Carving marked the all-clear
WHEN Richard Tyler scratched his name into the wall of a hospital 60 years ago, he did not expect to hear much about it ever again. But six decades later, and the names on the wall of a Huntingdonshire building are again a talking point, and are jogging m
WHEN Richard Tyler scratched his name into the wall of a hospital 60 years ago, he did not expect to hear much about it ever again.
But six decades later, and the names on the wall of a Huntingdonshire building are again a talking point, and are jogging memories across the district.
Two weeks ago, The Hunts Post published a feature looking at all the signatures which have been left on the wall of the former Primrose Lane Hospital in Huntingdon.
The collection has been gathering more and more names over the years the building has been in use. The first dates back to 1904, but others have been added along the way, making Primrose Lane a huge piece of social history.
It was when the building was taking a turn as an isolation hospital that Mr Tyler, now 81, added his name to the red bricks.
Mr Tyler was admitted in 1945 with diphtheria and for more than a month.
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"I remember my time in hospital well," he said. "I had to lie flat on my back all the time. The doctor would come round, swab your throat and send the results to Cambridge for analysis - on the bus I think.
"I was in isolation but my sister Marjorie used to sneak into the churchyard so we could shout to each other.
"You had to record three negative readings in a row to be discharged and I was forever getting two in a row but not the third."
When Mr Tyler finally got his three negative readings, he carved his name on the hospital wall - a tradition which had been in operation for many years - and went on for many more.
Mr Tyler even remembers the name of his doctor: Dr Nelson Hicks. He believes that the hospital also had an iron lung - a form of medical ventilator commonly used to treat polio.
Primrose Lane, which served as a maternity hospital in the 1960s and 1970s, is likely to be demolished when a new use for the site is decided.
There have already been calls for the engraved bricks to be saved and either taken to a museum or used in another part of Huntingdon.
Born in Hilton in 1926, Mr Tyler, was called up for service only in 1944 and never saw action overseas - a stormy day prevented his regiment crossing the Channel in 1944.
After the war, Mr Tyler became an electrician and met his wife, Kathleen, at a tea dance at the St Ives Corn Exchange in 1946.
Mr Tyler said: "It is a shame they are selling the old building. We had such wonderful times there. If I won the lottery I'd byt it myself."
The pair married in 1949, at Needingworth Chapel. The couple lived with Richard's parents at The Old George Inn, Hilton, where Richard was born, as well as lodging with the keeper of the Mill Common level crossing.
The couple moved to Church Lane, Hilton, in 1953, where they have lived ever since. They have two sons, Peter and David, who both went to Ramsey Grammar School. They also have three grandsons and two granddaughters.
Mr Tyler said: "Seeing the piece in The Hunts Post brought back a lot of memories - I can even recall my army number from the Suffolk Regiment; Private 14789599."
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