Jane Crookall Maternity Home: Sources L to N

Source L: A description of the original Jane Crookall Maternity Home on Desmesne Road prior to its 1927 opening, from the Isle of Man Examiner, 6 May 1927



“The home contains twelve beds, six of them in a general public ward, and six others in private wards. the institution is not going to bear the visible stamp of public charity; there are some beds for which a fee of four guineas weekly is to be charged, and as for others, the patients will be asked to pay in they can, and what they can, and if they cannot pay at all, then the subject will be dropped. At the foot of the bed is a dainty little swing cot, suspended from the rails, in which the baby will be in sight of its mother. The beds are the most comfortable that could have been procured, being furnished with a hair mattress four-and-a-half inches thick.

On the first floor, to the right, as one enters the house, is a dining-sitting-room, which is also to be used for the meetings of the committee, and may be used, at need, as a reception room. The matron’s room is on the left. immediately behind is the room for ante-natal care, a most important adjunct to the institution. In this room has been placed a photograph of the lady after whom the home is name, the first wife of Mr. Crookall. Behind is a spacious kitchen, with cupboards and a well-stocked china storeroom, adjoined by a most convenient scullery, in which the simpler laundry work will also be done.

On the second floor is the general ward already alluded to, ad the room in which childbirth will actually take place. the patients can be wheeled from one room to the other, a few feet away. in an outlet on the same level are two private wards with bathroom, W.C., and a closet for keeping of utensils. It should be stated that each of the floors regularly inhabited has its own bathrooms and conveniences.

On the third floor are three private wards, one containing two beds, with a closet for the storage of linen; and on the top floor are four bedrooms for the staff, each with its dressing-table and wardrobe, and a box-room.

The building is, of course, lighted electrically and – a notable achievement – there is a radiator in every room, the central heating installation being placed in an annexe outside the house. All the fittings in the bathrooms and the electric light switches, are made in enamel; the walls are painted, the floors laid in linoleum, all washable in the shortest possible time; and the outstanding characteristic of the whole establishment is spotless cleanliness. The windows are large and frequent, and every room is admirably light; and the curtaining, though not obtrusive, effectually prevents the rooms from being overlooked.

The blankets to be used in the home are Manx have been manufactured at the famous Tynwald mills, and all the other bedding, sheets, counterpanes, towelling, etc. has been supplied locally.

Source M: Plans of the custom-built new “Jane” building, opened in 1937. From the Isle of Man Examiner, 5 November 1937

Source N: From the Isle of Man Examiner, 6th June 1939


Twelve years ago, the late Mr. Crookall purchased and equipped the premises in Demesne Road, and established the Home in memory of his wife.

This building has long proved inadequate for its purpose, and at last the Trustees have been able to realise an old ambition and provide the Island with a first-class Home…

The building is entirely heated with low pressure hot water, and there are radiators in every room. Kitchen furnishings, bedsteads, loose coverings for lounge furniture, blankets, mattresses, bedspreads, carpets and grounds laid out in grass with flower and shrub borders.

The symbol of maternity – the stork – is an original item erected in the centre of a rose bed contained in a larger bed at the Demesne Road entrance, rough which there is a tar macadam drive. A rockery is planned for the sloping bank at the front.

The building itself is of flat-roof design, with the hospital section on the ground floor, and staff and kitchen accommodation on the first floor.

The maximum amount of sunshine and light is obtained by all wards facing a southerly direction.

Entering from Demesne Road, there is an octagonal entrance hall with a corridor running the length of the building to the Kensington Road entrance, with sub corridors branching off. Offices for receptionist and matron are in the entrance to the left wing, further along which is the Pre-Natal Clinic (which has a separate entrance at the side of the building).

Various wards comprising a labour unit are contained on the right of the entrance, and an operating theatre for use if and when necessary is provided for also. In this latter unit the walls are specially insulated, thus preventing any sound penetrating.

Questions to consider:

  1. Read Source L. Why and how do you think the Desmesne Road site might have been unsuitable?
  2. The new site was custom-built as a maternity ward. What evidence can you find that it was built with its patients in mind?
  3. What amenities and healthcare were available for the patients in the new build?
  4. Read Sources L and N. What differences were there between the old site at Desmesne Road and the new one?
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