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About three years later, on a Saturday night in summer. I was awakened by the fire bugle and looking out on Charlotte Street saw that there was a fire opposite us in the yard of the White Hart where there was a small cider factory.  The yard was separated from the street by a high cob wall. The motor fire engine arrived and ran out the hoses but there was no water. During dry spells in summer, the town water was turned off at night. In this case, the worker assigned to do this had had a little too much to drink and had forgotten to turn off the water. When he was roused by the bugle, he hurried to the stop cock and turned the "on" supply "off". It took some time to sort this out, but the fire was kept from spreading. A sailor frightened everybody by getting on the wall and walking along the top, then swaying as if he were going to fall off into the fire!

 

 Stone Vracker by John Brett
"Stone Cracker " by John Brett

 

There were several occupations in the district which are now long gone. Working beside the country roads would be the stone-cracker. Roadstone would be delivered in larg lumps at a road lay-by and the cracker's jon was to break the stone into sizes suitable for road repair.  This humble job called for considerable experience in knowing where to strike the stone. The cracker would put the small stone in an enclosure of dry wall made from the larger stones, making it all very neat-looking. At midday, one would see him eating his bread and cheese, washed down with a bottle of cider.

 

A.A.Man

Cycling AA Man.

All members showing the badge would be saluted - not easy on a bike!

 

An Automobile Association Scout, Mr Tidborough, lived in the town, in Dean Street. He patrolled along the Exeter - Barnstaple road on his bicycle and later, in his motor cycle and sidecar, assisting any members having trouble with the rather unreliable vehicles of the period or needing directions or any other help

 

The town had four doctors: Dr Soady, an Irishman, who practised alone and was our doctor. The others three practiced together and were Dr Hugo (an older man) and a husband and wife team - Dr John and Dr Margaret Jackson. A lady doctor was something new to the town but she had a good number of women patients. Surgery hours were held at the doctor's offices in the afternoon and evening. The mornings were given up to house calls for which they used their cars. It was a seven days a week job but no Surgery was held on Saturday or Sunday. 

Once a year, a locum tenens or relief doctor would look after the practise so the doctors could have a couple of months off. Employed persons were covered for medical care under a national scheme and there was also payment for sick leaved. A worker had his name on a doctor's "panel"; after this, the doctor received a flat rate per year for all treatment the panel member required during the year.

Sometimes the street outside a house would be covered by a layer of straw. This was because a doctor had ordered absolute quiet for a patient and was usually a sign that they were indeed, very ill.  For hospital treatment Kyrtonians went to Exeter to be treated at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital in Southernhay. At this time, all hospitals were kept going by public subscriptions, bequests and many fund-raising events held in the district., Crediton's principal effort was an annual Carnival held in the Autumn.  On being admitted to a hospital, patients would be examined by a member of staff known as the Almoner who would set the  reasonable payment which had to be made, according to each person's financial circumstances.

 

The Bowring Children's Ward

The Bowring Children's Ward in 1910

The Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, Exeter

From our post card collection

Although Mrs Bowring had provided the ward and its fitting-out, parents were always means-tested and asked to pay something for the treatment of their child.

 

 

 

 
 
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