Hertfordshire Archives & Local Studies
Marie Scales started her first year of nursing in 1964 and was the third set of student nurses at the QEII, there were 14 in her set. She studied general nursing and qualified in November 1967. She shared her memories of living in the new student accommodation at the QEII and how they felt very lucky because the curfew was 11pm at the QEII but 10:30pm at most other training hospitals. There were between 25-30 student nurses on one corridor with four shared loos and two bathrooms. This was all new in the 1960’s when most other hospitals were older Victorian buildings with older accommodation. Marie recalls that although it was “absolutely fabulous” for her time later when she was trying to employee staff at the QEII “the accommodation just was not acceptable”. She remembers well how the matron and her assistant matron would be very firm with curfews and would walk the corridors regularly to check on the students. She recalls how students weren’t allowed to be married while studying nursing and were required to stay in the nursing accommodation. Here is one memory she shared, “… one of, out of my set, in fact without telling anybody, she’s got married in our 3-week holiday in our third year and she never admitted to-to it. She was still living there, and her husband was in the uh American Forces and she had to go and admit to Matron that she had got married.”
Mrs. Scales talks about some of her experiences working at the QEII and talks a little bit about how the demolition of the old building was hard to see. Having lived in Welwyn Garden City for a very long time Mrs. Scales shares some of her favourite things about the city and how she has been enjoying her retirement in the garden city. As a member of the U3A she enjoys attending meetings and hearing speakers talk to the group. It is a large group and although you may not know all the members you have a group you see regularly at the pub or out at meetings. Marie ends her interview talking about the beauty and welcoming feeling Welwyn Garden City gave to her and her friends when they moved.
Interview by Darren Harte, March 2020.