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The East London Maternity Hospital, at Tyringham House
Tyringham House

Following the outbreak of World War Two, the East London Maternity Hospital, founded in 1884, was moved from its premises in Commercial Road, Stepney, to Hill Hall, in Essex. However, during the Battle of Britain this was destroyed by a land mine, with the ‘Waiting House’ receiving a direct hit by high explosives. Fortunately all the staff, patients and equipment were saved, as the mine did not explode immediately, and the Hospital was then transferred to Tyringham House, in Buckinghamshire. Being instructed in their own care, and that of their babies, the patients came from bombed out areas, and many received a month’s rest before going home. An important part of the Hospital’s work was the training of pupil midwives, whilst as for local help, in March 1941 a number of members of the Nursing Division of the Newport Pagnell St. John Ambulance Brigade volunteered for service as blood donors for the Hospital, with three having been called by May 1942. Through conducting various functions, in 1941 the villages of Tyringham and Filgrave played their part in the Newport Pagnell and District War Weapons Week, and towards the funds the Matron of the Hospital contributed £10. For entertainment, of an evening the nurses would often visit the cinema at Newport Pagnell, but on Tuesday, October 14th 1941 two were tragically involved in an accident, whilst walking back from watching ‘Target for Tonight.’ They were Nurse Pauriosent, aged 30, and a pupil midwife, Miss Margaret Ward, 21, who, whilst walking abreast a short distance behind their two companions, at about 10.30p.m. between Lathbury and Tyringham were run into by a motor cyclist and pillion rider. Nurse Pauriosent suffered concussion and severe bruises, and Miss Ward a fractured leg, and although they were taken to the Tyringham Hospital, since this did not have the necessary facilities they had to be taken to Northampton General by the Newport Pagnell ambulance. The motor cyclist and pillion rider were unhurt. At Tyringham Church, on Saturday, January 3rd 1942 a member of the domestic staff at the Hospital, Miss Dorothy Williams, the younger daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Williams, of Keeper’s Cottage, Tyringham, married Frederick Clarke, who was serving in the Royal Artillery. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Clarke, of Mill Street, Newport Pagnell, and about 100 friends of the bride and groom attended a reception, held at the Tyringham House Club by permission of Mr. and Mrs. Marcus Konig. The couple then left in the evening for a honeymoon at Bridgenorth, and on their return Mrs. Clarke, her father being the head keeper on the Tyringham Estate, would continue her employment at the Hospital. (In fact she and her parents had been lucky to escape serious injury the previous year, when, during a short but intense thunderstorm, their home was struck by lightning one Saturday evening in July. Mr. and Mrs. Williams had been standing by the sink in the kitchen, and the flash knocked Mrs. Williams unconscious, and threw her husband against a table. As for their daughter, who had been in an adjoining room, she was so traumatised that for awhile she was unable to speak. When the smoke and sulphur fumes finally cleared, it was then seen that the sink had been cracked in half, the bolt having passed between Mr. and Mrs. Williams.) In January 1943, the 1000th baby to be born at the Hospital was a girl, the daughter of Mrs. Margaret Devlin, from Dagenham. Mr. Devlin was employed at Millwall Docks, and Janet would be the name chosen for the new arrival. After the war, for awhile Tyringham House continued to accommodate the Hospital, which with the inception of the N.H.S. in 1948 joined the Stepney Group of Hospitals. Later it merged to become part of the East London Group, and finally closed in 1968.