Pat Logue - Abstracts

Pat's grandmother was matron of Bedford Row maternity hospital. The laundry from the hospital was cleaned in the Good Shepherd laundry. As a young child in the 1950s Pat often went with his grandmother to drop off and collect laundry. Here he recalls his memories and impressions of the place.

I used to go out with her with the laundry to the Good Shepherds when she was bringing it out. We went to the counter and normally a nun would come to the counter to us. We'd see the girls inside. Most of them, they were all dressed the same way, usually scarves in their hair - scarves on their heads and eyes to the ground. Obviously they weren't supposed to have eye contact with anyone at the counter. They always seemed to be rushing. The place was very very quiet. Nobody spoke anyway loudly. The nun would come to the counter to serve whoever came in and the girls would just keep on doing what they were doing, mostly running through and taking the laundry and bringing it back to where they were cleaning it I suppose, and off to where they were ironing it as well. That's basically all I have to say. There was nobody talking. There was no smiling. The nuns had very little talk to the girls working there.

I think it was a workhouse, an awful place. But I wouldn't have any great proof of that. Obviously the girls had babies and what became of the babies? You know a lot of them were sold to Americans. But what happened to the children that people who came in didn't want? Where did they go? What happened to them? What age did they come out of the place at? How long were they there? Did any of them go back to their parents? There is a whole history to be written about the place.

As a child I was even uncomfortable out there, just the feeling of the place alone. My grandmother didn't talk to me to me about it so much because she would have felt that I was too young to discuss it with but I think she felt sorry for the girls who had been put in there as well. She was well educated and she would have been very broad-minded for the times that were in it. She was the matron of Bedford Row.

Download Pat's Full Oral History