Memories of 1930s medical care
In the early 1970’s I worked with a chap who as a child was brought up in Stapley Road in the 1930’s. He was staunch labour supporter, and when I asked why he told me this story!
Illness in the family
In the early 1930s his family had just moved into Stapley Road. His mother was suddenly taken very ill and confined to bed, so ill, she was unable to get out of bed. Some days passed without improvement and eventually his father decided that they would have to call a doctor out to her. The charge for the doctor to visit was 2 shillings (10p) but they didn’t have the money. His father sent him round to nearby neighbours to borrow a penny here and there. Although they were new to the area, and most neighbours, like them struggled to make ends meet, he soon collected enough money. The doctor was called, a diagnosis made and medicine sought.
NHS introduced in 1948
Years later, following WWII and being discharged from the navy. He recalled that in 1948 the Labour administration and notably Aneurin Bevan introduced the NHS, with free health care for all! He remembered his sick mother and the incident and humiliation of knocking on doors in Stapley Road to ask neighbours he barely knew for pennies. It was then he said, I decided to join the Labour Party, and I’ve been a member ever since!
Drastic changes over time
This is a lovely story, and shows in terms of life span, just how drastically things can change. It would have been impossible for that young lad to imagine, that within his life the houses in Stapley Road would be worth a quarter of a million pounds, especially as he knocked on doors asking for a penny!
Closely matched political parties
I don’t know if he’s still a member of the Labour Party, however it’s pretty irrelevant with today’s political parties so closely matched. And actually the issue that set his path as a member of the Labour Party, the introduction of free health care, was one that both the major political parties at the time had schemes for, but the one adopted was that of the Labour administration (1945-51) under Clement Attlee.
Help with identification?
Looking at the 1946 bombing map of the area, it appears that three bombs fell near the Stapley Road and Old Shoreham Road junction, just south of Bellingham Crescent. The photo shows the furthest house on the corner adjoining Old Shoreham Road. I think I vaguely recall wasteland at the bottom of Stapley Road in the 1960s. Was Stapley Court built on this land in the late 1960s or early 1970s?
Although the map shows that a bomb also fell towards the top end of Stapley Road, the map indicates that it was not near a corner or junction. Additionally stonework of the porticos at the bottom end of Stapley Road match those in the photo, while the ones at the top end are a much simpler design.
Peter Groves did further research on this subject and you can see it here