Memories of Marple Children's Orthopaedic Hospital

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This letter was passed on to me by Marple Local History Society Chair Hilary Atkinson and I have since spoken to Ken Chaisty and obtained his permission to reproduce his letter and photographs on the web site. If anyone has information that may help Ken in his search for his lost friends or if you would like to correspond with him about Marple Orthopaedic Hospital then in the first instance please get in touch with Mark Whittaker through the web site contacts page.

For images of Marple Children's Orthopaedic Hospital visit the Virtual History Tour Treetops Album.

To make contact with others who were treated or worked at the hospital visit the Marple Website Forum

Marple Children's Orthopaedic Hospital - can you help Ken?

Dear Hilary,

Ken Chaisty at Marple Orthopaedic
Hospital between 1949-51

We met a couple of weeks ago in Marple Library when I was trying to find information about Marple Orthopaedic Hospital.

I have since been on the Marple Website and I have had a look at the “Virtual Tour” photographs. Some of the surroundings shown are familiar to me but there didn’t seem to be any from my period in the hospital, which was 1949 – 1951. There are some from 1953 and there is a photo of a group of nurses from that year, so maybe some of them would have looked after me.

Please find enclosed some photos from my own stay in the hospital. One is of me on my own and another with my mum on the veranda. My bed was pushed out through the veranda doors and there I remained until it rained. I am not sure if the building behind me is still there.

I spent about two years in Marple and only had minimal schooling, say once or twice a week, so I had to catch up when I went back to school. I remember the day when I was measured for my calliper and then I had to wait for it to be made before I could at last get out of bed and walk. I had been bed-bound for more than a year.

I had a T.B. knee as the result of an accident. Twice a day, once in the morning and once in the afternoon, I had an injection with what seemed to be a very large syringe and an even larger needle! One particular nurse didn’t put the needle in the right place and to this day the area is still numb.

After many weeks of these injections my consultant or surgeon Mr. Milner came. He visited once a month with another consultant, Mr. Winston, and they had a certain amount of patients each. I would be taken to the operating theatre and without any painkillers or anaesthetic large syringes where inserted into my knee, which was like a football in size, and the puss was drawn out. Nurses held me down by my arms and legs – of course I cried but was told not to be soft – that’s just the way it was in those days. The needle-marks remained for years after before they finally disappeared.

I remember a BBC Radio programme coming to the hospital to be recorded. This of course went out live, much like those in the photos on the web site. We also used to have a film show from time to time, when our beds would be pushed into the girls’ ward to watch the films.

Another memory is that visiting was usually once a month on Saturday and Sunday but there was a smallpox epidemic in the Manchester area one time, so we didn’t have any visitors for about four months. Instead our parents would turn up at the main entrance and we would be pushed out on to the veranda and all of us would wave and shout messages to them.

The other patients I remember clearly were Keith Jones, Peter Barker and Roger Waters and this is where the story gets interesting. Roger and myself are in a photo arm-in-arm with our injured legs, short pants and our snake belts, which were very popular at the time. I’m sure Roger didn’t live locally, as he spoke without a northern accent. I always wondered if my friend Roger Waters is the one from the world-famous group ‘Pink Floyd’. I’ve enclosed some press cuttings of Pink Floyd’s Roger – compare these with my friend as a lad, in particular his nose and his left ear and also his smile. Roger Waters and I are around the same age and I understand that Roger Waters of Pink Floyd came from Cambridge, which I’m told is around 280 miles from Marple, so I think that it is feasible to be brought that far for treatment, as Marple was a specialist hospital.

Ken Chaisty (left) with his friend Roger Waters.

How would I find medical records from my time in hospital? I would certainly like to pinpoint all the names mentioned and that would be the key. Where do I start? Could you help in any way? It has been such a long time and I am not sure of the length of stay, when I was admitted or discharged. Now I feel I would like to know more about that part of my life as it is very important to me.

I went on to have a very successful amateur football career, playing from my school days until well into my thirties. I was very lucky!

I also mentioned when we spoke that we have a thriving Heritage Society in Horwich, where I live. Horwich was once a main part of the railway history of this country, when employment was at its peak there were over three thousand people in its workshops and it was responsible for building hundreds of locomotives. The society’s web site is

I hope the photos and my memories are of interest to you and your society and if you could assist with my enquiries about Marple Orthopaedic Hospital I would be very grateful.

Yours sincerely,

Ken Chaisty.

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If you have anything to share about Marple's history and heritage, including photos for the Virtual Tour, or if you would like to submit an article for publication on the site please get in touch using the contacts page.

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