Maternity hospital gone but not forgotten

Barry And District News: GONE: Barry Maternity Hospital, formerly the Queen's nurses home GONE: Barry Maternity Hospital, formerly the Queen's nurses home

BUILT in 1897 to commemorate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, Barry's former nurses' home and maternity hospital no longer stands on the corner of Woodlands Road and Belmont Street.

The demolition of one of Barry's landmark buildings was met with an outpouring of sadness across online forums and from people who fondly remember the building's heyday before it fell into disrepair in recent years.

The decision to raze the building, most recently used as an Adult Training Centre, was made after the service was deemed surplus to requirements by the Vale council in 2011.

Woodland House was built for £1,000 in 1897 from a District Council fund created to establish a permanent home for the Barry nurses.

During World War Two the nurses' training room was converted into a maternity unit for RAF officers' wives, before becoming Barry Maternity Hospital in 1950.

Someone who has fond memories of this time is 84-year-old Mavis Collins, of Court Road, whose mother Ivy Hooper was cook and house keeper at Woodland House through this period.

Remembering seeing nurses heading out on their pushbikes to tend to people in need, or even the same nurses sneaking back into the house - via a sling lowered from the roof - after their 10pm curfew, Mavis said that she, like many others, was sad to see the building gone.

"It's been there so long," she said. "It's a landmark.

"There are so many people saying what a shame it is."

Lifelong Barry resident Ron Davies, 61, of Edward Street has a similar strong memory of the maternity hospital, namely being shouted at by his bed-ridden, expectant mother as he scaled a wall outside of the delivery room while waiting for his brother to be born.

Not just sad to see Woodland House gone due to its history, Ron also noted what a shame it was to lose a building of such character.

"It was a fine, red brick building with some great features, from the chimney to the brick work" he said.

"There aren't many buildings of that nature of that nature left in Barry. There's no history left in Barry, the more buildings that disappear.

"There's a void of character in the town."

He added that he would have like to have seen some effort from the council to preserve and maintain the building.

The Vale council have confirmed that the plot of land is set to be marketed in the near future and that no planning applications have been submitted to date.

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