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Womens Hospital History and development

Dennis Williams

Proud Brummie
In 1868 and 1869 Mr Ross Jordan and three friends - Drs George Jones, James Neale, and the delightfully named Lumbley Earle – became convinced of the necessity for a hospital to be entirely devoted to the alleviation of conditions and ailments peculiar to women. The effort was at first unsuccessful but undaunted, Mr Ross Jordan successfully enlisted the interest of Mr Arthur Chamberlain, who undertook the duties of Honorable Secretary. With the aid and support of a number of his friends, among others being Mr Joseph Chamberlain (naturally), Dr Heslop, George Dawson (of course), Arthur Ryland, Charles Vince, Dr Samuel Berry, and Joseph Nettlefold (inevitably) in 1871 the Birmingham and Midland Hospital for Women became an accomplished fact.

No 8, The Crescent, a large House near the municipal centre of Birmingham, was bought and adapted to accommodate out-patients, and an in-patient department of eight beds. It was next door to the recently opened Training School for Nurses. In the following year, No 7 The Crescent was also bought and in 1876, three small wards were built in the garden at the rear. More to follow...



Crescent Panorama.jpg Crescent duo.jpg Crescent ( Womens Hospital birth) narrative.jpg Womens Founders 1871.jpg
 
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Dennis Williams

Proud Brummie
The Hospital was fortunate in appointing to its staff a young surgeon, Robert Lawson Tait. Many have paid tribute to his pioneering work in abdominal surgery and he is acclaimed as the most famous gynaecologist that this country has produced. Several new operations, soon universally adapted, were derived by him and first performed at our Women’s Hospital. These historic operations include the first deliberate removal of the appendix (1880), the first operation for ruptured tubal pregnancy (1883), and the first Caesarean section for haemorrhage in late pregnancy (placenta praevia). Only last week a notable local Gynaecologist Mr Joe Jordan (ATV Today fame) gave a modern Lecture to a large gathering of members of the Birmingham & Midland Obstetrics & Gynaecological Society on this man’s life and work, such is his genius, even by today's standards.


Lawson Tait.jpg Tait at work  1891.jpg
 
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Dennis Williams

Proud Brummie
The Out-patient department of the Crescent soon became overcrowded and new premises were acquired in Upper Priory, near the Old Square. There was a large high-ceilinged waiting room with hard pew-like benches, small examination rooms and a dispensary. It was part of the dispenser’s duties to register patients and keep medical records. The hall was also used for the Annual Meeting of Subscribers (no Health Service then of course). The buildings were next to Dr Johnson’s Passage and were in occupation until 1941 when the Germans rearranged them rather poorly. The out-patients were then transferred to temporary accommodation at Sparkhill…


Upper Priory 187&.jpg Fire station Upper Priory Map 1901.jpg
 
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Dennis Williams

Proud Brummie
The premises at the Crescent becoming inadequate, the In-patient department was transferred to a building, now demolished, in Stratford Road, some three miles from the City Centre, and near the next to be built Women's Hospital in Showell Green Lane. It had originally been a farmhouse, and afterwards an industrial school. It was adapted and extended so as to accommodate twenty one beds. In 1892, a further extension of six beds was made on the site of the original farmyard.


Womens Hospital SGL 1900.jpg
 
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Dennis Williams

Proud Brummie
This is taken from the booklet compiled to celebrate the Centenary of the Women's, printed in 1971, when it was in Showell Green Lane. Some of you older mambers may recall it....especially the Operating Theatres. I partly worked there from 1960 until its move to the QEH site when it combined with the newish built (1968) Birmingham Maternity Hospital a few years ago.


Womens 2  1878.jpg Womens history.jpg
 
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Dennis Williams

Proud Brummie
And finally...our new home and some old friends some of you may remember... not forgetting Joseph Jordan, John Michael Emens, Robert Sawyers, David Luesley, Gaby Downey, John Watts, John Studd, Dr Colin Fink and many others still going strong. And the old place is still developing and becoming more and more famous. Thank you for your patience, those that sat it out with me, I hope you enjoyed some of the memories of the old and new Hospital. Long may it continue to be a jewell in Birmingham Hospital's crown.


Taylor Extension.jpg The Womens 2010.jpg
 
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Dennis Williams

Proud Brummie
And finally, a brilliant article brought to my attention a few minutes ago by the inestimable mikejee from another Thread on Burbury Street that he posted a little while ago. It is simply too appropriate to leave this glowing tribute in any other place but here. He truly was a great man of Birmingham, and I'm glad to say that successive appointees to the Chair of Obstetrics and Gynaecology of the University of Birmingham are now perpetuated by the title "Lawson Tait Professor of O & G". Thanks Mike.


