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Manchester Pubs - The Stories Behind The Doors - City Centre. Andrew Simpson & Peter Topping

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     Of the 154 men who were cared for between October 1914 and August 1915, 138 were British, 11 were from Australia and five were Belgians. Most had “contracted their primary wounds” on the Western Front with some having been wounded at Gallipoli and three from within Great Britain.

Of these 87 were bullet and shrapnel wounds, 5 were suffering from having been gassed, 18 from frost bite and the remainder were listed as “Miscellaneous”.

The average stay was 32 days and most went on to a period of sick furlough.

In this respect, the information differs little from what was recorded from other Red Cross Hospitals and so offers up an insight into the impact of the fighting during the first year and a bit.

Added to that, what comes through is the huge voluntary contribution made by the local community.

We know that in the case of the Chorlton hospital on Edge Lane, local fund raising provided a substantial amount towards the cost of running the establishment and caring for the patients.

Now, the Red Cross book lists the names of 27 nurses, 25 orderlies and 12 cooks and at random I picked Mrs. Cochrane who, the Red Cross database tells me, was a Mrs. Elizabeth Bertha Cochrane who was engaged on the day Batsford House opened and may well have been related to Miss Madge Cochrane who also started in October 1914 and Miss Muriel Cochrane who began service two years later.

*An illustrated account of the work of the Branch during the first year of the war, 1916, East Lancashire Branch, The Red Cross

Trafford Bar

It had opened its doors as a Red Cross Hospital in October 1914 and, before that, had been the home of the Nuttall family when it was known as Batsford House.

As such it was typical of those private residences which were donated to the Red Cross for the duration of the Great War and the charity included it in their book* on the hospitals they ran in the Northwest commenting that, “Batsford House was lent to the local British Red Cross Branch for conversion into an Auxiliary Hospital by James Nuttall Esq., of Hale.

“Seven wards have been arranged, together with mess room and day room, staff room, kitchens, etc., and the light airy aspect of the patients’ quarters has proved very cheerful.

“Practically all the furniture and appurtenances were given or loaned by the local residents, and in consequence the cost of equipping was low, being under £100.

“The Hospital was opened on October 28, 1914, providing accommodation for twenty patients but ten more beds were added during April, [1915] when more provision was essential to meet the requirements of the increased number of wounded soldiers coming to Manchester.

“The upkeep of the Hospital has cost about 2s 8d per bed, and this has been defrayed by the War Office Capitation Grant, augmented by public subscription.

“Numerous entertainments have been provided in the wards, and the ample grounds surrounding the hospital have afforded facilities for tennis, croquet, football, etc.”