Next stop was Burton where we were again met by an ambulance. Bretby is about thee miles along the Ashby Road, at the gatehouse or lodge you turn left, then along a long drive to arrive at Bretby Hall. I then went through the usual rigmarole of goodbyes then a bath and so to the ward. As the children's ward was full, I was put in to Ward 5, which at that time was for 15 year olds upwards. I was 7, I seemed to get along OK with the rest of the patients, most of whom where suffering from TB which was quite prevalent at that time. Quite a few were on ‘tip up’ beds i.e. a fracture board was reared up at 45 degrees. Tied to the top of the high bed rail, the TB. infected leg was attached to a leg weight to try and straighten it, others with TB spines where on a Spiker that necessitated years in this prone position, the lads on 'tip up' beds were also there many years.
Visitors were only allowed once a fortnight and they had to walk the mile from the lodge gate because the bus did not come up the drive. A contest was therefore arranged, first prize being awarded for the relatives who were leaders through the gate to the hospital. All food brought was shared equally with all other patents, this worked well due to some patients having no visitors at all. I was there for bonfire night 1929, we all bought fireworks and these were pooled and ‘up patients’ were in charge of the display. Things seem to be going well until Wheetcroft, who had TB glands and so could walk about and help the nurses, dropped a lighted match in the whole box. Rockets were going in all directions, jumping jacks were all over the place ‑ it was the best firework display we had ever seen, it lasted fully five minutes. “Light another like that” everyone shouted, but that was the lot, the pooled fireworks of six wards had gone off in one foul swoop. Wheetcroft never lived that episode down.