Lawson Tait, burb&.jpg
 
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Dennis Williams

Proud Brummie
A few more nostalgic shots from Old postcards of the old Women's premises. The 'sitting room' I remember doubled as the Management Board Room. And a changing room for us when we did Hospital Shows in the adjoining Chamberlain Hall. Oops. Never get away with all that fun now. Too risky...



View attachment 81499 View attachment 81500Womens 2  1878.jpgWomens Sitting room.jpgWomens 1.jpgWomens 3  .jpg
 
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pollypops

master brummie
Dennis, Thank you for posting this - I have enjoyed reading it. The pictures are great - I love the QUIET sign outside the hospital - people were very respectful in those days.
Also it highlights another building donated and funded by Louisa Ann Ryland. I notice Arthur Ryland was amongst the initial supporters of Ross Jordan's idea to create a Womens Hospital.
Polly :)
 

Dennis Williams

Proud Brummie
My pleasure Pollypops. Yes, The City owe the Rylands a huge debt of gratitude for all their gifts of land to the Brummie people. Didn't Louisa give us Small Heath Park?
 
W

Wendy

Guest
Dennis what an interesting thread I had forgotten about Robert Lawson Tait he lived over the road in Burbury Street from my gt grandfathers bakery. The Ryland family were such a good family and gave so much to the city. Lets hope the hospitals new home does the city proud today.
 

Dennis Williams

Proud Brummie
Why thank you most kindly Wendy, yes he left a very impressive legacy, although he wasn't always free from controversy. I was told about the legendary Dame Hilda Lloyd, the First Professor of O & G, and worked for Professors Hugh McLaren and John Newton before moving on to Nuneaton to do some non academic proper work. As for the other Consultants, there were plenty of brilliant innovators in their respective branches of the subject. John Studd in Obstetrics with the Partogram, John Kelly with foetal monitoring, Joe Jordan, David Luesley and Mike Emens in Colposcopy, Charlie Chan in Ovarian cancer surgery, Ted Logan Edwards and Carl Crooke in Infertility (who gave us the first AID sextuplets in the 60s), and many, many others just as talented and innovative. Birmingham has a wonderful reputation in the medical World, way above many of the more famous London Teaching Hospitals, yet not many patients know it, but I'm sure the current doctors and scientists, nursing staff, and the much maligned administrators, will continue the good work started so long ago by those Victorian patriarchs. The women of Birmingham are in very safe hands. Literally.
 
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Thylacine

master brummie
Thanks, Dennis, for this fascinating thread: beautifully researched and illustrated.

You mention Dame Hilda Lloyd: I would like to learn more about this remarkable woman.

And a related (double-barrelled) question: when was the first female doctor employed at the Women's Hospital, and when the first male nurse?
 

Dennis Williams

Proud Brummie
Thanks, Dennis, for this fascinating thread: beautifully researched and illustrated.

You mention Dame Hilda Lloyd: I would like to learn more about this remarkable woman.
And you SHALL go to the Ball Cinders...

Dame Hilda Lloyd: First President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
Since earliest times, women have been looked after by women in their confinements. By the Middle Ages the profession of the female midwife, often an experienced older woman, was well recognised. The service of a male doctor was often frowned upon. Indeed, in 1522 a Dr Wertt of Hamburg was burned at the stake for attending a delivery dressed as a woman.
Not surprisingly, when women finally won the battle to enter the profession of medicine - it was in 1876 that the GMC (the General Medical Council) allowed women to register as medical practitioners - many of these women pioneers were attracted to the care of women and children. It was not long before women practitioners were earning high distinction in these fields. By 1949, the first woman had achieved the distinction of being elected President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG). Her name was Hilda Nora Lloyd.
The RCOG was founded in 1928. It was empowered to grant a diploma (DRCOG) and a Membership (MRCOG) by examination and to elect Fellows of the College. Its gestation had not taken place without some opposition from the gynaecologists themselves. Many gynaecologists regarded themselves first and foremost as surgeons, who happened to specialise in diseases of women. To them, the FRCS (Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons) was the required higher qualification. Indeed, the Fellowship of the Edinburgh College had specific sections on diseases of women for those wishing to specialise in this subject. A distinguished gynaecologist, Sir John Bland-Sutton, of the Middlesex Hospital even served as President of the English College in 1923 - 6. Until quite recently, aspiring gynaecologists were expected to undergo general surgical training and to obtain a Fellowship of one or other of the surgical colleges before embarking on their specialty postgraduate training.
As we shall see, the subject of this article was trained in the old school. Hilda Nora Shufflebotham was born in Birmingham in 1891, the younger of two daughters. Her father was a master grocer. She was a scholar at the King Edward Vl High School in that city before entering the Birmingham Medical School. She obtained her BSc and qualified with her MB, BCh in 1916. After house officer posts in London, she returned to Birmingham as resident in obstetrics and gynaecology, passed her FRCS in 1920 and got on the staffs of the Maternity and Women's Hospitals, having proved herself to be a skilful and energetic young surgeon. In 1930 she married Arthur Lloyd, a pathologist, who became professor of forensic medicine in Birmingham University two years later. They had no children.

