Dora Farley - Medicine

I was born at Woolsthorpe at No. 4 Beeson`s Row. My Mum and Dad came round on bikes when they were courting and saw it was to let and they never lived anywhere else. All three of their daughters were born there, Marjorie, Beryl and Dora. There was 7 years and 1 month between each one. I am the only one left now. My dad came from Buckminster. He lived at the farm on the right up the Woolsthorpe Road and my mum came from Gunby. They were married at Gunby. I went to Colsterworth School at the age of 5, my sister would take me. Later I went to work at the Rectory. This was after Mary Stedman`s time there. The rector was the Rev. (later Canon) Barraclough. He was here 1942-1960. The Barracloughs were lovely to work for and treated me very well, although she did not mix with people in the village. I was paid 1 2s 6d per week. I did not live in but came to work to start at 9 a.m.. I stayed with them until I was married when I left and then I was a housewife.

I met Albert when I visited my cousin in Stainby and she and I used to go a walk round the village. That`s how I found him. It went on from there. He worked on the ironstone and lived at Stainby. We could not find a house when we were married so he went to work on the land )because we would get a cottage) for 4 years and then we came to Woolsthorpe and had a house in the Close. In 1963, I went to Newton Court which had just been built. I went to help with the cleaning. Then Myra Beech died and the councillors asked me if I would take it on. I wondered and dithered for a bit. Then one of the councillors came and said `Come on, have a go`, so I did. This was in 1973. We had our own accommodation over the communal area the Common Room, the T.V. room (when first built few people had their own television), and a kitchen. Ours was a lovely flat with a beautiful view. It had a huge lounge. Albert was still at work. He had to come home and listen to all the troubles of the day.

Newton Court was called a group dwelling for the elderly with self-contained flats. My job was to keep an eye on them and to get help when needed. We had a bell system. When I went there I was under the old Kesteven District Council, and about 3 years later 3 of the councils were amalgamated. That was South, West and Bourne Borough. New rules then required you to visit each resident every day so in the morning I went round everybody and actually went in to see them. They thought it better to see a person than just talk to them on the intercom. I agreed with that, although it took such a long time to get round. I went to everyone, in the main building, the flats and the little bungalows. You could not just walk in and say `How are you`? and walk straight out again. They always had little tales to tell you. They used to look forward to our little chats and I always went the same way round so that they knew more or less when to expect me. If they were going out, say on the bus, they would let me know so that I wasn`t going looking for them. Newton Court was always full when we were there, in fact there was usually a waiting list. Numbers fell off later. However, the 8 flats in the main building only had 2 bathrooms between them. At first everyone was agreeable to this arrangement. You used to see them in dressing gowns walking along the corridor with towels over their arms. As time went on they wanted their own bathrooms. There were guests` bedrooms for visitors one double and 2 singles.

Some did not want to mix but it was better for them if they did. Otherwise they could get rather lonely. They each had a room with a curtained bed alcove, a kitchen and a toilet. Some had never had these facilities at home. There was a wash-house for all to use. There were huge washing machines Princess Hot Point with a mangle. Many were on social security but they all had a rent book and the rent man came round once a fortnight. There were always more women than men. Being specifically for the elderly, we did have fatalities. I found one lady dead on her kitchen floor one morning. She was the first one to die after I took over. Another one fell ill on an outing to Skegness and she had to go to hospital by ambulance. She died in Boston Hospital that night. A doctor came each Monday and I used to write down a copy of the prescriptions. It was Dr Monteith at the time, and she used to take the prescriptions back to the surgery and I used to collect them later and deliver them as necessary round the Court. If she was needed she would go into the flats.

In the Common Room we had lots of dos, coffee evenings, birthday and Christmas parties. Dot Williams used to run a tea-club in aid of the Red Cross for years. The Women`s Institute used to come and help her and they used to entertain as well. The Rector used to come and take Communion once a month on a Tuesday. At events in the village such as concerts in the village hall, people made it their business to make sure that the old folk from Newton Court were invited and that transport was provided. Tuesday afternoon was Sewing Afternoon. We used to make vests and blankets for poor children overseas. Mrs Murden from Harlaxton used to come and collect them and send them off. Outings were very popular. Gem coaches would take up to Skegness. Sometimes we only went out for a ride and tea somewhere, or occasionally we would have a ride and then come back to the Court for tea in the Common Room. Pearl worked here then and she would have the tea ready. I remember once the bus broke down on the Bytham Road. Luckily Les Taylor who worked at United Steel came along and he went to Blankleys and they sent another bus out for us.

My daughter lived there with us but on the day she got married, I put on a reception party for the residents. I used to put on birthday parties, in fact they all came to expect a party with an iced cake on their birthday. They used any excuse for a party. Christmas parties were held early as many residents went away at Christmas. We had Alex, a Ukranian, who had no one so he always stayed. Previously, he lived in a hostel at Buckminster and he worked for United Steel. He never learned to speak much English. The Meals-on-Wheels came 4 times a week. They came in a Hot-Lock which had a drawer full of hot charcoal to keep the food warm. I went round the village in a car and served the meals out to those who lived in their own homes. The food came from Corby Glen School kitchens. I had a deputy warden. She used to come 1 day a week, and later 2 days. There was Madge Rogers who would make scones and mince pies, and later a Mrs Wright. At the back we had a large lawn which I used to mow. There was a lovely show of daffodils in the Spring. We had bats in the roof. I don`t know what they have done with them now the whole building is pulled down. The Salvation Army came and played to us once a year in the summer. They used to play on the lawn. Everybody was very friendly. I would have stopped any bickering.