Macclesfield Auxiliary Military Hospital

Macclesfield Auxiliary Military Hospital was set up in the workhouse hospital, which was adjacent to Macclesfield Workhouse on Prestbury Road, Macclesfield. The first patients were admitted on 27th July, 1916.

 

Macclesfield Military Hospital first patients from the Somme 1916

Photo courtesy Mary Ann Turnbull: September 1916 “Home from the Push – Boys Wounded 1st July 1916”

Macclesfield’s workhouse was originally sited in the town’s yard, which was located adjacent to the present Arighi Bianchi furniture store, on the corner of the Silk Road and Buxton Road, Macclesfield. A new workhouse, built on land in Prestbury Road in 1845, included a workhouse infirmary; later additions were a fever hospital (completed in 1854) and an extra hospital block (completed 1881). More information about the Prestbury Road workhouse – the address of which, often given on birth and death certificates, was 84 Prestbury Road – can be found on the Workhouses website.

Today the remaining part of the main workhouse building has been converted into apartments and is known as The Clocktower, while the old hospital building, previously used by the NHS as part of the adjacent Macclesfield District General Hospital, have also recently been converted to homes. The road around the former workhouse buildings is now known as West Park Drive and can be seen on this map.

The photograph above shows the end of the hospital block, with the Nurses Home in the background. The photograph below shows a similar view as it is today. Note that the left hand window in the photo above has been replaced with a door.

 

An article about the opening of the hospital was printed in the Macclesfield Courier of 29th July 1916:

OUR NEW MILITARY HOSPITAL IN PRESTBURY ROAD – ARRIVAL OF 50 WOUNDED SOLDIERS

A rumour was current in the town last weekend that a number of wounded soldiers had arrived at the newly-equipped military hospital at the Macclesfield Workhouse. Those who knew something of the work of getting ready and equipping  a hospital entirely disregarded the rumour, as they considered it impossible to have got ready for wounded soldiers in the short time the Union authorities had had…

It is only a little over a fortnight ago that the Board of Guardians finally settled matters for converting the Workhouse hospital into a military hospital… they appointed the Workhouse Master (Mr J H Lingard) the Commandant, and the Matron (Mrs Lingard), who is a fully qualified and trained nurse, the Matron of the new military hospital… at the present time there is plenty of room in the “[work]house” proper, and infirm inmates have been moved from their special block into the House… the inmates of the hospital, together with all the beds and equipment, were moved into the quarters vacated by the inform, and there they will remain until… the hospital buildings are no longer required for the treatment of wounded soldiers.

Now, the six spacious wards which constitute the hospital block being… empty, the Commandant and Matron were faced with the task of fitting them up… Where a fortnight ago there was neither stick nor chattel today there are the neat iron hospital bedsteads, covered with snow white linen; there are lockers and tables, screens and couches… In addition there is in every ward… a variety of plants which give a charming appearance… the Matron has received… gifts of plants from Miss Gaskell, of Ingersley Hall; Mrs Bickerton, of Thorneycroft Hall; Mr Bull, gardener at Tytherington Hall; Mr Hanna, of the Market Place, and Mr Gouldson, of Chestergate.

The magnitude of fitting up the six wards, which have a total accommodation for 101 patients, may be gathered from the fact that for every bed, fourteen different articles of clothing are required, and for the sheets alone over a thousand yards of material has been cut up. All the necessary sewing has been done by the seamstress and the inmates under the supervision of the Matron. In addition, they have made screen covers, cushion covers, etc, having made in all between 4,000 and 5,000 different articles… Hundreds of bandages, splints, leg rests, and the various other things required… have had to be provided… Dr J B Hughes has been appointed medical officer and Mrs Lingard will have full charge of the nursing staff. Three fully qualified trained nurses were appointed by the Guardians a short time ago, and on Tuesday last, at a special meeting of the Hospital Committee, four assistant nurses were engaged.

This will make a staff of seven nurses and the matron, but as both day and night duty will have to be provided for… it would be quite impossible for this staff to do the work if all six wards are occupied… members of the nursing section of the local St John Ambulance Brigade… [have offered assistance]… Thus it will be seen that… the new military hospital was quite ready from Monday last to receive fifty wounded men immediately, and now they can deal with a hundred cases if necessary…

This is something of which not only the Guardians but the town generally may feel proud, and when the unfortunate brave fellows… arrive at our new military hospital they will find themselves as comfortably located and as skilfully and tenderly cared for as in any place… The grounds surrounding the hospital are looking very bright and gay, and we are sure that… [the] surroundings are of such a character that they will dissipate the erroneous but generally held belief that anything associated with a “workhouse” is something to be avoided. … proud as we are of the splendid work which has been done at the General Infirmary and at Hurdsfield House we shall have equal cause for pride in our newly-established military hospital in Prestbury Road.

