PP/WDW/BSC 05: 'Report on visit to Barns School, Peebles & Dunnow Hall, Cheshire", Frank Mathews (1944?)
Frank Mathews was the founder of the Birmingham Society for the Care of Invalid and Nervous Children.
In his biography of Mathews, Tony Rees writes
of a man I was luck enough to know and who did extraordinary things in my home city of Birmingham. He was without any sort of pretension. Though he knew many of the great and good of the city - who willingly supported him in his endeavours - he spent his working life with the poor and the sick. For more than fifty years he worked for children suffering from crippling diseases, bringing about the cure of thousands.
- Tony Rees, "An Obscure Philanthropist": Frank Mathews 1871-1948, Castle View Books.
One of these "thousands" was Mrs. Ivy Parry, interviewed by the Archive in 2006, when she was 93 years old. As a child with bone tuberculosis she was on course for amputation and a lifetime of disablement when Frank Mathews intervened; and through the radical alternatives he championed and made available, she not only retained her leg, but thrived - played tennis, got married, had children, and was still living an independent, active and energetic life when interviewed at 93.
Among the other thousands were boys and girls who went to Bodenham Manor School in Herefordshire.
Towards the end of his life Frank Mathews turned his energies to the needs of the "maladjusted" child. He carried out first hand research, visiting David Wills at Barns House in Scotland, as well as Dr. Fitch at Dunnow Hall in Cheshire. He recruited David Wills to establish a new kind of residential therapeutic community in Herefordshire. He raised funds, and used his enormous drive and influence to set Bodenham Manor on the way to opening - it opened in 1948. Before it opened he died, in 1947, with significant consequences, as we will see in another contribution to PETiTathon2015!; a selection from the unpublished Autobiography of David Wills, transcribed by volunteer Helen Moore..
In the paper presented here Frank Mathews gives a first-hand report of his visits to Barns and Dunnow. These are images only - scans. They will need a volunteer to transcribe them, and so make them accessible to text search and a wider public.
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PETiTathon2015! Day Two:
2.2b Oral History: Dr. John Coleman OBE, recorded 2 November 1994: Working with Refugees and Displaced Persons