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The next three images represent life at the Hospital from 1914-18 during the First World War when the site was taken over by the army. These images were supplied by G. E. Barker who worked at Middlewood for 34 years and saw many changes. He explained his retirement took place some 26 years ago.

Catering at the Hospital


Photo taken during the First World War


Middlewood Hospital




The following seven images were provided by Jenny Freeman whose Grandmother worked at the hospital and left in 1916. Most photos here clearly showing wounded patients from the First World War and other photos showing what appears to be entertainment times at the hospital.

Staff and patients during the First World War


Staff and patients during the First World War


Staff and patients during the First World War


Staff and patients during the First World War


Hospital staffPantomime? 












Staff and patients



The next images represent life at the hospital in 1972. This is the year Middlewood celebrated 100 years, the occasion was celebrated by various activities and plays at the entertainment hall. In the hospital magazine it was reported that there are many problems in running a theatre group. The obvious one is finance! But the main worry is shortage of actresses. Whilst other theatres are overwhelmed with actresses and female backstage staff, Middlewood has always proved the opposite!

Information and photos extracted from the hospital magazine. Christmas 1972. Supplied by Doreen and Eric Crowther.


Concrete unit

The Concrete Unit in 1972. There was a time when ward 3 or ward 7 as it was then, was considered to be the end of the line for many chronically sick men. It had a reputation for aggressive and disturbed behaviour, and things were right if there wasn’t a punch-up before breakfast. This was of course a long time ago, and thing have changed a lot, and for the better.

The concrete unit began in a small way, with patients making slabs by hand. It eventually gained a cement mixer and then a mechanical vibrator. Production was increased in a tremendous way.

“You cannot put a price on rehabilitation” explained charge nurse Crowther. Only on the kind of patient who was employed in the unit. The job was hard, physically tiring but mentally relaxing. They did enjoy their work tasks. The concrete-making unit, merged with the car wash and patient shop project.


Bill Starmore



« Bill Starmore retires 1972. Joined Middlewood as hospital Catering Officer and was well known, he eventually became Group Officer. Bill has always been in the catering business, when as a boy he left his native Bedford.






 Mr Hadfield


'Bill' Hadfield  »

“What’s tha’ name, lad?” “Ernest Hadfield —Sir” “Tha’ll not use that name here. Ah’ve got three Ernest’s already—tha’ll be called Bill”

And Bill it’s been ever since that day in 1930, when ‘Bill’ Hadfield joined the nursing staff. During Second World War ‘Bill’ joined the R.A.F. and returned to Middlewood in 1946. ‘Bill’ played football in the hospital team until he was well into his forties and for over 20 years contributed to the social life of the hospital as secretary of the Staff Sports and Social Club.





The hospital is 100 years old and as such patients and staff took part in the Centenary production of ‘Free as air’. They look somewhat dejected in this scene, but it all turned out right in the end.


Patients and staff celebrating the Centenary

Many ward parties were held during the centenary week and staff made every effort to give their residents a good time. Members of the Hillside and ward 27 seem to be enjoying themselves. (Above and below pictures)

Patients having a drink



Old nurse's uniform
This is how our nurses looked many years ago. The uniforms have all changed but the caring goes on.


Middlewood at first light
Middlewood at first light!



This is John Hobson in the switchboard room of the hospital.
John worked here for many years and this is his retirement reception in 1990.
Photos supplied by Maureen Cole.

John Hobson


John's retirement reception


The switchboard room


John answering a call




Medicine bottle

These two images show a Victorian medicine bottle. It clearly reads ' South Yorkshire Asylum Wadsley'. The bottle was used at the hospital in 1899. Photos supplied by Kevin F. Alkowski

Victorian medicine bottle


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