Sorry if this is too long...to be CONTINUED if you want more?
 
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Dennis Williams

Proud Brummie
Errr, just in case I'm not spared tonight (I have possible man flu), I will assume you all answered in the affirmative, so here is the final flourish. By God she so deserves this for all you lovely Brummie women at least. Men you may look away now...

"Hilda Lloyd's interests were practical and clinical. She well understood the problems of poverty, STD's and illegal abortion among the poor women of Birmingham, and the obstetrical 'flying squad' that she pioneered saved the lives of many mothers and babies. She worked furiously; in 1944, in the middle of World War II, she was appointed professor of surgery in Birmingham University. She served on planning committees for cancer and radiotherapy, and for blood transfusion. She was on the hospital board of governors and the NHS maternity committee. She was greatly interested to be on the advisory board of the Royal College of Nursing.
Hilda Lloyd was elected a Fellow of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (FRCOG) in 1936 and was soon elected as an examiner and then onto the Council of the RCOG. In 1949 came the great accolade - she was elected the first female President of the College by her male peers. (In fact, to date she remains the only female president of the RCOG to have been elected). Inevitably, there was some opposition to her election from some members of Council but her ability, charm, tact and considerable presence made her two subsequent annual re-elections unanimous. During her term of office she admitted the then Princess Elizabeth as an honorary Fellow (1951) and also introduced the new and widely distributed College journal. She was appointed the first representative of the College on the General Medical Council and here she lost one of her few battles. In 1951 she failed to introduce obstetrics to follow the medicine and surgery posts as part of compulsory pre-registration training. Many, including myself, would say 'the more the pity'.
In 1951 Professor Lloyd was created DBE (Dame of the British Empire). She was a slim, fair, graceful woman. Her husband died in 1948 and the following year she married a widower, Baron Theodor Rose. He died in 1978. Dame Hilda moved to Worcestershire, where she died in 1982, in her 90th year, following a stroke. Three years later a memorial plaque was placed in the Birmingham Hospitals and there is a splendid portrait of Dame Hilda in the RCOG."

by Prof Harry Ellis


Dame Hilda Lloyd.jpg
 
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Thylacine

master brummie
Thanks indeed, Dennis, for sharing that. A remarkable woman indeed! :)

[Haven't you had your flu shot? Or am I misunderstanding "man flu"?]
 

Dennis Williams

Proud Brummie
A little story. In 1996, the World came to Brum, at least my small and specialised chunk of it did. I was proud to be part of the local welcoming group at the World meeting of the International Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology at the not long opened International Convention Centre in Broad Street. Hundreds of very experienced and senior Gynaecologists from almost every part of the globe, Americans, Aussies, Europeans and Far Eastern travellers flocked to our door. Took ten years to organise and plan.
Anyway, come the opening day I was probably the only Brummie on site, and not being a Doctor, just a humble Scientist, a bit nervous of mixing with all those polished and smooth Medics. The Conference Hall was packed as we waited for the opening address by the President, Joe Jordan (also from the Home team, but a Geordie by origins). Then a surprise item - who should stroll out but Carl Chinn. Now I have a brummie accent, but his is much fruitier. I thought OMG, this will be a disaster! They will never understand him and laugh him off the stage. How could I be so wrong??
From his very first Brummagem words of welcome he had them like a bunch of school children in his magical grasp. Just twenty minutes of chat about his beloved City and its history. The place was silent and more attentive than at any of the following three days worth of erudite lectures and debates. Folk leaning forward and glittery eyed and smiley. Don’t know how he did it, can’t remember a single word or phrase he used, but by the end of it, I am not ashamed to admit, tears of emotion were running down my face, such was the pride this brilliant man evoked in me. Then a tremendous ovation as he strolled off, grinning like a Villa fan that has just beaten us Bluenoses 5-0.

I think we are very lucky to have such a brilliant historian to represent everything that is good about our fair City. I’ve never met him before or after, just bought and devoured all his great books since that day. He is a true genius to me. One day I hope he gets his just reward of a knighthood. Now THAT would be a meeting of minds, Sir Carl and Her Maj…cor blimey our kid…I’ll go to the foot of our stairs…
 

ChrisM

Super Moderator
Staff member
Nice memoir, thanks, Dennis, in an interesting and valuable thread.

Chris
 
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