"In the same water." Highvolume Play Pause Stop

The basement at the former Royal Albert, as it was in 2006. In the 1930s the bathroom would have been in one of the rooms off this corridor.
Nigel Ingham
This recording was made at a reminiscence group in Lancaster in the late 1980s. Length 2mins 19secs

Two former Royal Albert Hospital residents, Frank Cochrane and Harry Oldham recalled their experiences of taking a bath as young men in the 1930s.

Although this was certainly not the case on every ward at Brockhall and Calderstones, one or two staff recall similar practices at least as recent as the 1970s.


Harry: Mind you they did all the bathing on the, on the Basement… then, at time round by the, round by where the canteen is.

Frank: 6 patients in one bath of water

Harry: On right hand side, round by where the canteen is, staff canteen.

SC: So you said 6 patients used a bath at once – I mean not at once but they used the same water one after the other presumably, is that right?

Frank: Yes, yes.

SC: How many people – was it a huge great bath house or what… 

Frank: Yes, yes it was fairly big…

Harry: Yes it was a big bathroom.

Frank: About 6 baths in weren’t there?

Harry: … 6 baths: 3 on each side I think.

Frank: Yes. And a channel, you know, all the way round –

Harry: Running round all the way…

NI: Could you take as long as you wanted over a bath or were sort of told to get out after a certain time?

Frank: No you was told to get out after you had been in for so long. And then another lad’d get in.

NI: And the water would be the same?

Frank: In the same water. There would be about six in one lot of water.

Harry: They never used to change the water.

Frank: There was many a time when it was right  –  dirty

Harry: Same water.

Frank: Smell.

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