They’re Rightly Proud of Fullerton – Saga of a Hospital

June 1969

South Yorkshire Times June 14, 1969

They’re Rightly Proud of Fullerton

Saga of a Hospital

Denaby Main is very proud of the Fullerton Hospital whose grounds are one of the beauty spots of the village.

The foundation alone was laid on October 22nd, 1904, by Mr. .1. S. Fullerton, and It wail officially opened on July 8th, 1905, by Mr J Buckingham Pope, of Denaby and Cadeby Collieries. It was built to serve the mining population of the area and was maintained by the weekly donation of the  employees of Denahy and Cadeby Collieries.

it was only small when first opened with perhaps 10 beds in the main ward, a small ward off this for children, and, near the entrance, another small ward, which would accommodate about three beds.

Between the two wards was the nurses’ dining room, which was also used for their office.

It had a small operating theatre and out-patients’ department and the usual kitchen accommodation, and also a laundry and a Board Room in which the committee held their weekly meetings.

The Board of Management was composed of officials ‘ from the local collieries and the workmen’s representatives.

ln Turner’s “Mexborough and Swinton and Don Valley Almanack for 1907,” the following details are given about the hospital: President, Mr. J. Soar; vice-president, Mr. V. Rose; trustees, Messrs. W. ‘H. Chambers, J. Cooper, J. Marriott, T. Weston and the Rev. J. Brookes; treasurer, Mr. H. S. Witty; secretary, Mr. J.                and committee members, Messrs. G; Booth, J. Hassall, J. Makin, T. W. Mosby, V. Jackson, M. Kaye, R. Wimpenny, S. J. Bridges, J. Springthorpe, W. V. Simpkins, E. Stribley, W. Wright, E. Trout, A. Thorpe and E. Croxall.

The nursing staff at that time was composed of Nurse Grace Pepper and Nurse E. Steel. Later a Nurse Stead joined the staff.

Double Service.

The colliery doctors became the honorary medical staff, which in the early years of the hospital included Dr. F. G. Twigg (Denaby), Dr. J. J. Huey (Mexborough), and Dr. W. J. Maclure and Dr. Foster (Conisbrough).

Later the doctors included Dr. John MacArthur, Dr. Ford, Dr. T. Lindsay, Dr. D. N. Bell and Dr. D. Clark.

In course of time the hospital was extended, for the betterment of the district it served. It had an excellent X-ray installed, the operating theatre was enlarged and it had a good out-patients’ department. Later a new building was provided for a physiotherapy department and consulting rooms for the consultants and with accommodation for a nurses’ home in the form of a flat over these departments.

The wards were extended and the bed occupancy became one of 41 beds. The small ward at the entrance was extended and became the women’s ward. The extensions and extra amenities meant higher costs and from time to time the Board of Management had to approach the subscribers for an increase in their weekly contributions, and, let it be said, the increases were never refused by the employees, because they were proud of their little hospital and knew that it meant better conditions and service for those who happened to need hospital treatment.

At the time of the changeover in 1948 each adult employee contributed 7d. per week for the hospital service, and 5d. per week for the colliery doctors, and those under 18 years paid half subscription.

These contributions ceased when the State took control. All the colliery accidents which required hospital treatment were dispatched to the ‘Fullerton’ and the doctor informed according to the district in which the patient lived. The doctors gave service day and night according to the treatment required.

Nurses Steel and Stead were eventually given the status and rank of ‘Sister’ and they were later joined by ‘Sister Brighton, who had previously served as staff nurse, but left to take further training qualifications. In due course Sisters Steel and Stead retired and the Board then appointed Sister Brighton as the first Matron of the hospital.

The hospital was at first confined to the use and treatment of the local colliery employees and their wives and children, but later employees of other industries in the district were admitted to the contributing scheme.

As the hospital extended, further suggestions were made by the medical staff and consultants were engaged from Sheffield hospitals to advise and were available to perform operations there.

This was a great move and many of our older readers will recall with pride the excellent operational work performed by the late Col. Connell, Mr. Houldsworth and Mr. Fawcett, all from Sheffield, and also by local surgeons, the late Dr. John MacArthur and the late Dr. Lindsay.

The ‘Fullerton’ created its own image which became widespread as one of the best equipped small hospitals in South Yorkshire, and as a hospital which served well, was known for its cleanliness, brightness. homely atmosphere, and added to this a high standard of efficiency and attention.

Many Types

In July, 1948, the hospital came under the jurisdiction of the Doncaster Hospital Management Committee. It should be known that the ‘Fullerton’ is not now just a place where you convalesce, it is an “Acute Hospital and many types of patients receive treatment there, including patients transferred from Doncaster Royal Infirmary.

Those people who at the time of changeover to State control wero serving on the Board of Management, formed themselves into the Fullerton Hospital Voluntary Aid Fund Committee, better known as the Comforts Fund Committee. With the aid of many local people, organisations and clubs, etc they have been able to provide several amenities for the benefit of its patients,

On the retirement of Miss Brighton some years ago, Miss Wall, from Montagu Hospital. Mexborough, was appointed the second Matron and when she left to take other duties, Miss Tutin, who was then the Administrative Sister, was appointed Matron.

Miss Tutin had been very anxious for some time that the hospital should have a ‘Day Room,’ and, in the many renovations and added amenities made by the Doncaster Committee, the scheme included a fine ‘Day Room,’ which was opened last year and is much appreciated by staff and patients, the latter particularly.

This was partly furnished by the Comforts Fund Committee. and assistance was given by Doncaster Hospital Comforts Fund Committee and Doncaster Hospital Management Committee. The ‘Fullerton Hospital’ has its own image and it is a good one.

One cannot conclude an article of this type without paying a final tribute to those of the medical staffs, nursing staffs, ancillary staffs and members of the Board of Management, who in their day and generation have given such faithful service to a hospital which has served the community so well.

Those who helped to build and equip it are entitled to be justly proud of their village hospital.