished for the houses to be built I spent some time on the estate with a mate of mine who was helping to set up the security there. Most of the buildings had been pillaged or vandalised over the year's but all the building's on this very large site were standing. It was very quiet on a warm day but the one thing that stood out to me was how eary the whole estate was, I'm not one who believes in ghosts, spirits etc but this place definitely had an uneasy feeling about it. We left around 6.oclock on the evening I was glad I spent the day there but on the other hand was glad to leave, that's the only place I've ever been which made me feel like that, never went back again. one evening talking to my friend he reckons there is a tunnel running from the main building all the way through to the walsall road which I don't know if it was filled in before the estate was built or they just capped the ends and left it there
 

ade

master brummie
Hi Dave
So the story of a tunnel was probably true then, maybe there were a series of tunnels running under the site for various reasons known to the staff
That's for the picture and the reply
Ade
 

Astoness

TRUE BRUMMIE MODERATOR
Staff member
this is quite a fascinating thread although so very sad in many parts...my mother in law who lived locally used to work at st margarets as a SRN and she often mentioned the sad sights of people/children who had been born with horns and tails...i think she found it very difficult to work there and did not stay long...this would most likely have been in the late 40s...does anyone know exactly what if anything is left of the hospital?

lyn
 
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Dave M

Pheasey Born Bumper
Hi Dave
So the story of a tunnel was probably true then, maybe there were a series of tunnels running under the site for various reasons known to the staff
That's for the picture and the reply
Ade
Believe so have a few pics of the damaged buildings, and inside of GBH, some showing the steps down to the cellar and the internal well,
 
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Williamstreeter

master brummie
this is quite a fascinating thread although so very sad in many parts...my mother in law who lived locally used to work at st margarets as a SRN and she often mentioned the sad sights of people/children who had been born with horns and tails...i think she found it very difficult to work there and did not stay long...this would most likely have been in the late 40s...does anyone know exactly what if anything is left of the hospital?

lyn
Lyn horns and tails ??
 

ade

master brummie
This guy has a few videos on YouTube from inside St Margarets this video is the abandoned isolation ward
 

JohnO

master brummie
yes john this is what i was told...such were some deformities...
Heartbreakingly so, in that great catalogue of ‘things that ought not to be, but sadly are’ - “horns and tails” fall into the relatively minor league of possible misfortunes. I have been told stories by a previous generation of mental health staff that I cannot bring myself to think of, let alone repeat.
 

Astoness

TRUE BRUMMIE MODERATOR
Staff member
i think most of us unknown to our parents must have gone into old/derilict buildings and played on bombs pecks etc i know i did...anyway my daughter and myself drove past st margarets the other day and i was telling her how we have a thread for it...it was only then that she owned up to climbing over the fence a few times with some mates and went into the old buildings..this would be about 14 years back when she was in seniors at perry beeches school and being chased off by security...she said that they saw lots of metal bunk beds minus the mattresses and a room that looked like it could have been used for electric shock treatment which of course was used back in the day...they were told stories(this could of course just be old wives tales) that bodies could be in the lake and said they found it very spooky...couldnt really tell her she should not have entered as i used to do the same thing myself :rolleyes:

lyn
 
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