Bath Times and Nursery Rhymes: The memoirs of a nursery nurse in the 1960s

Bath Times and Nursery Rhymes: The memoirs of a nursery nurse in the 1960s
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A heart-warming memoir about life as a nursery nurse and nanny in the 1960s, for fans of Call the Midwife.In 1961, sixteen year-old Pam Weaver began her training as a nursery nurse. Drawn to this profession by her caring nature and a desire to earn her own living, Pam had no idea of the road she was about to start down. At the government-run nursery, she found early mornings, endless floors to scrub, overbearing matrons, heartbreaking stories of abandonment, true friends and life lessons that would stay with her for decades.Bath Times and Nursery Rhymes is Pam’s memoir about her time in state nurseries and as a Hyde Park private nanny. It will recount the highs and lows of that time with engaging and uplifting honesty.


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Bath Times and Nursery Rhymes


This novel is entirely a work of fiction.

The names, characters and incidents portrayed in it are the work of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or localities is entirely coincidental.


A division of HarperCollinsPublishers

1 London Bridge Street

London SE1 9GF

First published in Great Britain by

HarperCollinsPublishers 2013

Copyright © Pamela Weaver 2013

Pam Weaver asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work.

A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.

Source ISBN-13: 9780007488445

Ebook Edition © January 2013 ISBN: 9780007488452

Version 2017-05-04


All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the non-exclusive, non-transferable right to access and read the text of this ebook on-screen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, downloaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of HarperCollins e-books.

With the exception of my parents and my husband, the real names of the people in this story have been disguised or changed completely. I have altered the gender of some of the children to protect their identity and all of the names of both children and staff have been changed. I have also refrained from giving the exact location of each nursery, hospital or private home where I worked for the same reason.

The stories are true to the best of my memory.

I should like to thank Ann Webb and Sylvia Dennis (Denny) for jogging my memory and for a fantastic weekend together when we all walked down memory lane. I should also like to thank Wendy Germaney, who took the time to write down some of her memories which have been included in this book.

To all the children who were in my care at some time or other, I thank you for the wonderful times we shared together and I hope and pray that you’ve had a good life despite some of your difficult circumstances. To those who worked with me, thanks for the memories.

This book is dedicated to Jacob and Sophia Sullivan with lots of love from Granny.

Chapter 1

‘After you’ve had your supper, wake the night nurse, and then come to the main hall. The person on “Lates” does the mending.’

Miss Carter, the small ginger-haired nursery warden, barked her instructions at me and left the room. I was doing my first ‘Lates’ duty in a children’s residential nursery run by Surrey County Council. The year was 1961. Yuri Gagarin had become the first man to go into outer space, The Beatles were at the start of their phenomenal success, you could buy a house for two thousand pounds and I was just sixteen.

I had arrived from my village home in Dorset a week before; my only possession, a small brown suitcase and my one ambition, to get aqualification with letters after my name. Adopted at birth, I had grown up as the daughter of my natural mother’s best friend in a small village on the Hampshire-Dorset border. My father had been an American GI, who came to this country for the D-Day landings in France and most likely perished there. He was obviously a person of colour because I have an olive skin and at that time, tight curly hair. I had left school in July and began my working life in Woolworths on the broken biscuit counter. I had no real idea of what I wanted in life but it certainly didn’t include broken biscuits or a promotion to the ladies’ personal items counter, which was on offer as soon as I’d done three months’ probation. Selling ‘bunnies’ (the name we gave sanitary towels because of the loop at each end which you fastened to the belt) didn’t really do it for me. The trouble was, there were few other opportunities in my part of rural Dorset. Max Factor had a large factory near Poole and paid well but that was about it. They laid on a bus to collect their workers from round our way so, because I would have no problem in getting to work, my dad was keen for me to join them. I hated the idea of working in a factory even more than selling bunnies.

‘Not good enough for you?’ he challenged. Dad and I were always at loggerheads.

‘No, it isn’t that,’ I said confidently. ‘I don’t want to be stuck indoors all day and besides, I want a training. I want to make something of my life.’

He harrumphed and made it plain that I couldn’t manage that so of course I had to prove him wrong. I was determined to find something which would give me a certificate and a qualification at the end of it. The only problem was, what? As soon as I could, I spent my lunch hour with the careers officer in the little market town of Ringwood where I worked, and collected a sheaf of brochures.

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