Infant Welfare

Nurse Margaret Atkinson
Nurse Margaret Atkinson at work - 1960

The Infant Welfare Centre was started in 1917 and continued until 1970. From the 1930s until at least the 1950s clinics were held at the Baptist Assembly Rooms. The purpose of Infant Welfare was to improve the health of children at a time when when childhood illnesses were often far more serious than those suffered by children today, and infant mortality affected a greater proportion of the population. The organisation came into its own during the Second World War; amongst its activities were the distibution of orange juice and dried milk and the weighing of babies. Activities ceased with the opening of the High Street Medical Centre and a clock was purchased with the remaining funds. This was presented to the Council and was situated on the gable end of its offices, at that time in The Poplars.
Northampton Mercury 27 July 1917



A show of 59 local babies was held in the Preston Memorial Hall, Burton Latimer, on Saturday, as the outcome of a debate introduced by the Rev. G. L. Richardson, Rector, at the Parish Council as to the advisibility of forming a Maternity Centre or Mothers' Welcome in the parish. Dr. Roughton, Medical Officer to the Kettering Urban Council, was the adjudicator, and the judging occupied two-and-a half hours.

The awards were: Babies under 4 months: 1 J. M. V. Lawrence, 2 Paul Geffrey Buckby, 3 Lawrence Hendry. From 4 to 9 months: Frank Drage (who also secured the championship prize of 10s. 6d. from Mrs. Millard, of Kettering, a native of Burton Latimer), 2 Annie Streeton, 3 Cynthia Toseland. From 9 to 12 months: 1 Edward O. York, 2 Dudley Jackson, 3 Stuart Elliott. 12 to 16 months: 1 Dora Turner, 2 Edna V. Boulton, 3 Phyllis V. Harper. From 18 to 24 months: Evelyn M. Webb, 2 Girlie Palmer, 3 Muriel A. Booth.

Later in the day there was a meeting in the same building, when many mothers and others attended, and heard some very valuable and practicable addresses. The Rev. G. L. Richardson, Rector, presided. Dr. Dryland spoke of the decrease of infant mortality owing to the measures taken by the County Councils and others. He gave some very good advice to the mothers as to feeding, sleeping, etc. A clean, airy house was most important. One of the greatest blots on our national interests was the housing of the working classes. The slums must be pulled down and the hotbeds of disease and dirt must go. Whenever there was a general election, let them not trouble whether a candidate was Conservative, Liberal or Labour, but ask him whether he would help them have better houses. Miss Robinson, County Council nurse, and Mrs. Richardson also spoke; and Mrs. Barlow, in distributing the prizes, declared that married women ought not to work in factories; the wages of the husband should be sufficient so as to render such work by the woman unnecessary.

Burton Latimer Infant Welfare Group - 1926 1931 Infant Welfare party
Burton Latimer Infant Welfare Group - 1926
These members are meeting at the Rectory.
The scene at Preston Hall after the distribution from the
Christmas Tree at the annual tea of the Burton Latimer
Infant Welfare Centre in 1931.
Infant Welfare Centre Tea Party - January 1931 Infant Welfare Christmas Party - 1935
Infant Welfare Centre Tea Party - January 1931
Held in the Preston Hall. Bob Lewis, who supplied this
photograph, wrote: "I am the third child from the right,
with my mother just to the right. The child on my right is,
I believe, my cousin, Peter Toseland. His mother was
Elsie Fox, my mother's sister".
Infant Welfare Christmas Party - 1935
A Christmas Party for mothers and children who attended
the Infant Welfare Clinic at the Baptist Assembly Rooms.
Some recognised faces are Mrs York, Mrs Coleman,
Mrs Burley Mrs Toop and Mollie, Mrs Bull and Mrs Darnell.

Northampton Mercury 1 February 1935


Mothers and infants attending the Centre had a pleasant time at a New Year party. Attendance prizes were received by Joy Waterfield, Jean Clipson, Janet York, Patricia Hendry, Roy Savoury, Sylvia Wills, Clive Weed, Barbara Love, Rita Butlin, Eileen Burley, John Allen, Rita Mould, Trevor Davis, Rosemary Blowfield and Mary Bull. The arrangements were made by Mrs. H. T. Edwards (president), Mrs. O. Tailby (treasurer), Mrs. G. E. Gilbert, Mrs. F. J. Shortland, Mrs. F. Downing, Mrs. A. Barlow, Mrs. W. Batty, Mrs. A. Barlow, Mrs. J. Eady, Mrs. A. C. Harris and Mrs. J. W. Coles (secretary).

Northampton Mercury 17 January 1936


Mothers and children attending the Welfare Centre, Burton Latimer, had an enjoyable time on the occasion of a party in the Assembly Room. Tea was served by the committee, and afterwards Mr. R. B. Pownall, chairman of the Urban Council, spoke of the excellent work of the Centre. The Rev. C. P. Thomas also spoke. Mrs. Pownall presented prizes for regular attendances to the following: Under one year, Geoffrey Northern, Jean Fennell, Margaret Norman, Barry Drage, Mary Read; over one year, Shirley Buckby, Rita Butlin, Roy Savoury, John Allen, Pat Hendry, Joy Waterfield, Janet York, Sylvia Wills, Mary Bull, Rosemary Blowfield, Eileen Burley, John Tanner, Melba Taylor; special prizes, John Bugby, Daphne Norman, Keith James. A large Christmas tree lent by Mrs. Orpin was laden with toys, and these were presented to the children by Mrs. Kingsley. Mrs. J. W. Coles carried out the secretarial arrangements.

Wartime Infant Welfare group Infant Welfare helpers 1950s
Wartime Infant Welfare Clinic - 1941
Mothers and children outside the Baptist Assembly Room.
The Baptist Minister Revd.McNaughton has his back to the
camera and a W.O. of the Inns of Court Regiment, which
was stationed in the area in the early days of the war, is
looking on. Wearing a dark coat is Mrs Lil Lewis; Mrs Lil
Richardson can be seen between the two men and Mrs
Jessie Mills is on the right of the picture.
Infant Welfare Helpers - 1950s
Standing: Mrs V Sawford, Mrs G Stokes, Mrs
E Borman, Nurse Jackson, Mrs L Lewis, Mrs S Giles.
Seated: Mrs H Thurlow, Mrs G Cooper (wife of
Baptist Minister), Mrs D Pentelow, Mrs E Freestone.
The photograph was taken at the Baptist Assembly
Rooms where the clinic was held.
Nurses and Infant Welfare helpers 1950s Infant Welfare party 1950s
Infant Welfare Nurses and Helpers - 1950s
Left to Right: Mrs Topsy Turner, Nurse Jackson, Mrs E
Freestone, Mrs D Pentelow, Mrs V Sawford, Nurse Capps,
Mrs D Chambers, Mrs Downing, name unknown, name
unknown, Mrs Lil Lewis.
An Infant Welfare party during the 1950s

2nd left is Sylvia Russell, 3rd right Mrs Lane,
2nd right Jean Childs and extreme right Peggy Pearson.
Infant Welfare Helpers Relax - c1970 Nurses Atkinson and Punyer
Infant Welfare Helpers Relax - c1970
Lady helpers at Burton Latimer Infant Welfare Clinic and
some husbands. From left to right: Doreen and Fred
Pentelow, Edna Freestone, Hilda Thurlow, name unknown,
Grace and Walt Stokes, Muriel and Walt Clipson
Nurses Atkinson and Punyer - 1981
Midwives at Burton Latimer from 1956 for about 30 years
and very keen bowlers, as can be seen from the outfits.

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