Opening of isolation hospital

Keighley News: Opening of isolation hospital Opening of isolation hospital

The Keighley and Bingley Joint Isolation Hospital opened on “a most eligible site” at Morton Banks, in February, of 1897, and by the end of the year had treated 131 patients with infectious diseases, including two of the nurses, one of whom had contracted scarlet fever and the other typhoid fever.

Another 240 were admitted in 1898, including 67 with diphtheria. That year a further smallpox hospital was built a little higher up the hillside.

This pavilion was photographed in the hospital’s earlier years but it remained no less essential as the 20th century progressed. In 1938 there were 415 admissions, with diphtheria accounting for 286.

Mrs Shirley Shackleton, of Cross Roads, has described her experience of scarlet fever as a four-year-old in 1939. She was on holiday at Scarborough when her father noticed that “all the skin was peeling off” her hands and realised that she had caught scarlet fever from a Haworth boy who had played out while suffering from a mild form of it.

“The authorities had to be notified and the house fumigated,” recalls Mrs Shackleton. A Scarborough ambulance took her half-way to Keighley, where she was met by and transferred to the Morton Banks ambulance.

There she spent six weeks in “a high iron cot”. Her parents were only allowed to wave at her through the window once a week. She got home the day after war was declared.

The photograph was supplied by Mr Kevin Seaton, of Shann Lane, Keighley.

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