The Wildgoose Chase

I met Chelsea Pensioner Walter Wildgoose in 1977 when he was 87 and I was 26. Through a series of letters written over the last year of his life, he passed along his life story - the workhouse children's home, a life in the British Army witnessing the opening battles of World War I and life in India, a remarkable family surviving the bombs of World War II London. This blog will document my research and progress on the novel I'm writing about this amazing man.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Diphtheria and Lodge Moor Isolation Hospital

In 1903, Walter developed diphtheria, known as the "strangling angel of children," and had to be moved away from his residence at the Sheffield Children's Homes to Lodge Moor Isolation Hospital. The hospital was built in the 1880s (I find conflicting dates) and closed (I think) in the early 1980s. It was used to house German POWs in World War II. Imposing place, eh?

Here's Walter's brief account of his bout with the disease:

During the year, I developed a bad attack of diphtheria, and I was moved to Lodge Moor Isolation Hospital, an open air department, with all windows open. I stayed there for four weeks. Then I returned to the Home.

If anyone has more complete information about Lodge Moor's history or the impact of diseases like diphtheria on children in the early 20th century, please comment or email me. I'm always on the lookout for solid information. By the way, a great resource for online photographs of the Sheffield area can be found at Be forewarned - you can find yourself rattling around this site for hours!
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posted by MaryB @ 9:04 AM  


  • At 9:27 AM , Anonymous Anne Burns said...

    thanks for that info on Lodge Moor Hospital. I am researching family history and a relative died I believe of TB aged 24 in 1900 but the 1891 finds her age 15 a patient of Lodge Moor. She seems to be the only non local there being far from her home by the sea in Kent, the other end of England.

  • At 7:00 PM , Blogger MaryB said...

    Wow, Anne - if you find out anything more about the hospital, I'd love to know about it. Glad I could help!

  • At 3:40 PM , Blogger Tara said...

    I was thrilled to bits when I saw this post!! I worked here in 1992 as a nursing Auxiliary before I did my training and I remember it being one of the happiest times ever. It was just a really special place. I worked on elderly care( North 5) The views were fantastic, it was isolated as were the requirements for the original hospital and each ward was originally seperate. by the time I got there there were long corridors linking all the wards together, for ease of movement around the hospital.By then West ward was the isolation block comprising of floor to ceiling individual rooms for patients which had a door and a window rather like a sash one where food and medicines etc could be passed through. porters had little buggys to ride around on for delivering supplies etc. Meal breaks were a bit of a nightmare, it would be a 15 min walk from my ward to the canteen!! The clock tower in your picture still stands I think, since that and the original Nurses home was given listed status and is now a housing estate. I cried buckets when I had to leave. The loss of these places and the people in them means a loss of the real essence of the NHS and Nursing.

  • At 7:55 PM , Blogger MaryB said...

    Tara - Thank you for telling me what it was like to work at Lodge Moor. So glad you had a happy experience!

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  • At 12:20 PM , Anonymous clare ward said...

    I was a patient in Lodge Moor, as a 6 year old, in 1981. I was in the isolation ward. No one really knew what was wrong with me, but they clearly thought it was something nasty. I remember it as being a rather scary experience; my mother was allowed to visit during the day but only wearing a surgical scrubs type outfit. I had to endure strict/unsympathetic night nurses (my only company in the evening) who were very fond of giving bed baths and nasty tasting medicine. I was not able to leave my room. I spent most of my time reading Enid Blyton books and was v upset when I was unable to take anything I had used/been in possession of during my stay home with me, as that included all the presents/cards I had received.


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