Memories of The National Childrens' Home Sanatorium

When TB was prevalent

My maiden name was Tyler and I was born in Letchworth in 1937. My father had TB and was being nursed by my mother at home. He passed away in 1948 at the age of thirty-nine. As I was diagnosed with suspected TB just prior to my seventh birthday (25 November 1944) I was taken by my mother to Harpenden on 26 November.

I remember being confined to bed and sleeping outside on a veranda with a tarpaulin which was pulled down at night emptying its contents of earwigs over the beds. I seem to remember that there were about five of us on the veranda at this time. I might add that we were being looked after by some very kind Polish nurses.

After this preliminary treatment, life was much as in a boarding school with the addition of medical check-ups, cod liver oil and fresh air. One memory that does remain was that on VE day we were taken around Harpenden on a trailer pulled by a tractor, seated on straw bales and waving Union Jacks.

Comments about this page

  • I too was a patient in the Sanatorium from January 1940 to the end of January 1941. I remember Sister Edith was the sister in charge. We had to have an hour’s rest in the afternoons when, in fine weather, we would lie out on sunbeds on the front lawns. Our school had sliding panels which could opened in fine weather to give us the chance to have our lessons in an open air environment. In the playground was a large wooden building with an open front. If we were out in the playground and it started to rain we could then shelter in this building and still benefit from being in the open air. I recently visited what is now the Kings School and was able to identify all the rooms that I remembered from my time there.

    By John Olley (03/05/2012)

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published.