Sunday, 22 March 2015

Arrangements for Possible Hospital Evacuation

Aspley Guise School c.1916 [Z1306/3a/20/1]

Monday 22nd March 1915: This month there has been considerable correspondence between Major Stevens, the County Director of Bedfordshire Voluntary Aid Detachments, and the Commander-in-Chief of Eastern Command at Whitehall concerning arrangements to be made in the event of it becoming necessary to evacuate Suffolk hospitals to Bedfordshire due to invasion or bombardment. One proposal is to use school buildings as hospitals should the need arise. A report on the impact this would have on specific schools has been issued today:

Cardington: It would, I think, be possible to transfer the elder scholars to Willington School and the younger ones to Cople School. But this could possibly be avoided by the use of the Howard Reading Room for hospital purposes. I understand that it has been used by the local branch of the British Red Cross Society for their drills, etc.

Aspley Guise: Arrangements might be made to transfer the scholars temporarily to Aspley Heath School, but this would be a very long journey for some of the scholars, particularly the younger ones, and it is probably that some of them would be found to reside outside the bye-law distance of 2½ miles from Aspley Heath School. There is however at Aspley Guise a Parish Hall capable of seating 250 persons and there are good Institute premises at Aspley Heath; possibly these might be of use as Hospitals.

Biggleswade: In view of the present demand on the school accommodation it is doubtful whether any school premises could be granted for use as a hospital without entirely disorganising attendance at school. It is suggested that the Masonic Rooms should be utilised as before for hospital purposes.

Sharnbrook: It is very difficult to make arrangements for the transfer of scholars to other suitable premises. No other schools are available. There is, however, a large room which it is believed will be quite suitable for hospital purposes.

Goldington: Cannot transfer scholars to other schools. There is a good Reading Room which might be large enough for a hospital though it is not large enough to accommodate the scholars in attendance at the school.

Melchbourne: No other school premises available for transfer of scholars. The school is very small and would accommodate but few patients.

Kempston: Arrangements might be made to place the Rural School for use as a Hospital.

It seems clear from this report that any major scheme to locate hospitals in school buildings would create serious difficulties for educational arrangements in the county.

Source: WW1 Nursing Records [WW1/NU4]

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