Health and Social Care Minister David Ashford has responded to dismay expressed by members of the public over the decision to place a consignment of items which had been held in long-term storage by the Department, in an auction.
The collection included several plaques recording donations to Island hospitals by local benefactors, among them one which marked the founding of the Jane Crookall Maternity Home. This was donated by the former Mayor of Douglas Alderman A.B Crookall in memory of his wife Jane, whose name is still associated with maternity care at Noble’s Hospital. It was taken down and has been in storage since 1993.
Minister Ashford said:
‘A large number of items belonging to the Department no longer in use had been stored at the Farmhouse on the Noble’s site and in the basement of Crookall House, our current headquarters. These areas needed reorganising, particularly the Farmhouse which has been redeveloped and brought back into use as a functioning building.
‘All the items were carefully photographed and catalogued and a comprehensive list was given to Manx National Heritage and the Public Records Office, to establish if any were of national or historic importance. Some items were retained at that stage, and after confirming with both organisations that there was nothing further they wished to preserve, the remainder was transferred to Chrystal’s auction house, to be offered to the public.’
‘The process was carried out meticulously and involved the relevant heritage bodies. On a personal note, whether deemed of historic or national significance or not, I would like to have retained the Jane Crookall plaque. If there’s an opportunity to retrieve it for our own archive, we will do so.’
The Farmhouse on the main hospital site has been converted into a centre for adults with learning disabilities, part of a £5m project to create a new Adult Day Services hub which has recently been completed. Items stored there had to be dealt with before building work could start, and these were put with the items from Crookall House which needed to be moved to free-up valuable space.