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Scarlett Fever in Annitsford

The isolation hospital was at Scaffold Hill, near Palmersville.

I was 11 years old and my brother, Stafford was 9 years old, when there was an epidemic in Annitsford and area, of scarlet fever.  I was the only child in the village who didn’t contract it.  The isolation hospital was some 4-5 miles away, at Scaffold Hill, near Palmersville, where my Uncle Tom and Aunt Polly lived.

Each Saturday, whilst Stafford was in Hospital, we walked to Scaffold Hill, calling on Aunt Polly and Uncle Tom for lunch on our way, and tea, before returning home, weary and worn.  There were no buses or cars in those days.

The hospital was separated from a ploughed field by a 6ft fence about ½ mile from the main road and any parcels had to be left at the lodge.  My Dad was on the dole, so it was a little parcel; a few sweets, an apple or orange.

My Dad wrote messages to Stafford in large letters on pieces of wallpaper, then Mother, Father and I walked around the fence into the field, to get as close as we could to the room Stafford was in.  Dad then unrolled the wallpaper, gave it to me to hold and lifted me up to his shoulder.  I had to use both hands to open it, for Stafford to read “We miss you,” We love you” “Be a good lad” “Do what you are told” etc.

We were all pleased to have him home.

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