Alex discusses his memories of his time working at Storthes Hall in Huddersfield as part of the Oral Histories project. 

Okay, So good mornin, Alex. Would you like to just give an introduction of who you are and what you currently do? Hi. I'm Alex Feather. I'm a creative minds coordinator

Creative Mind is an NHS charity hosted by South West Yorkshire NHS Trust. Um, yeah, that's me. Okay

And would you like to tell us what you're gonna be talking about this morning? So, yes. So I for a time worked at Stores Hall Hospital while his best source all hospital, working for her to self Huddersfield Health Authority. It was 19

The summer of the lovely summer of 1988 when I was there, um, and I was employed as a gardener into Okay, um So how long were you working at Stores Hall? It was just a summer of store cell, But since it closed, I've been back several times. I am in various roles, including including this one. We had a football project out there, says a community football club based up at the start

All site Shelley FC. And what was your job like working there? I remember every minute, like it was yesterday. Really? Uh, it was It's been it was definitely one of the favourite jobs I've ever done

And I've done a lot of different jobs over the years. But it was it was definitely one of my favourite jobs. Um, I loved every minute of it

Um, we were based at the site. There was four of us in the team. Most of the time

There was a charge hand. Another chap who was there as a permanent member of staff. Um, and there was myself and another student

We were both students on on summer vacation jobs. Um, I'd never, um, seen a mental health hospital before. Um, so it was quite a new experience

I did actually go for a job as a porter, but they didn't have as many. It was beginning. It was It was, at the end of its life was the hospitals

So they reduced the number of patients and they didn't need as many porters, but the grounds were still massive. And Huddersfield Health Authority was covered quite a big patch and they had lots of kind of like satellite places that we would go out and do the gardens for So there was lots of it was quite mostly quite bog standard self. Lots of weeding and mowing and clearing places out

Um, so quite a lot of hard graft. It wasn't very technical in the sense of gardening. Not, not really, but including a couple of sites that were part of this trust when I joined it

Um, yeah, it was It was a lovely a really lovely job. Lots of fresh air exercise. My colleagues were really nice

Uh, the charge and to Neil is a character I will remember for the rest of my days. He was one of the funniest people I've ever met. And very just just a real character, you know, just very funny

Um cheeky. He always had a shifty look on his face. He reminded me of Seth Armstrong from M Adele Farm

That's what I remember. Um, if people remember who's safe Armstrong not. Yeah

Um, So what was the building like on the grounds that it was on? Amazing. Uh, there was a big central building and a very, very long corridor. I think I think I think I'm right

And remembering it was the longest hospital corridor in Western Europe. Something like that. It had a dip in the middle, so that you couldn't quite see from end to end

But it was very long. There were lots of them seem to be satellite buildings across the complex, and the grounds were massive, absolutely massive. And I had to tend to some of the grounds

A beautiful setting. Absolutely beautiful setting. Um, yeah, I loved working there

I really did. Uh, the the gardening department I was part of had a shed full of really old tractors and big mowers and all sorts of bits and pieces of equipment. That was, for some reason, painted in British Army green like there were second World War equipment

Uh, looks quite odd. Everything looks like it. We belonged in a museum

You have an incredible place, credible place. And what was the journey like getting to getting to work? Well, I live in same house now, so it's about Well, it's a few miles outside of Huddersfield so that there was two choices really walk into town and get a bus or, um, cycle it. So I kind of did both

And? And if I if I got on the bus, I'd usually end up on the bus with the other students as well, which kind of made the journey sort of quite nice. It's quite a remote place. Really

Um, it's become, uh, well grounds for student accommodation. And there is a regular bus that goes up to there from the university. But University of Huddersfield

But it is quite a remote place. Really. Um, it's a bit out in the sticks

To walk it from my house would take at least an hour if not if not an hour and a half. So, you know, it was it was cycle it or or or go into town and take a bus. So it was quite a way to go there and back

Sometimes I think I got a lift back from somebody, but that I think that was an absolute rarity, really. But I really didn't mind. It was all part of the fun

It's all part of the kind of ritual of going there. I think I quite enjoyed it. I enjoyed the cycle route as well

So yeah, that that was That was quite nice. Part of it. Really

And what were the day to day activities of the place? What sort of things were going on on a daily basis. So in terms of my job there, we would have a row to of these places to go to and do some gardening workforce. So we would go out to different satellite, um, sites across borders will patch, um, to do some gardening, so that would usually take a day or a half day of that

But we did do some work on site. As I said, Um, so I remember mowing the bowling green, um, mowing football pictures and cricket pitches. Um, all sorts

Really, Uh, we sometimes would have lunch on the site in the in the cafeteria cum restaurant, and we would we would meet, um, service users there. Uh, it wasn't a bustling place like I imagined it would have been when it was fully occupied because it had thousands of people, which it would explain why it had lots of sports facilities. It had something like for football pitches to tennis courts

At least one cricket pitch, a bowling green. It had loads of different sports facilities, um, and walks and stuff you could do around the grounds. Yeah

Did you ever see anybody out playing sports and going for walks and going for walks. Yes. Um, even though I mode there football pitches

I never actually saw any football matches at the time, but subsequently, when I've gone back to Shelly FC, I've seen people playing football and even flying aeroplane model aeroplanes there. There's a model aeroplane club based up there as well. So yeah, I've seen I saw some activity

Yeah. Do you have any significant memories or events that stick in your mind from working there? There's definitely one thing. Um, I was one morning

I was told they'd got a football match going on on a Sunday. I think it was, um and I was I was asked to, uh, basically, my whole week was going to be devoted to It's good. Excuse me preparing, uh, some some ground for a football match

Um, so they took me in a vehicle with a mo and a can of petrol to to a field, and the grass was about three ft tall, and I was, and I was like, Are you sure this is where the football pitches? And no. Yeah, it's in here. Um, so basically, we found the corners of the football pitch, and then I was now was expected to to mow the pitch

Um, then they bring attract around later on the week to collect the grass, and then we'd mark it out with that strange white paste, chalky pace that they used and that took all week. And I remember I got a tan. Um, that way the weather was glorious

Um, I've never done anything quite so physical and normal life before. I mean, it was it was a big, heavy mower. Um, and it just seemed extraordinary that there was a football pitch underneath all this grass

I once I started to know it out, I just thought Wow, Um, um, yes, I did, but I didn't see the football match. I understand they didn't win. So all that effort, Yeah

Um, yeah, that that that struck me as quite quite odd when I was trying to mow the bowling green. The little more that I was using was really heavy. And, uh, the bowling green was on a sort of Well, it was a raised bowling green

And I remember not quite making the corner and tipping off the edge of it with with with the mower, um, health and safety. But, you know, never mind. Brilliant

Okay. Thank you very much for answering all the questions. My pleasure


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