“And I got the job, I suppose, because I can play cricket.”

(George Simmons, former charge nurse at St Audry’s)

Staff at St Audry’s Hospital were required to do more than simply administer medication. Some workers were recruited on the basis of their sporting prowess, musical ability, or willingness to dance!

‘It is necessary that the Staff should realise that Entertainments and Dances are primarily for the good and benefit of the Patients, secondarily for the enjoyment of all. They should therefore devote their attention to interesting Patients in them, inducing them to take part in the various dances, etc. No Patient should ever be compelled to sit down through being unable to find a partner for a dance.’

(Suffolk District Asylum, Regulations and Instructions for Attendants and Nurses, Regulations as to Entertainments, James R.  Whitwell, Medical Superintendent)

However staff took their job very seriously and were given daily hands-on training by a matron and medical lectures by the doctors. They were expected to work thoroughly and diligently, as Victor Burrows testified: “If a patient got a bedsore you would be in trouble.