Mary recalls the isolation of infectious diseases unit
PEOPLE living near an old hospital sprang to its defence when plans were revealed to demolish it to make way for a new care home.
But a century ago, people in Tiverton were doing their best to stay as far away from the Post Hill site as they possibly could.
That is because the building formerly housed the town's Infectious Diseases Hospital, also known as the Isolation Hospital.
The hospital was opened on June 8, 1901, by Mrs Amory and pictured is the key presented to her to mark the event.
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When the census was taken that April, there were already two members of staff living there in preparation for the opening.
In the Edwardian era, most general hospitals did not admit people with infectious diseases, believing they should be separated from other patients to prevent potential epidemics.
Even in the 1920s, people were apparently afraid of the 'germs' jumping the wall and were told to cross the road and not walk by the side of the isolation hospital. It was not surprising, therefore, that Tiverton's isolation hospital was built right on the edge of town, at Post Hill.
Veteran town and district councillor Mary Turner remembers seeing inside the red brick building, having been sent there as a child with scarlet fever at the end of the Second World War.
She said: "I can't remember exactly how old I would have been but I remember being taken away in the ambulance and I was placed in a ward with other children at the hospital.
"As it was an isolation hospital, you were not allowed any contact with the outside world, or even to go outdoors, but I do remember seeing my Dad who came to see me and knocked on the window. He tried to speak to me but we couldn't understand each other through the glass."
She said: "I was so young I didn't really understand why I was there. I felt cut off, and I kept asking the nurses: 'Has the fever gone?"
Diphtheria was among the other infectious conditions which would have been treated at the hospital at the time.
Mrs Turner added: "I don't remember how long I was there for,. It felt like years, but it was probably only weeks. I was treated very well while I was there but I just couldn't wait to get home."
Scarlet fever is a bacterial illness that causes a distinctive pink-red rash, but has thankfully become much less common in the UK in recent years.
The hospital ceased to be used for patients with viral diseases as treatment methods became more advanced and was latterly used as a convalescence and recuperation hospital.