Jack Cavey, 1st Secretary of All Saints Hospital, 1958, extracts from interview in 2005

"I was appointed as, what was known as the Hospital Secretary ... I moved from local government into the NHS at the very beginning, managing a hospital of about 350 beds, together with a Smallpox Hospital in Dartford ... Dartford had too many hospitals eventually two main hospitals were amalgamated and I would have been the deputy, instead of the manager so when the offer of managing All Saints in Eastbourne came along I took it on as a project ... Hospitals in those days were under the Health Board, this is where information about jobs was circulated. This one attracted me because it was a completely new venture, totally different. It was a very old empty building, ecclesiastical in style, and both attractive, formidable at the same time. I and the Matron, Leonora Burliegh, were interviewed and appointed in June, and arrived in August 1959. Dick Gaston was the engineer, we were the only people there at that point ... Part of the agreement was that some of the hospital had to be used for convalescent patients. We had to recruit nurses and staff to open in October - porters, cleaners, cooks; two ward sisters necessary for the two geriatric wards Devonshire and Roselands, and two sisters for the top floor wards for convalescent women ... The convalescent patients were allowed to stay for two weeks, no men. The wards were called Seaside and Merlyn ... It took about a year to get hospital full ... There was an open cage lift for beds which was old fashioned but it worked. I remember on one occasion before we opened Matron got stuck in it; fortunately she was lodging with us and didn't show up for a meal so I went to find her otherwise she would have been there all night ... My office was large looking out onto the garden, Mother Superiors garden ... Matron and the junior doctor lived in the gatehouse, we lived in Darley Road ... there was a Playing field at bottom end ... the gardens were extensive, and we had two or three gardeners ... The local schools, St. Bedes and St. Andrews, used the playing field; the conveyance to the NHS stated that there was to be no building on the playing field ... It was wonderful to think that re-opening the hospital added a great number of beds for Eastbourne. The convalescent patients came down from London and around, and were a completely separate thing. The patients stayed at the hospital for the first week and were allowed out after that to enjoy the Meads and Eastbourne. Medically we would not accept patients with mental health problems because of the proximity of Beachy Head. We did treat older women patients with Gynecological and Obstetric problems ... The interior of the building was entirely as it always had been, there was just some upgrading done but no modernisation. The chapel was well used, Denys Giddy one of the chaplains built up the congregation ... We were very closely involved with the life of the Hospital and organised many events, we got the Salvation Army Band in to play carols at Christmas, and there were different kinds of social gatherings, for instance producing plays with the staff ... there was a lot of life going on there ... patients were invited to join in with everything ... there was a day room on the orchard side of the building, Devonshire Ward end, where the laundry was later made. I think the Laundry was done by an outside firm. The sewing room was on the first floor ... Convalescent patients came down and had their meals in the dining room ... there was a large garden at the far end as you go in, with fruit and veg to supply the hospital kitchen ... I can remember a large rhubarb patch ... the relationship between the hospital secretary and the matron was crucial to the running of the hospital ... I was there for five years and although we loved it there, when it was up and running I wanted a new challenge and moved to another job ... "

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