Meet Thorpe Hall’s first baby….unless you know different

Possibily the first baby born at Thorpe Hall -  72-year-old Mary Teresa Baines of Stamford EMN-160325-092750009
Possibily the first baby born at Thorpe Hall - 72-year-old Mary Teresa Baines of Stamford EMN-160325-092750009
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Teresa Baines’ birth certificate states her date of birth - June 21, 1943; her father’s name - Alwyn Thomas Arthur Boyden, a railway signalman who lived in Taverners Road, Peterborough; and her mother’s name Mary May Teresa Boyden, nee Bulfin.

It also states her place of birth – Thorpe Hall, Thorpe Road, Peterborough. Teresa (named Mary Teresa at birth) is one of the thousands of babies born at Thorpe Hall during its time as a maternity hospital between the early 1940s and 1971.

But more than that – Teresa believes she may be the first ever Thorpe Hall baby… unless readers know different.

“My mum told me that I was the first baby to be born at Thorpe Hall when it became a maternity hospital,” said Teresa, who is 72. “The timings fit with what seems to be known about Thorpe Hall’s history but it’s very difficult to track down records because it was so long ago.”

Teresa’s younger brother Michael was born at Thorpe Hall five years later and Teresa remembers returning to visit him and their mum.

“I remember looking down at his tiny feet!” she said.

The family stayed in the area and Teresa became a well-known figure. She was named Britain’s Railway Queen at the age of 14 and travelled the length and breadth of the country via train. She even had a dance thrown in her honour at the Town Hall by the city’s mayor.

She worked as a hairdresser before marrying Ralph, moving to Stamford and having a son. She then spent 25 years as a school crossing patrol woman – a so-called lollipop lady – at Malcolm Sargent School in Stamford.

“I knew so many of the children and they often came back to visit me long after they had left school,” said Teresa, of Casterton Road, Stamford.

She has also retained her link with Thorpe Hall. In 1996 she attended a reunion of Thorpe Hall babies at which she was the oldest, as far as she was aware. Teresa, Michael, Michael’s wife Maria and their families are also regulars at Thorpe Hall events.

Teresa said: “We do feel a real connection with Thorpe Hall and I’d love to find out if I really was the first baby to be born during its spell as a maternity hospital.”

Teresa’s birth certificate shows she was born at Thorpe Hall on June 21, 1943. Were you born at Thorpe Hall before that date? We’d love to hear from you. Contact Thorpe.fundraising@sueryder.org.

Many people like to mark the fact they are a Thorpe Hall baby by receiving an exclusive certificate and history book in exchange for a donation of £10. If you would like to find out more please email Thorpe.fundraising@sueryder.org or call 01733 225999.

Invitation

Thorpe Hall Hospice will be opening its doors on April 20 to mark the 25th anniversary of Sue Ryder providing incredible care at Thorpe Hall in Peterborough.

Drop in to any of three sessions: 8am-10am, 2pm-3.30pm and 5.30pm-7pm.

There will be chance to take a tour of Thorpe Hall and the gardens, view a photographic exhibition showing Thorpe Hall through the ages, meet the staff who opened the doors 25 years ago and find out how you can help shape the future.

Cromwell’s era

Oliver Cromwell’s England was a unique time in our country’s history – England was a republic, with no king or queen, instead ruled by parliament. The system was not a success so Cromwell, backed by the army, became the effective leader from 1653 until his death in 1658.

Cromwell was a Puritan who ruled according to his strict religious beliefs. Music and festivities were heavily controlled, Christmas celebrations were banned, inns and theatres were closed, swearing was a fine-able offence and playing football on a Sunday could get you whipped.

Cromwell ruled over an era of austerity, one of the reasons why Thorpe Hall is now a grade 1 listed building – few mansion houses of its scale were built during the 1650s.

After his death and the restoration of the monarchy the nation rejoiced under the rule of King Charles II who earned the nickname ‘the Merry Monarch’.

Shopping list

Donate or raise money for Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice and this is what your money could pay for:

£14 could pay for one hour of incredible care at Thorpe Hall

£25 could pay for the time it takes our chef to create a freshly cooked lunch for all our patients

£100 pays for a hospice nurse for a day

You can donate by calling 01733 225999, by posting a cheque to Thorpe Hall Hospice, Thorpe Road, Longthorpe, Peterborough, PE3 6LW or by dropping into the hospice.

Thank you.