Accidental link

By David Jolley

It is down to Sue that we have discovered this link to our past:

Sue was looking for other things and came first across the link to the register of residents of the Chorlton on Medlock Union 1881 – a daunting list of inmates and staff. The base description of the history of the workhouse site and buildings is full and fascinating. Much of the content reminds me of a booklet which I used to look through at the library of Withington Hospital in the 1970s. The booklet was not available to buy at the time and I failed to get organised to copy it for personal study. With changes which took the University of South Manchester and the library to Wythenshawe, I lost track. The internet can be a friend to lost souls.

The Union became known locally as ‘Nell Lane’ – the name of the road where it stood. It grew to include an array of hospital wards which were visited by, and commended by Florence Nightingale as a model to be followed elsewhere.

During the 1960s plans were laid to extend the activities on the site so that it became Withington Hospital, the University Hospital of South Manchester. Chairs in General Medicine, Surgery were established and John Brocklehurst was appointed to the first Chair of Geriatric Medicine in England.

I came to the University Hospital of South Manchester in 1970 as a Senior House Officer to join the department of psychiatry which was awaiting completion of a building to hold be the base for a comprehensive mental health service which would serve the local population of South Manchester (200,000), take a lead in teaching undergraduates and postgraduates, and conducting clinical research.

So much has followed – so much from what was the local workhouse


Tangled web

By David Jolley

We are really pleased that Christians on Ageing has announced the launch of its revised website I hope people will take a look and begin to use the resource which Christians on Ageing surely is. I am glad to be associated with the organisation and to be part of its executive committee. The website provides a summary of its origins 35 years ago and some of its activity since and currently. With a main objective to support churches in the UK in improving their knowledge and understanding of older people, C on A has sought mainly to provide information and pointers to good practice. This is reflected in the website. I hope more interactive communication will be generated and more comments shared on the dilemmas of life for older people in the complex and demanding life of the 21st century.

C on A plans to hold a conference in Sheffield in the autumn of 2019. This will be the first such opportunity for people to come together for some time. I hope this will attract interest and generate involvement and that more people will be drawn to benefit from the excellent, inexpensive and enlightening publications which C on A has produced. There is a spiral of engagement between a website and the people it wishes to serve and engage. The challenge for C on A is to become better known and made use of by the many older people who give their lives to local churches, and many others who might begin to do so again, or for the first time, with sympathetic encouragement.

Other websites which I am associated with include which demonstrates the wide range of initiatives supported by Dementia Pathfinders although it has been in the field for very few years yet. I am glad that Dementia Conversations is featured. Our Bowdon Vale group has been meeting for well over two years now and we produce notes of every meeting. These can be shared with others if that would be of interest. In addition I produce this blog week by week. There are very few comments recorded, which leaves me to wonder how many people find time to read these musings. It is worthwhile for me – requiring a focus to put into print some of the vague wonderings which might otherwise fade and be lost before their time. Dementia Pathfinders uses Facebook and Twitter and these allow for more immediate comment and interaction.

The other world I inhabit is John Leigh Park and its Friends group: This engages me very day, with attention to the birds in the aviary, gardening, and constant vigilance to keep the council and Amey playing their part in maintenance and improvements. We don’t do litter picks – we pick up what small amounts of litter are dropped as soon as it appears. That way it does not breed.

There are events to organise, new ideas to explore, grants to be applied for, weekly notes to be written and distributed to our 250 members following weekly meetings, quarterly newsletters to be produced and distributed to over 2000 local households, annual inspections for Green Flag and North West in Bloom. All this is reflected by the website and nudges to the rest of the world are offered almost daily via Facebook and Twitter.

So there are differences between these websites – and a more systematic look at other websites would tell us more. For Christians on Ageing the relaunch of the website is a great achievement with considerable potential. It can be an important resource in a campaign for growth.