Sunday, 6 September 2009

50th Anniversary Brochure - part 4


The hospital was first recognised by the Board of Education as a special school in 1920, and has had qualified teachers on the staff ever since that date. There are now a head teacher and four assistant teachers, who are on the staff of the West Riding Education Committee. The facilities afforded for the teaching staff cannot be regarded as entirely adequate, but it has been possible to make minor improvements for storage of equipment and for accommodating staff.

As far as possible the ordinary school curriculum is followed. A recent report by one of the Inspectors of the Ministry of Education expressed the highest satisfaction with the standard of work carried out in the school. An annual feature of the school's work is a painting competition organised by the local section of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, for which " Wilfred Pickles " and " Sir Malcolm Sargent " Cups are presented for the best entries.

Apart from the reading material provided by the school the West Riding County Council provide a library service.


Throughout its fifty years' history. Marguerite Hepton Hospital has had highly skilled medical and nursing staff, who have been able to inspire the necessary confidence in the patients. Even since the Second World War, when most hospitals have been desperately short of nursing staff, Marguerite Hepton Hospital has been able to attract staff of the highest calibre. Since 1951 it has been recognised as a training school for the Certificate of the British Orthopaedic Association in conjunction with Pinderfields General Hospital at Wakefield. A full-time Tutor was appointed in January 1952 and gradually the arrangements for nurse-teaching purposes have been improved, with provision for both theoretical and practical training. Students are enrolled at an average age of 16 and their training at Marguerite Hepton Hospital takes them up to the preliminary examination: they then proceed to Pinderfields General Hospital for the final part of the Certificate course. The hospital is also recognised by the General Nursing Council for children's training for Pupil Assistant Nurses.


In concluding this brief survey of the hospital the Committee recognise that the success of the treatment carried out at the hospital is due in large measure to the enthusiastic devotion of the staff, and take this opportunity of thanking all past and present members, who have made such a wonderful contribution to the fifty years that have passed since 1910.

50th Anniversary Brochure - part 3


In 1948, under the terms of the National Health Service Act of 1946, the Marguerite Hepton Hospital became a National Health Service Hospital administered by the Leeds (Group B) Hospital Management Committee. Thus ended an era in the life of the hospital and the record of achieve­ment from its first beginning is impressive when it is remembered that the hospital was mainly dependent for financial assistance on voluntary efforts.

It is impossible in this chronicle to mention all the gifts and benefactors of the Society over the years, or the tremendous amount of work and time given voluntarily by members of the Committee and its many helpers. Briefly, the main sources of income during these years were from ' the Leeds City Council and the West Riding County Council in return for maintenance of patients in the hospital, annual subscriptions, donations, endowments, District Guilds all over the City of Leeds, Charity Balls, the Leeds University Students' Rag, Rotary Clubs; B.B.C. Appeals, Flag Days, Sewing Meetings, Garden Fetes, Christmas Markets and gifts of eggs (an average of 5,000 per year). A typical example of service to patients was the " Birthday Club," run for many years by the late Mrs. Stirk.

It is perhaps invidious to draw a distinction between the importance of these gifts but one deserving special mention was a gift scheme organised in 1925 by Mrs. Edward Lane-Fox, at one time Chairman of the Hospital Committee, and Mr. J. R. Cross, as a result of which 44 purses of £50 each were presented in the Majestic Picture House, Leeds, to Her Royal Highness, Princess Mary, who subsequently honoured the hospital with a visit. The final sum collected from this scheme was £3,700.


The visiting of' patients over the years has often been difficult, largely owing to the infrequent transport services. In the early days, visitors from Leeds attended by train; subsequently bus services made things easier, and a great deal is owed to the West Yorkshire Road Car Co., which has provided special buses from Leeds on Saturdays and Sundays and augmented normal weekday services as and when necessary. Many visitors also now come by car. Thus, visiting has expanded gradually since 1949, when two wards were opened to visitors each week, to daily visiting since April 1959. The Wetherby Division of the Women's Voluntary Service has undertaken the provision of light refreshments to visitors on Saturday afternoons.

There has always been a close association between the hospital and the Religious Bodies and the visiting Chaplains have found their work amongst the patients most rewarding. Religious instruction and services are necessarily carried out at the bedside, but in 1956 an Altar Cupboard and furnishing was fixed in the Physiotherapy Department so that more formal services could be held when occasion demanded.

The hospital, in spite of national control, has continued to enjoy support from all kinds of organisations in the district, and perhaps particular mention should be made of the achievement of the parents of patients and ex-patients, who promoted an appeal in 1954 to provide television sets on each of the four wards. £900 was raised and as a result seven sets were presented to the hospital by Mr. J. Wright, the Honorary Treasurer of the Fund. A radio relay system also operates, including headphones for the older children: as the B.B.C. Schools Broadcasts form part of the educational curriculum, the West Riding Education Committee contributed to the cost of this installation.

A sound cinema projector was given by Mr. E. Blackburn in 1949 for use of the hospital and film shows are given each week in the winter months; a good film library has now been built up, films having been purchased from time to time from donations received.

Other features of the patients' social life are the establishment of a Boy Scout Troop, a Girl Guide Company and a Cub Pack, which have been run most enthusiastically. One patient, Miss Shirley Slee, was awarded the Girl Guide's V.C. in 1951. It is a source of the greatest satisfaction to know that the boys and girls continue with these activities after discharge from hospital.

