Doris Saxton

Transcript of the Oral History Interview with Doris Saxton

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Doris Saxton, nee Loveday, was born in Thames, she came to Richmond in 1923 to work as a nurse and midwife for Dr Washbourn. Dr Washbourn tried a number of experimental treatments for his patients, including using a car engine to resuscitate a baby. He was renowned for his polio treatments and patients travelled from other districts and on at least one occasion, from Australia, for treatments.   

In 1918 Doris, her Mother and Step-father were staying with the Nagle family in Neudorf. Of the eight people in the house she was the only one not to contract the 'flu or "pneumonic plague" as they called it. This is where she was introduced to nursing and against her stepfather's wishes she entered nurse training in 1919.  In the 1920's when she was nursing in Napier there was a recurrence of the 'flu, which was much worse than in 1918.

Doris left Hillcrest in 1925 to work in Melbourne, Australia and eventually returned to Richmond to work in Mrs Faneslow's maternity home in Edward Street.

She married in 1927 and was living in Levin during the Hawke's Bay earthquake. She remembers traumatised survivors arriving in Levin by train.

In 1940 she purchased Mrs McKenzie's nine bedroom house in Incubator Lane, a suitably sized house to accommodate her seven children.

Points of Interest

  1. Dr Washbourn and Hillcrest Hospital
  2. Electricity treatments for Infantile Paralysis (Polio)
  3. Incubator Lane /York Place
  4. The 1920's Depression - generosity
  5. Dr and Mrs Currie
  6. Mrs Troup's Maternity Home in Gladstone Road, Richmond
  7. Convalescent home in Dorset Street (Dorset House)
  8. Influenza, Spanish 'flu pandemic of 1918 and the 1920's

Interview Information

  • Date of Interview:      10 August 1984
  • Interviewer:                Les Slater
  • Length of Transcript: 23 Pages

Copyright Statement

This oral history is to be used for your private research or study only. Please do not copy or distribute the material contained in this transcript in any way, without prior approval.

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