Childhood illnesses


Illness remained a serious problem with children up to the mid 1950s as is recorded in the school log books, with diptheria, scarlet fever, whooping cough and brain fever not to mention tuberculosis.
An illness which was not so usual became an epidemic in the village in 1925 with a fatality. This illness was generally called jaundice at the time although it may have been Weil’s disease. Some children from every family in the village succumbed to it.  See Jaundice page.

B Pittam 2014


Some mention of illnesses from the Yardley Gobion Infant & girls school log book.

1880 March 19th One little child died on Friday last.

(I believe it was Elizabeth Hannah Smith aged 4yrs 11 months, daughter of Eliza Smith suffering from tubercular meningitis, died 14th March.  B.P. 2018)

1880 November 26th  William, Alfred & Joseph Morton are at home on account of a contagious disease being in the family.

1881 February 25th  John & Katherine Gear have been absent from school for some weeks having ringworm on them.

1881 Dec 16th  Attendance this week  was not very large, whooping cough being prevalent.

1882 April 7th  Sent one boy home to wash his hair.

1892 January  in consequence of a severe outbreak of  measles the school was not opend after the Xmas holiday but remained closed another three weeks making a total of five weeks.

1892 Oct 21st  The grandson of our respected manager Mr. J. P. Smith who for a fortnight past has been suffering from brain fever and died on the 4th was buried this afternoon.  The children combined together to purchase a wreath as a memento of their love and sorrow.  The wreath took the form of a harp with a broken string.

For twelve months from October 1894 there seemed to be an exceptional period of serious illness in the village. 

1894 june 22nd  A case of scarlet fever has broken out in the village.

1894 June 25th  Dr. Maquire called and reported 2 cases of fever.

1894 June 26th  Thirty children absent this morning in consequence of fever.

1894 July 2nd  School closed on account of fever.

1894 Sept 17th  School reopened this morning having been closed for eleven weeks.

1894 Oct 11th  Suzzie Kirk and Mary Ann Johnson having bad heads have been requested to stay at home until they are better.

1894 Oct 22nd Dr. Maquire called today and reported two additional cases of fever (Hilda Lambert and Willie Lambert.)  He advises that we commence fires without delay.

1894 Oct 23rd  Only 65 children present.

1894 Nov 2nd Average for the week 71 being the lowest weekly average for three years past.

1894 Nov 5th Willie Owen has scarlet fever, Arthur Saunders and his brother John returned to school after an absence of six weeks (Fever case)

1894 Nov 12th Two additional cases of fever (Ethel Atkins and Lottie Smith)

1894 Dec 5th Another case of fever (Hattie and Tommie Masom)

1894 Dec 13th Mrs Sturgess sent word her little daughter Amelia has taken the fever.  There being five in the family in the school the loss of attendance will be considerable.

(107 children when all attending, average normal attendance 95, as mentioned earlier attendance of 65 during illness)

1894 Dec 17th Received a note from Mrs. Coe stating Colin was suffering from Chicken pox and doctor advised to keep the children at home.

1895 Jan 29th Frances Bliss who since last April has been suffering from a spinal complaint died this morning.  The children belonging to her class have visited her frequently during her illness.  To mark their affection they have subscribed to purchase a wreath of white flowers.

1895 Feb 11th Another case of fever reported this morning – Arthur Johnson.

1895 March 1st The Masoms (3) returned to school last Monday after an absence of 17 weeks.

1895 Sept 16th Several children belonging to the infant School are suffering from Hooping cough and unable to attend school.

1895 Nov 13th Marion Pratt died on Nov 6th and was buried on 11th.

1896 Jan 18th Ada Kightley (Monitor) asked permission to stay away from school this afternoon in order that she might visit her brother who is very ill – permission granted.

1897 April 26th Ada Kightley received permission to absent herself from school this afternoon in order to to procure morning fo her brother who died recently.

1897 April 30th Ada Kightley (Monitor) absent with leave to attend her brother’s funeral.


Log book Whooping cough