50th Anniversary Brochure - part 2


In 1918 the Society had to face the problem of extending the accommodation for domestic staff which, in spite of a steady increase in the number of patients, had not been altered since the Home was founded. It was decided to launch a Public Appeal and the magnificent sum of £1080 was subscribed. Just at this time, however news of the death of Lt. William Hepton, one of the Trustees, was received and Mr Arthur Hepton, his father, again came forward and offered a gift of £5000 to defray the cost of extensions, in memory of his son. This offer was gratefully accepted and work commenced on the alterations in August 1920 which were completed in 1921. An extension of the existing verandah, a new kitchen, additional bedrooms and bathrooms were provided and from the moneys raised by the Public Appeal the Committee of Management was able to add a milk room and provide furnishings and equipment. The extensions were opened on the 28th of May 1921 by Mr Hepton.

In the same year a new sluice was added to the Riley-Smith Wing, the cost being partly defrayed by Mrs Cochrane. Mr John Halliday, the then President of Leeds Invalid Children’s Aid Society, presented a single-story building to provide bathrooms for domestic staff and an operating theatre and plaster rooms were opened.

The work of the hospital continued to expand and towards 1930 there were again accommodation difficulties for residential staff, particularly nursing staff. The night staff were living temporarily in a wooden block situated in the grounds of Thorp Arch Approved School, adjacent to the hospital. This was a most unsatisfactory arrangement and plans were drawn up for a new Nurses Home on two floors within the hospital grounds. The building was completed in 1932 at a cost of £5000

In 1936, following a gift from Mr. Hepton of land adjoining the Home for future extension and development, the Society decided that henceforth the Home should be known as the Marguerite Hepton Memorial Orthopaedic Hospital, in recognition of the many generous gifts which Mr. Hepton had made over a long period. In this year too the hospital received its first X-ray equipment.


On the outbreak of War in 1939 the safety of patients accommodated in the several small hutments in the hospital grounds had to be considered from the point of view of air raid precautions and the close proximity of a Royal Ordnance Factory. It was decided to replace the hutments by a permanent brick structure and this was completed in 1942 at a cost of £5,000. This Block to-day accommodates Wards 3 and 4, but the original design was for one Ward only. The subsequent division into two Wards has made difficulties in the ancillary departments, but these were partially overcome by alterations carried out in 1958.

By the end of the Second World War the number of patients that could be accommodated in the hospital was 90, ten times the original number first catered for in 1910, and the Committee of Management realised that the facilities of the hospital should be modernised and improved to meet the present requirements. A scheme of development was accordingly prepared.

Between. 1945 and 1948 two Airey Houses were erected in the grounds to provide married quarters for the resident medical officer and the maintenance handyman. A sluice room was added to Ward 3 and a recreational building provided for the nursing staff. Plans for the provision of a new building at the rear of the hospital, to accommodate a new operating theatre, X-ray department and an emergency ward have not yet been implemented.

50th Anniversary Brochure - part 1


On the 16thApril 1960, the Marguerite Hepton Memorial Orthopaedic Hospital reached the 50th anniversary of its foundation. Throughout this period extensions and improvements have been in progress to meet the changing pattern of treatment which the medical staff have required for their patients and it is obvious from the progress made that there has never been a want of benefactors to make this development possible.

It was in 1910 that the Leeds Invalid Children’s Aid Society was formed with the following objects:

1. To help to provide surgical apparatus, crutches and spinal carriages.

2.To arrange and help to pay for the maintenance of crippled and invalid children in Convalescent Homes and also the Marguerite Home, Thorp Arch.

3. To provide upkeep of the Marguerite Home.

4.To visit in their homes and teach in groups or individually the crippled and permanently invalided children of the City of Leeds who were too delicate to attend normal day schools.

5. to provide and serve daily a hot midday dinner at the Clarendon House Special School for Cripples.

It is with the second object that this Chronicle is concerned.


The opening of the Marguerite Home on the 16th of April, 1910, became possible when Mr Arthur F.L. Hepton of Leeds (later of Harrogate), presented the Society with a house of ten rooms at Thorp Arch as a thank offering for the recovery of his daughter Marguerite from a serious illness. The house was converted into a Convalescent Home for crippled children, and named the Marguerite Home. A Committee of Management consisting of members of the Society was appointed to administer the affairs of the Home.

Shortly before the outbreak of the First World War Mr Hepton made a further generous gift of £500 to the Society in memory of his wife, with the wish that the money be invested and interest, at least during the first few years, be applied to the improvement of the grounds around the Home, including the provision of trees.

The first expansion of the hospital buildings took place in 1915, when anew wing was completed through the generosity of Mr W. Riley-Smith of Tadcaster. The wing, known as the Riley Smith Wing, was a single –storey building and contained two wards for use as an observation unit and for the treatment of minor infections, three bedrooms for nurses, a dining room, a kitchen and bathroom. A verandah along the front of the wards made it practical for patients to be in the open air except in the severest weather. This feature of the hospital treatment has continued right up to the present time.

Mr Riley-Smith, shortly after the end of the First World War, presented to the Home the “Douglas Shelter” fully equipped. Four other shelters were presented, three by Mrs Robert Hudson in memory of her son, Colonel R.A. Hudson, who was killed during the war, and the other by school pupils. These shelters were ideal for open air treatment and isolation purposes. They were wooden in construction and of the chalet type of building used extensively in sanatoria.