Jane Crookall Maternity Home: Sources A to D

 Source A: Table showing the number of births and direct maternal death from 1882 to 1961

From C G Pantin: A Study of Maternal Mortality and Midwifery on the Isle of Man, 1882 to 1961 

Source B: From C G Pantin: A Study of Maternal Mortality and Midwifery on the Isle of Man, 1882 to 1961 

“When an abortive attempt was being made in 1924 to establish a maternity ward at Noble’s Hospital, Dr C S Pantin reported:

Amongst the very poor in Douglas, and the Island generally, the conditions of life are so bad that one is frequently astonished that a woman can survive among so great dangers. I have been at confinements [childbirths] where there was no bowl available to wash the hands, and the woman lay on a filthy mattress on the floor. It is quite a common thing for the husband and elder children to have to sleep with the woman, after her confinement, because there is no other bed available for them.”

Source C: From the Isle of Man Examiner, 11 March 1927

“Maternity Home in Douglas


Inhabitants of Douglas may have observed of late the name “The Jane Crookall Maternity Home” inscribe over a building in Demesne-road, which was until recently occupied as a dwelling-house, but which is being prepared for the reception and treatment of maternity cases. As the name implies, the house is gift to the town by Mr A. B. Crookall, H.K., Mayor of Douglas, in memory of his late wife. the need of such an institution has been drummed into the public mind for many years – doctor have some perfectly appalling stories to tell of the conditions under which children are born in quite a considerable number of the poorer homes of the town – and two or three years ago it was hoped that provision of this kind would be made as an adjunct to Noble’s Hospital.”

Source D: Arthur Binns Crookall

AB Crookall was born in Blackpool 1873 and moved to the island at the age of 13, the son of a boarding-house proprietor. He was a builder, decorator and restauranteur, before winning the contract during WWI to feed internees at Knockaloe. By the end of the war he was the one of the richest men on the island, going on to be elected to the House of Keys in 1921, and becoming Mayor of Douglas in 1922.

In 1927 he purchased a house on Desmesne Road and had it fitted as a maternity ward as a gift to the people of Douglas.

The new maternity home was named the Jane Crookall Maternity Home in memory of Jane Crookall, née Callow, who died in 1922.

Questions to consider:

  1. Look at the figures in Source A. The Jane Crookall Maternity Home was opened in 1927. How much difference do you think this made to new mothers at the time?
  2. What is the overall trend in maternal mortality between 1882 and 1961. What would explain this?
  3. Look at Source B. Why was maternal mortality (the death of new mothers) so high in the early twentieth century?
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