Report - - St.John's Hospital. Essex. April 2011 | Asylums and Hospitals | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - St.John's Hospital. Essex. April 2011


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So after a cracking sunny day at Brands Hatch watching the first round of the British Superbikes Championship with Rigsby, Frink & son, we decided to head off to Chelmsford to hook up With AndrewB for a quick mooch before heading off into central London for some shenanigans..
We only had about 45mins as it was just getting too dark. Thanks to AndrewB for the tour :)

THE doors of St John's Hospital – where half of Chelmsford's population was born – swing shut for the final time tomorrow, marking the end of a vast chapter in the town's history.

Nurses who have worked at the centre for decades fought back tears as they packed their equipment and mementos into a sea of blue plastic boxes.

Pictures signifying a thousand happy memories were stripped from its peeling yellow walls, rows of empty beds pushed through bare corridors and a fleet of trucks delivered everything to the new £148 million wing at Broomfield Hospital.

But there are fears the site, now prime for housing, could become a wasteland.

"It's sad because it's the end of an era," said Bernie Rigdon, joint head of midwifery at St John's, who has worked there for 27 years and also gave birth at the hospital.

"Everyone is very upset, but we know the move is for the best. The facilities are second to none at the new place, but we have so many memories here.

"At least half of Chelmsford's population was born here."

In its 133-year history, more than 100,000 babies were born inside the hallowed walls of the hospital's famous maternity ward.

Today, expectant mums are being transferred to Broomfield, and the hospital shuts for ever on Friday – almost two months after it was initially due to close.

Faulty lifts delayed the opening of the new wing at Broomfield for several weeks, leaving expectant mothers in limbo and unsure of where they would give birth.

One of the final mums to have St John's etched on her child's birth certificate is Maxine Orriss, who gave birth to Evelyn on Monday.

"I thought I would be giving birth at the new wing in Broomfield, but I don't mind at all," she said. "This is my second child here and there's a really nice community feel and the midwife care has been great."

Her husband Matt was born here 36 years ago, and he watched on proudly as Maxine stood in an empty ward with her newborn.

"What an adorable baby," said the hospital's other joint head of midwifery, Georgina Sparrow, who has never lost her enthusiasm for an infant's yawn throughout a colourful career.

"I think it's the people – the team – rather than the building that makes a place great," she said. "We have a wonderful team here, but we have been trying to deliver a really modern maternity service in a building that's not fit for purpose.

"All the team have strived to do the best for our women, but the rooms are tiny, and the women are squashed in.

"We are proud to be moving to the best maternity unit in the country, because we want to offer the women of Chelmsford and Essex the best service possible."

There is no update on whether the buyers – Number One Estates Ltd – will pay the Mid Essex Hospitals Trust the outstanding money it promised for the site, after its parent company went into administration earlier this year.

It is unclear how much is owed but the site was sold for around £18 million and it is expected to become a prime spot for housing.

Councillor Freda Mountain, who lives near the site, said: "My main fear is that it becomes dilapidated and falls to vandals, like the old Marconi site.

"Whether anybody comes in for the site depends on the recession.

"I am hopeful but it could remain derelict for a while."





















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