…an intimation was sent to the new Military Hospital on Thursday morning that 50 cases would be despatched from the Winwick Military Hospital [Warrington], and that they would arrive in time for dinner at mid-day… the first arrivals were received at just about eleven o’clock… The cases are all of such a character that whilst medical skill and good nursing are essential, most of them will… not be confined to bed all along.

The new arrivals soon began to make themselves at home in their new “billet,” and one jocularly observed that they were being knocked about a bit, first taken to a Lunatic Asylum (Winwick) and then to a Workhouse. The retort to this was that they had been brought to one of the most attractive Workhouses int he North of England… in addition he need not mourn at having left a Lunatic Asylum as he was even now quite close to a very large institution of that character…

Amongst those who lent cars to remove the men from Winwick to Macclesfield were Mr Gerald Higginbotham and Mr J Birchenough.

 

The Macclesfield Auxiliary Military Hospital admission registers are held by Cheshire Archives (Ref. LGM 4/1) and have been transcribed by the Macclesfield Group of the Family History Society of Cheshire. The first admissions on 27th July 1916 were (in surname order):

Private J Ainsley, age 20, 14778 7th E. Yorks
Private A Baker, age 25, 6848 2nd E. Sussex
Private J Beck, age 21, 17244 11th R. Irish Rifles
Private W Chard, age 37, 20035 8th Devons
Private A Clark, age 22, 15967 10th Sherwoods
Private P Connolly, age 34, 4254 Leinsters
Private F Crompton, age 25, 15119 24th Manchesters
Private J Daley, age 39, 12682 1st K.O.R.L.
Sergeant E Davis, age 24, 19174 9th Y & Lancs
Lance-Corporal A Dew, age 28, 18596 6th Wilts
Private W Drury, age 20, 10143 11th E. Lancs
Private A Edwards, age 27, 12163 8th Som. L.I.
Private H Gibb, age 21, 8740 8th B. Watch
Private W Gledhill, age 24, 27429 10th Yorks
Private J Godfrey, age 39, 6708 1st E. Yorks
Private T Gray, age 20, 10838 1st Dorsets
Private W Harrison, age 20, 14783 8th Border Regt
Private H Hudson, age 27, 19364 12th Northumberland Fus
Corporal E Johnson, age 21, 14683 9th Leicesters
Private A Kellock, age 21, 12156 9th Essex
Private F Kenny, age 41, 6275 Camn. Highds.
Private A Lane, age 42, 47393 4th R. W. Fus
Private E Larby, age 35, 6357 2nd R. Sussex
Private J Larner, age 36, 4744 4th Middlx
Private R Lawler, age 20, 21399 12th W. Yorks
Private L Lloyd, age 42, 22685 109/1 T.M.B.
Private T Lyle, age 22, 9383 2nd Gordons
Bombardier J Middlemore, age 32, 28133 125th Batt. RFA
Lance-Corporal D Moran, age 32, 7802 2nd R. Irish
Lance-Corporal D Murphy, age 22, 10203 6th Q.R.W.S.
Private S Olley, age 23, 21713 8th Leicesters
Private S Organ, age 24, 2164 12th Middlesex
Private T Parker, age 43, 1477 23rd Northd. Fus
Private F Pearson, age 20, 276 18th W. Yorks
Private T Raine, age 28, 18470 7th Border Regt
Private H Reynolds, age 23, 755 15th W. Yorks
Sapper E Righton, age 21, 42898 R.E. 79th F.D.
Private H Rutherford, age 42, 2495 2nd K.O.Y.L.
Private E Rutter, age 22, 5069 8th E. Surr.
Private G Sheffield, age 26, 338 16t Middx
Private Shufflebotham, age 34, 7482 17th M.G.C.
Sergeant W Snowling, age 24, 16834 7th Norfolk
Private J Stokes, age 25, 2030 1/4 S. Lancs
Private J Stott, age 29, 1153 18th W Yorks
Private R Wardle, age 31, 1159 21st Northd. F.
Private P Warren, age 35, 14346 7th Leicesters
Sapper D Weaver, age 20, 79078 R.E.
Private J Welsh, age 27, 17322 R.D.F.
Private J Wilson, age 27, 6382 9th Seaforths
Private G Wright, age 35, 2577 4 London

 

SOURCES

Thanks to Maryann Turnbull for information and a copy of the postcard of Macclesfield Auxiliary Military Hospital, shown above, sent by her great-aunt Alice Colburn (believed to have been a nurse at the hospital) to her brother on 26th September 1916.

 

Listed below are people who have been researched who are known to have worked or been treated at Macclesfield Auxiliary Military Hospital: