We have been contacted by Gary McCormick, who was a patient for two years at The White House on the seafront in Milford on Sea. Gary was eleven when he was admitted to the sanatorium (although everyone referred to it as a hospital). He stayed for two years around 1958 and he was also joined by both his brother and sister, all were suffering from TB. At that time The White House was for children only and treated TB, Asthma, and other bad chest infections.
He recalls that twice a week all the kids who could walk, went to the village with two nurses in charge. Once there, they would buy sweets from the newsagents if they had any money. This was followed by a walk to the Pleasure Gardens, where there was an old derelict house which the kids thought was haunted.
Monday night was Sea Scouts night. Gary and his friend were the only two scout members from The White House, and Scoutmaster, Charles Anderson would travel each week from Everton to collect them. In the summer of 1958 Charles Anderson took Gary and Graham Daw on a trip to the Isle of Wight with the local Sea Scout Troop.
The people Gary remembers who worked in the hospital were; the full time school teachers; Mrs Campbell for the seniors, Mrs Sims for the juniors and Mrs Potter looking after the infants. On the nursing side was Sister Thomas, Staff Nurses Butt and Jordan, Nurses Crocker, Nunn, Scott and Reilly. Staff Nurse Butt was the boys favourite, as she let them have her record player and Rock and Roll records on their ward. Staff Nurse Jordan lodged with Mr Fisher, who looked after the hospital grounds and lived in a bungalow right next to the hospital. There were two auxiliary workers Uncle Robbie (Robert Hewison) who came from Hordle and Uncle Ziggy who Gary believes was and ex German POW. His wife Freda was a cook in the hospital kitchen.
Gary also recalls going on Hospital outings, such as to the circus in Highcliffe, and to a Christmas Pantomime at the Winter Gardens in Bournemouth. Every few months they were sent for X-rays at Milford on Sea hospital and dental check-ups in Bournemouth.
Other than his brother, sister and Graham Daw, all of whom were also patients, Gary never saw any of the other kids again. He knows that some fellow patients, Brian Golding, his twin brother and their sister, Jenifer all came from Sway, so perhaps they are still around locally.
Gary went on to spend two years at sea with the Cunard Line, before spending the rest of his working life in engineering. Today Gary lives in Chandlers Ford near Southampton.
Our thanks go to Gary for taking the time to share his vivid childhood memories and some delightful photographs from the time.
To see more of Gary’s photographs of his time at The White House, please click link below: