Explore #25: Father Hudson’s Society (St Gerards Hospital), Coleshill, Birmingham – December 2013

This was a quick explore with Dora P, squeezed in between visits to friends and family after Christmas. It was a revisit to the Father Hudson’s complex of buildings in Coleshill following our previous visit to St Mary’s nursing home in September 2013.

A brief history:

The Birmingham Diocesan Rescue Society for the Protection of Homeless and Friendless Catholic Children was established in 1902 with Father Hudson as its first Secretary and Administrator. Father Hudson remained in Coleshill from 1898 until 1934. During that time the work of the Rescue Society grew, in particular the children’s homes. Its expansion included St. Vincent’s, a home for working boys in Moseley Road Birmingham, St. Edwards Boys Home, St George’s and St. James’ Cottage Homes for boys and St Gerard’s hospital for children in Coleshill. St. Gerard’s was the result of Father Hudson’s vision for a purpose built infirmary, not just for the boys of St. Edwards but for those from all Catholic homes in the Diocese and the Catholic children from the workhouse hospitals. Two new schools were established in Coleshill through the Society. Father Hudson’s devotion to the children, his patience, energy and great administrative skills guided this development and the Rescue Society became known colloquially as Father Hudson’s Homes…

St Gerard’s Orthopaedic Hospital was part of Father Hudson’s Society buildings across the UK. It provided services for locals and the neighbouring boys school, along with care for orphaned kiddies of early to mid 1900′s. The chain of society buildings started to close in the 1980′s, due to changes in NHS funding and how orphaned children were dealt with as a whole. St Gerard’s closed in 1988.

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Thanks for stopping by.

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3 thoughts on “Explore #25: Father Hudson’s Society (St Gerards Hospital), Coleshill, Birmingham – December 2013

  1. Was resident here 1947-1950 as s sufferer of TB Spine.The pictures ,though somewhat depressing,reminded me of the sad situation fellow patients & I shared,many of them not recovering.Now at the age of 71,greatly appreciate the help given and perhaps most people who complain how tough they are having it should be glad that it never happened to them.

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  2. It must have been sad for mother to visit her 3yr old,restrained on a metal frame for an unknown period(3yrs),and the possibility of not returning home at all
    The period was just after the war,sadly T.B & Polio were common place,plus other orthopaedic and deformities of limbs,also the amputees section,for there were many visitors,I shared time with whilst having my frame made,but I was unaware of the war and did not relate to their abundance.
    After my period of confinement,I was familiar with the term handicapped,and as discussed with my cousin recently, the world seemed full of social handicaps and perhaps I was the lucky one to have escaped these social aisles?
    4years is a long time,there are memories of religious festivals,St Pstrics day etc. visiting entertainers,magicians,accordian players,T.V. was not around then,Dick Barton on the radio and film nights were always favourite.
    Sisters Genevieve and Catherine gave us education and enlightenment though “living”with all classes(illnesses are not selective)many experiences shared by so many that would not have happened in a “normal life”
    There were sad times,when”taken by God”,recovered enough to go home,tears for joy and sadness.New arrivals,reminded how “lucky” I was.All our toys were shared,Beano and Dandy annuals refreshed every year.I remember reading Rupert Bear from an early age.Annuals were not common place in the average home,we had them all.Education although limited was expanded into application,eg the ability to find Square roots of 6 figure numbers and why it would take atrain 6months to get to the moon.(7 yrs old) All could read and write.
    The benefit of an integrated childhood like ours is experienced by,fortunately,very few,isolation from parent seemed a life time
    We would hear much talk about the wonders of going home to the outside world.I rember saying to dad “What is so wonderful out here?Why is there so much sadness?
    Every day I wake up thinking how lucky I am,I look around thinking “You don’t know how lucky you are”

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