Norman arrived at the Royal Albert in the early 1940s aged 4 years old. He went on the boys’ ward – Barlow Home – staying there until his mid-teens. In this extract, recorded in an interview with Nigel Ingham on September 15th 2005, Norman recalls the system of privileges and punishments operating on Barlow Home in the 1940s.
(Norman was a young boy probably around the time The Cub Scout photograph was taken.)
What about behaviour on Barlow Home? How, how did boys behave on Barlow Home?
Oh breaking windows and that.
They broke windows?
How did they break windows?
Put your hand through and your head. Sometimes use a, use a piece of wood sometimes.
You’re laughing. Did you ever do that?
I did, yes. Cut myself on glass…
So why, why would you do that?
Pinching food I was.
So you were pinching food?
Where did you pinch food from?
Off somebody else.
That was at meal time?
At table, at meal time.
So what food did you pinch?
Ice cream and that.
Good food!… So you pinched the ice cream, but how did you smash the window?
Oh nurse took me away from table.
Where did she take you to?
To sit in a corner.
And a window. Like a door were there.
So you were sitting in the corner?
And there was a window near you?
And what did you do to the window?
Put your hand through it?
And that’s when you cut yourself?
So why did you put your hand through the window.
I caught it.
Were you feeling a bit annoyed?
And then the nurse – where did the nurse take you to then?
Nurse took me to the hospital at the same building (Royal Albert)………
And what happened to you after that? If you’d pinched the ice cream and smashed the window – what happened to you after that?
Oh I went back again to Barlow Home
And when you went back to Barlow Home –
– Did anything happen to you?
Were you punished in any way?
No, no privilege. You’re in punishment. You’re in punishment.
You’re in punishment.
What did that mean?
No pleasure, no sweets, no spending money.
For how long? Can you remember?
A month it is.
For a month?
So for a month you had no sweets –
– no privilege.
And no spending money?
What were the privileges, Norman?
Oh going out. Pictures and that. And dancing.
And so you weren’t able to do that on Barlow Home.
No, nothing, no.