Gressenhall: Beech House

Head of the Laundry (1956-2000)

Ruby describes her working life in the laundry at Gressenhall. It was very hard work washing all the uniforms and clothes from Beech House and from a children’s home, despite the hydro-electric machinery. In the summer sheets were dried outside. There was a separate machine for Matron’s clothes. I was hired to be head of […]

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How working at Beech House led to a new career (1956-1958)

Ann describes working as a ‘nurse’ at Beech House, Gressenhall and how that led to a new career in psychiatric nursing. Working conditions I started work at Beech House at Gressenhall in 1956 and was there till about August 1958. When I was 20 I’d returned home to Swanton Morley. I had worked in horticulture […]

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The Assistant Engineer

From 1947 to 1951 approximately I worked at Beech House, Gressenhall, sometimes called The Workhouse, and lived on the site at Cherry Tree Cottage. I was 31 in 1947 and was employed as Assistant Engineer and Labour Master. My wife, Mrs N C was Laundry Supervisor. As Engineer I looked after the boilers and any […]

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The Care Assistant (1967-1974)

Barbara gives a vivid account of working as a domestic and as a carer at Beech House, Gressenhall from 1967 to 1974. Starting as a domestic When I was 21, in 1967, I started working at Beech House. Everybody in Gressenhall called it The Spike. I don’t know why. I was brought up with it, […]

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The Matron’s Assistant (1938-1975)

Norah worked in Beech House from 1938 until its closure in 1975. She began as a nursery attendant but later became the matron’s assistant. Spanning World War Two and the introduction of the National Heath Service, Norah’s story gives a detailed account of working life inside the historic building. I was born at Haveringland, near […]

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The nursing orderly (1950 – 1989)

I got into nursing when I was twenty, after my parents had moved to Billingford and then to Rougham. I was after a job and there happened to be one going at Gressenhall. I think they were desperate for staff at the time because, when they interviewed me, they just asked me what my interests […]

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The Young Cleaner (1966-1970s)

Janet talks about working as a cleaner at Beech House when she was very young. She recalls the legends of the place and some of the interesting residents. My first job was at Beech House, and I was 14. I think that I just biked round there and they said, ‘Yes, we could do with […]

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