Former nurses share memories at 60th reunion

The nurses today, and below, in 1954
The nurses today, and below, in 1954
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they’re now in their late seventies – and the friendship between these former nurses who trained together in Leeds has spanned six decades.

The four returned to the city to revisit their old haunt, Roundhay Hall, now Spire Leeds Hospital.

Though they now live all over the country, the four have kept in touch over the past 60 years.

They gathered for a special Easter cream tea to recall the fun of working and living together at the old residential nurse training school in the 1950s.

Event organiser Sylvia Ford said: “We originally trained for four years at Roundhay Hall.

“We had great camaraderie, with everyone learning together.

“We have kept in touch for the last 60 years and between us have 14 children.”

The listed building was originally constructed in the 1820s and after being used as an annexe to Leeds General Infirmary in the Second World War, was bought by the hospital in 1945 for £25,000.

In 1951, it became home to the hospital’s residential nurse training school.

Sylvia, along with Maureen Lawrence and Enid Raw – all now 78 – and Kathleen Holdsworth, now 79, attended in 1954.

Their memories include the vastly different medical equipment.

Sylvia, who lives in Glaisdale near Whitby, said: “I remember seeing patients in the iron lung at Leeds infirmary and watching children who had hole in the heart surgery recover and become rosy after being blue.”

Maureen Lawrence, from Scotton, near Knaresborough, said they also recalled the very strict uniform policy all the nurses had to adhere to.

“We wore compulsory black laces and stockings,” she said.

“Shoes had to come from Freeman, Hardy and Willis, and fingernails had to be short and unvarnished. We also went dancing at the Mecca in Leeds and but always had to be chaperoned by the sister.”

Maureen and Kathleen both went on to become housewives, with Kathleen now living in Coventry,

Enid and Sylvia married farmers and farmed in East Yorkshire.

A fifth friend, Sheila, was due to attend the reunion from her home in Canada but was taken ill before leaving.

The ladies enjoyed their tea party in the former dining room of the nurses’ school, now the physiotherapy gym.


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