The Kirkburton Auxiliary Military Hospital, housed in the Drill Hall, Shelley Lane, Kirkburton, was opened on 29 November 1915.

Kirkburton was the first of three auxiliary hospitals to be opened in our area. Shepley followed in May 1916 with 18 beds, later increased to 30; a 12-bed hospital opened in the old Parochial Hall at Lepton in September 1916 and then in December 1916 the 50-bed “Denby Dale and Cumberworth, Skelmanthorpe and Clayton West Joint Convalescent Hospital” was opened in the Victoria Hall at Denby Dale. The Lepton Hospital was closed in 1917 following the decision to close all hospitals with fewer than 25 beds but a new one was opened at Ashfield, Lepton in June 1918 with 40 beds.

Initially the Kirkburton hospital had 20 beds, and by 1916 the number had increased to 23. For short periods when demand was great, tents were erected in the grounds which increased the total beds up to 35. In total 765 soldiers were treated at the Kirkburton Hospital whilst it was in operation.

The brick-built building in Shelley Lane had originally been built for the local Company of Territorials to practice drills and there was a firing range underneath the main hall before it was taken over for use as an Auxiliary Hospital. When the hospital closed on 31 December 1918, it reverted to be a drill hall and was used by the Royal Corps of Signals during the Second World War. It had several uses after that until the 1960’s, when it became the Kirkburton Doctors’ Surgery. The building was finally demolished in 2005 to make way for a car park when the Surgery moved into a new purpose-built building behind. The photo below shows the familiar front of during the early 1900’s.

The photo above is from the British Red Cross Archives

Click the following link to see an aerial photo of Kirkburton in 1926. The Drill Hall is situated at the top of the picture in the centre above the church

On 19 November 1915, Miss Gertrude Inglis, a trained nurse, was appointed as the matron of the Kirkburton Hospital, whilst still being employed as the Kirkburton Parish Nurse. The Red Cross record cards show that in November 1914 she left the village to spend six months as Acting Matron of the Broadstairs VAD Hospital. Whilst she was away, her sister Alice took over her parish duties. Gertrude retained her position and pay as Parish Nurse when she became Matron of the Kirkburton Hospital. She also continued her duties as the Parish Nurse after the war ended.

The Matron was assisted by her sister, Miss Alice Inglis, who was also a fully qualified nurse and Home Sister. Alice had previously worked at St Agnes’ Hospital London, and she started at the Kirkburton Hospital on 19 November 1915.

Both sisters worked at the hospital until its closure on 31 December 1918 and resided at Park View, Penistone Road, Kirkburton.
A third sister, Georgina Inglis, who lived in Inverness where all the three sisters grew up, deputised for both her sisters for holidays and sickness. During her years of service, she worked approximately 2½ months each year and lived with her sisters at Park View when she was at Kirkburton.

The photo above shows some of the soldiers treated at the Kirkburton Hospital outside the porch at the front of the building. The nurse in the middle is Sister Alice Inglis and next to her in the dark uniform is Flora Smith who was the Night Nurse.
The 23 patients above are in their hospital uniform with some of the nursing staff including Matron Gertrude Inglis. Gertrude is seated in the centre of the second row from the bottom and her sister, Sister Alice Inglis, is seated third from the left on the same row.
The photo above shows 20 patients and 5 staff including Sister Alice Inglis, who is seated in the middle of the front row, outside the Kirkburton Hospital.
A group of approximately 75 local ladies signed up with the Red Cross as part of the Voluntary Aid Detachment and formed a rota to undertake all housekeeping at the hospital, including cooking. Tribute must also be paid to the unsung heroes and heroines of Kirkburton and Highburton whose names are not documented but who supported the hospital by providing produce from their allotments and gardens for the kitchen, washing and ironing of bedding and uniforms, washing and rolling bandages, raising funds for hospital equipment and patients’ comforts as well as giving their time to put on many concerts and entertainments for the wounded soldiers.

The photo above shows some of the women of the Red Cross and Voluntary Aid Detachment (VADs), who worked at the Hospital during the War.

Second row from the bottom, from the left: Unknown, Florence Elizabeth Heppenstall – the village School Mistress, Alice Inglis – Sister, Haidee Outram – Commandant, Dr William Henry Thorman – Medical Officer, Margaret Gladys Thorman – Quarter Master, Gertrude Inglis – Matron, Flora Annie Smith – Night Nurse, Unknown

Mrs Outram, the wife of the vicar of Kirkburton became the Commandant of the Kirkburton Hospital and was awarded an MBE for the work she did during the war. The hospital’s Quartermaster was Mrs Gladys Thorman who was the wife of the Hospital’s Medical Officer, William Henry Thorman. Both the Matron and Alice Inglis were ‘Specially Mentioned’ for their service at the Hospital and received the War Service Badge. (Link to list of ladies on the VAD spreadsheet)

On Saturday 4 January 1919, the Huddersfield Examiner gave an account of the concert and social evening held to mark the closing of the Kirkburton Auxiliary Military Hospital.

The closing of the Kirkburton Auxiliary Military Hospital was marked by a concert on Monday, and dinner and social on Tuesday evening. The hospital was opened on November 29th, 1915 with 20 beds, which were increased in 1916 to 23, and has since been increased to 30. Seven hundred and sixty- five patients have been admitted during the period and comprised 552 surgical cases and 213 medical cases. It has been well staffed by willing voluntary workers. Colonel Marshall, on his last visit, said that the hospital had always admirably conducted.

The excellent concert on Monday was given by Mr. Herbert Leeming’s concert party. Madame Beaumont, Miss Constance Wilkinson, and Mr. Charles Haigh contributed excellent items. A social evening was held for all the staff and workers on Tuesday evening. It was preceded by dinner. At the after proceedings in the hall Coun. B. H. Moxon (chairman of the Hospital Committee) presided, and was supported by the vicar, the Rev. W. Outram (secretary).

Presentations were made to the matron (Miss Inglis), who received from the V. A. D.’s a silver travelling clock, and a silver candelabra candlestick from the committee. Miss Inglis, who has acted as sister, was the recipient of two candlesticks from the V. A. D.’s, and a silver candelabra candlestick from the committee. Mrs. Outram (commandant), who has been decorated with the M. B. E., for her services, received a silver photo frame with a suitable inscription. Dr. Thorman (medical officer) was presented by the committee with a silver cigarette case, and a fountain pen by the V. A. D.,s. Miss G. Inglis (the third sister) was given a set of fish knifes from the V. A. D.’s and a handsome handbag from the committee. Mrs. Outram presented the V. A. D.’s and staff with a blue enamelled brooch with a suitable centre and inset with the letters “K. H., 1915-1919.”

Miss Inglis who has given her services as matron gratuitously, was eulogised by the chairman and the doctor for her devoted efforts. Dr. Thorman was also thanked for his work.

The “boys” left for Royds Hall on Wednesday morning, and at the railway station fog signals heralded their departure.

Huddersfield Weekly Examiner, Saturday 4 January 1919


First World War/British Red Cross

Vivien Teasdale Huddersfield In The Great War

Huddersfield Weekly Examiner various dates

Thurgood J.D. Huddersfield War Hospitals Huddersfield Daily Examiner

11 March 2015
Thurgood J.D. A History of Nursing in Halifax and Huddersfield 1870 – 1960 

PhD Thesis (University of Huddersfield)