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Mac the Knife and a Blue Plaque

PUBLISHED: 15:30 12 March 2009 | UPDATED: 13:19 03 July 2010

Blue Plaque unveiled

Blue Plaque unveiled

A BLUE Plaque has been dedicated to the memory of the staff who worked at the former Great Yarmouth General Hospital.

The unveiling was performed by retired hospital consultant Hugh Sturzaker, and former staff were among more than 30 people who gathered to watch the ceremony at the site at Deneside - now part of St George's Court.

A BLUE Plaque has been dedicated to the memory of the staff who worked at the former Great Yarmouth General Hospital.

The unveiling was performed by retired hospital consultant Hugh Sturzaker, and former staff were among more than 30 people who gathered to watch the ceremony at the site at Deneside - now part of St George's Court.

Mr Sturzaker said: “It is thanks to the Great Yarmouth Archaeological Society that we are able to commemorate the hard work of the doctors, nurses and other staff who worked at the hospital over its

141-year history.”

The original hospital was opened in 1840 and demolished later to make way for the newer, more modern hospital.

The then Prince of Wales laid the foundation stone in 1887, and the hospital was built in 17 months.

At first it had 44 beds, but there was expansion later with a maternity unit.

When that department was moved to Northgate Hospital it became a casualty unit.

The last patient left on Boxing Day 1981. And, although various plans were put forward to use the building, none ever came to fruition and in 1984 it was demolished.

Mr Sturzaker went through some of the names who had worked there, including Matron Cunningham and

a surgeon called Mr Macdonald - known affectionately as “Mac the Knife” - who had worked there from 1948 to 1979.

Former nurse Winsome Wright, now in her 80s and still living in Yarmouth, trained as a nurse there from 1937 to 1940 and said all of her memories of the hospital were happy ones.

She recalled: “Once I had completed training I became a theatre sister and remained with the hospital throughout the war years.

“I remember Matron Cunningham and Sister Sparkes from Norwich. They were very nice people to work for, but you knew who was in charge.

“From that particular era I am probably the only one left.”

Christopher Smith, also of Yarmouth, learned his skills through starting as a ward orderly in 1960 and said he owed his medical career to the hospital and the people for whom he worked.

He went on to study to become a theatre technician and remained in the job until 1984, by which time he had transferred to Northgate.

Another former nurse, Jean Pocock, 77, of Yarmouth, recalled the camaraderie among all the staff, right from when she started there in 1960.

She said: “We were a very friendly and a close-knit team. I thoroughly enjoyed my 22 years at the hospital.

“We were moved out on Boxing Day and were placed at the James Paget Hospital. But, after the small hospital we had all worked in, the Paget seemed so vast.”

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