Some of The Children’s Society’s children’s homes in the late-20th Century, particularly nurseries looking after young children, kept daily and nightly log books.
These books were kept to monitor the health of the children in the home. Generally, entries were made each day and each night by one of the members of staff on duty. Because the entries are so regular, they provide very detailed information about the health of the children and can be used to follow the effectiveness of any treatments given for injuries or illnesses.
The following image comes from the day and night log book for Sunnyside Nursery for Disabled Children, Box, Wiltshire.
[Names of two children] } seen by speech therapist
all other children appear satisfactory
Everyone slept well.
Had fall on drive. Bruising and minor abrasions
All other children appear satisfactory
[Child’s name] – Awake crying, very chesty
settled after having drink and
[Names of two children] } Both awake fretful for long intervals
during the night
Remaining children slept well.
All children appear satisfactory
Sunnyside Nursery first opened in 1930 as the Holy Innocents Home, with residents transferred to the new home from the recently closed Admiral and Mrs Arden Close Memorial Home for Girls, Bristol. The home started taking on younger children in the 1930s and was known as Sunnyside Nursery from 1949 onwards.
It was in 1971 that Sunnyside Nursery started looking after disabled children; this was partly due to its location, as there were specialist hospitals and clinics in the local area. Initially, Sunnyside still functioned as a nursery, but in the late-1970s and the 1980s, Sunnyside started helping older children and young people with disabilities too.
An older medical book from Sunnyside Nursery, Box, was discussed in an earlier post about treatments for winter colds in the 1940s.
It would be interesting to compare the 1940s medical book with the 1970s day and night log book: Had instances of and treatments of diseases changed in the intervening decades? And did the medical provision for Sunnyside change when it started looking after disabled children?
(The above book contains information about living individuals and so some access restrictions will apply. For anyone wishing to access the volume, please contact us for further information.)