Taking a trip down memory lane of St Catherine’s Hospice

The Chapel ward at the old Lostock Hall Continuation Hospital

The Chapel ward at the old Lostock Hall Continuation Hospital

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St Catherine’s Hospice is appealing for people to share their memories as the charity launches a history project to celebrate the rich heritage of its site.

To celebrate both the 30th anniversary of the hospice and the first birthday of The Mill café and community hub, the charity is working on a local history booklet which shares people’s memories of the area, now known as St Catherine’s Park.

This photo was taken on the last working day of Lostock Hall Continuation Hospital

This photo was taken on the last working day of Lostock Hall Continuation Hospital

The project is being led by volunteer Anne Nicholas, who works as an advisor at The Mill, with help from other advisors who give their time there.

It was inspired by the conversations Anne has had with customers about what they remembered from days gone by.

She and the team are working to compile historical facts and figures, as well as anecdotes and memories of people who remember the hospice as Lostock Hall Continuation Hospital and The Mill as a local farm.

Anne, from Clayton-le-Woods, said: “In my role as an advisor at The Mill, I get chatting to all sorts of different people. Over the past year, I’ve had many conversations with people keen to talk about their memories of the place, and also those who have enquired about whether we might be putting together a history of the site for visitors to read.

“By involving locals and their memories in this history book exercise, we’re hoping to produce an interesting resource that many have a connection with.”

Volunteer Anne Nicholas

“In launching this appeal for memories, we are bringing both of these things together in what we hope will become a real community project.

“The launch of The Mill was all about opening up the area to the community, welcoming members of the public into the grounds, and providing a hub for them to enjoy.

“By involving locals and their memories in this history book exercise, we’re building on this and hope we can produce an interesting resource that many have a connection with.”

Former Leyland Motors employee Eileen Tinsley, who has lived in Watkin Lane, Lostock Hall, nearly all of her life, is sharing some of her memories in the book.

Eileen, aged 87, said: “As a girl, I remember going to what is now The Mill when it was Catterall’s Farm – it was a dairy farm and I used to go there to fetch our milk.

“I remember once walking through the fields behind where The Mill is now – they used to take you all the way through to Irongate near Brownedge Road – and all of the cows started coming towards me!

“I was only about nine or 10 and I was really frightened.”

Eileen also has clear memories of the hospice building from when it was Lostock Hall Continuation Hospital. She stayed there as a patient three times in total.

She said: “The first time I was in I was only about five years old and it was for a hernia.

“I remember staying in a cot type bed up on the first floor, where the balcony is.

“Then I went back when I was in my 20s after having my appendix taken out.

“I remember sitting there one day and a new patient arrived who turned out to be my supervisor at work at Leyland Motors.

“The third time I stayed downstairs on the chapel ward – what today is the chapel on the hospice in-patient unit.

“My daughter Andrea turned one while I was in and I remember the staff organising a little party on the lawn which was lovely.

“Another vivid memory is of the puddings we used to eat.

“They used to grow a lot of their food at the hospital and in particular rhubarb.

“I remember having rhubarb and custard for dessert practically every night – it was a good job I liked it!”

Anne said she was delighted to have Irene’s memories to include and encouraged others who have a story to share to get in touch.

She added: “We believe the history of The Mill and St Catherine’s will be best told through the personal experiences of local people.

“So if you, or perhaps one of your friends or relatives, has a connection or memory of the place, we would love to hear from you.”

To share a memory visit The Mill café and leave your details with one of the advisors, call 01772 695277 or email themill@stcatherinespark.co.uk.