This month’s objects of the month are items which would have been used in wartime in the hospitals to help tend for the injured soldiers and injured or wounded munitions workers as well. They would have been used in local hospitals such as the one on Annan Road in Gretna which is now the Gables Hotel and the houses which are across the road which were used as the actual hospital buildings. These objects may have also been used to treat some of the injured factory workers from HM Factory Gretna.
The hospitals around HM Factory Gretna had to handle a lot of injuries and many patients, for example the average number of patients that each medical station had to deal with every week was 200. Some had more serious injuries than others for example many people would get intoxicated by the fumes and would have to get treated for that while some of the more serious injuries were things such as the loss of limbs or even death in some cases. Many people suffered long term health conditions from working at the factory as their skin would turn yellow and their teeth would fall out. There were three ambulances at HM Factory Gretna which on average travelled 370 miles a week each.
This is a slipper bed pan which was made by Ayrton and Saunders. Ayrton and Saunders were founded in 1868 in Liverpool and were mainly a pharmaceutical business but also manufactured many different products and one of these were slipper ben pans which were to be used in hospitals. They were mainly used in hospitals so that people who couldn’t move from their bed could go to the bathroom. These were useful during and after the war as the nurses needed them to tend to the injured soldiers. Ayrton and Saunders were taken over in 1987 by A.A.H Pharmaceutical. The company name was later purchased by G.F O’Brien who owns a small chain of retail chemist shops.
White china invalid cups such as this were also used in hospitals. The nurses and doctors used it to feed people who couldn’t hold a cup as they were too injured. Half of the top of the cup is covered as to not cause any spillage when being used. Like the slipper ben pan this piece of equipment was also useful during and after the war as it could be used to feed some of the more badly injured soldiers if they couldn’t move from their bed. The official use for an invalid cup is to help people decrease the amount of movement when drinking or to help those who have difficulty swallowing. These cups were also used by rich Victorian families when their children were sick, but their main use turned into tending for soldiers during and after the war.
Another item is a Doctors bag which was used during World War One to keep all the doctor’s equipment in, these were typically made from leather and were probably used to mainly carry around medicine and bandages in case of emergency. This item was donated recently to the museum.