Maggie Marten's Surgery


 Maggie Marten's Surgery


Then the aftermath for the scramble for Mr. Nancarrows money, and Maggie Martens surgery was very busy indeed. Nine out of ten had cuts and abrasions not only boys & girls but men also who had been in the scramble for tobacco or beer. I have mentioned before Miss Maggie the quack her kitchen barely furnished, with an old Welsh arm chair for her brother Jim an old bachelor a big man who worked as a furnace man at Grenfells Copper works. A character in himself always doing good for any cause with his violin. The Chest of Drawers was her medicine chest on top were dozens of jam jars (the old white china ones) no labels on any of her ointments or herbs when one of the drawers were open it food put ready for the horse it was full of cut herbs of all kinds. Where she obtained them I never found out, and there were 3 long ones and 2 small ones the bottom of all was her bandage draw and it consisted of pieces of sheets, white shirts, blouses or anything white that could be torn or cut into strips. The people of the village sent them to her for use in her work, as she never had a fixed charge on any of clients, if you asked how much do I owe you, she would smile and say leave something little on the top of the chest of draws, when you are going out. To be honest there was not very much space to put anything there, it was not unusual to go there with about 8 people waiting treatment especially boys. She was so patient and nice to everybody, and her brother Jim was much the same. I think she had more chairs than any-one in the village. Sometimes we would be sitting in rows then Jim would get up and this was an enjoyment in itself. He would first put the bow around the sash fastener and then rub it with resin he had a lump about four inches square. Then a few bars, then tighten the screws, (He had very big hands) then a few more-bars, then tighten another screw and break the string. Then into a box of catgut, strings all in a complete tangle, his patience now tried but he was as gentle as if nothing had happened.

During this time a big woman came in for treatment with a very bad leg, asked if she could be done at once, as she was in great pain. Get the pan in Jim and put some boiling water into it then go and fill the kettle there was only one tap between three houses, at this time. So Jim after being in front of a furnace all day would put his coat on to fill the kettle. He would now put the new string in the violin and after the same performance play a few bars. He never had any lessons, and you can imagine what riverted on the woman’s bad leg, a big running wound. With Maggie bathing it so tenderly, then a quiet whisper from one of the boys, what a dirty draws she got on this would cause great laughter, and poor old Jim would get up very quietly and put his Violin, Bow, and lump of resin away for the night. When you had your treatment, you would ask her if you had to come again, yes for a different treatment next day. You would always have a pal to go with you to Maggie’s on the last visit, you would according to your parents position, have the money to leave on the chest of drawers, but you always made a habit of changing it and giving her half. With many thanks from Maggie, and a cheery good night see you Sunday from Jim, who was our Sunday school teacher at Miss Jones’s school on Sunday.


Other notes:

 We also had two good Cyclists Tom Ogborn and Rob Turvey who rode Penny farthing bikes.


The chief Industries at this time were:

Grenfell copper works

Mannesman Tube Works

Upper Bank spelter works

Dillwyn spelter works

Tyrgwillt Colliery

Beddoes Colliery

White Rock Lead works.

The payment of wages for a boy who started at 12 or 13 years old in any of the Industries was 1/- per day.

 All the works above mentioned are now closed.