Ambulances in Witham
Not comprehensive, just bits

UDC Hospital Sub Committee, 11 June 1912, page 71
Mr Pinkham chairman.
Twelve cases of scarlet fever, at Mr Rowley’s, at the Terrace, Church Street, Chipping Hill. Medical Officer thought from drinking milk at Totham procured from Mr Maynes whose son had scarlet fever. Recommended treating at ‘the Isolation Tent’ more economical that at Hospital. ‘The two nurses who were nursing the diphtheria patients could … nurse the scarlet fever cases’. Present tent accommodation would suffice. If no further cases, one tent could be dispensed with at end of week. Scarlet fever would require 6 weeks isolation. Diphtheria ready to be discharged. Agreed. Clerk directed to ‘order the Ambulance from Braintree Hospital Board to remove the patients tomorrow morning’.

c January 1915, Page 502, D/UWi 1/4/2 Urban District Council Letter Book
Bill to Mrs Jones, Spread Eagle Hotel, ‘maintenance at Heybridge Hospital at 8/7 per day’, ‘Disinfecting 10/6, Ambulance 10/-’

March or April 1915, Miss M Aldridge, London House. Bill, page 539, D/UWi 1/4/2 Urban District Council Letter Book
Hospital bill. 39 days maintenance at 8/7 a day. Disinfecting clothes and bedding. ‘Paid Man and Horse Hire for Ambulance.’ Taking bedding to Witham and patient to Witham Total £18 13 3.

3 June 1915, D/UWi 1/4/2 Urban District Council Letter Book
To Mrs Aldridge. Received letter. Will charge £5 in circumstances.

19 July 1915, D/UWi 1/4/2 Urban District Council Letter Book
To Miss Mabel Aldridge. Please reply to our letter.

27 July 1915, D/UWi 1/4/2 Urban District Council Letter Book
To Miss Aldridge. Will take proceedings unless you pay.

12 Jan 1916, page 642, D/UWi 1/4/2 Urban District Council Letter Book
Dear Sir
On the 1st inst, a Mrs Pearce and her child, were removed from Church Street, Witham, to the Heybridge Isolation Hospital as suspected Diptheria cases; on the 8th inst I received a telephone message from the Hospital informing me Mrs Pearce was returning home that day. Mrs Pearce duly arrived home in the Ambulance, and I understand she went to Chelmsford by train on the following day, Sunday.
Will you be good enough to inform me whether this patient was discharged from the Hospital cured.
[To] …, Clerk, Maldon Joint Hospital Board’

21 March 16, page 657, D/UWi 1/4/2 Urban District Council Letter Book
‘Dear Sir
Re Patients. I am in receipt of your account herein for which I thank you.
Dorothy, Edward and Walter Pierce were discharged on the 15th January, not the 16th as mentioned in the a/c and I have deducted 3 days making a total of £295 18 6 due, Do you agree? … [to] Maldon Joint Hospital Board’.

UDC, Council meeting, 9 September 1919, page 57
‘Motor Ambulance. Mr R C Gaymer attended the meeting and informed the Council that the Hon C H Strutt had purchased a motor ambulance which he wished to present to the Council for the use of the Town and neighbourhood … resolved … be accepted … write … thanks.
Mr R W Wakelin offered to garage the ambulance free of charge … thanks…
Resolved that the words “Witham Urban District Council” be painted on the ambulance and that the necessary licence be taken out in the name of the Clerk … no definite scale of charges, but that if the person removed was able to pay, such person should pay the actual running cost, or efforts be made to recover same from the Parish Council concerned’.
Clerk to write to neighbouring Parish Councils, tell them arrangements could be made to use the ambulance ‘by calling Telephone No 52, Witham’. Committee to take charge of it to be R W Wakelin, A W Garrett, and Captain Abrey.

ERO C/DF 11/14, Register of motorcars 1918-1920
HK 5741. Witham Urban District Council, Witham, F H Bright, clerk. Ford. 20 H P. Ambulance body. Grey. For Hospital work. Registered 12 September 1919

UDC Ambulance Committee, 30 September 1919, page 12 [haven’t noticed them before]
Resolved charge to be made for use of the Ambulance be one shilling per mile. Adopted.

UDC Ambulance Committee, 4 November 1919, page 16
Mr R W Wakelin to be chairman. Resolved to send accounts to people responsible. Recommended charges 9d per mile to Braintree infirmary and 1s a mile for others. Adopted

Essex Weekly News 3 Sept 1920, page 3, col 6
At Witham UDC, Mr W Pinkham said Hon C H Strutt had asked him to say he was proposing to add to his gift of a motor ambulance, an endowment which would provide about £50 p a to provide free conveyance of poor patients to hospital, and if possible some of their maintenance. Council to accept.

UDC Ambulance Committee, 5 May 1921, page 99
Messrs Glover of Witham, letters re repairs. They had taken over the ambulance from Messrs Wakelin and Leeding. Agreed to get carburettor adjusted, windows replaced with ‘new mica’, and new accessories obtained, i.e. ‘Bulb Horn’ and ‘Michelin Tube and cover’.

UDC Ambulance Committee, 30 August 1922, page 169
Charge to be 9d a mile in all cases.

UDC Ambulance Committee, 23 May 1923, page 214
Inspected ambulance at Messrs Glovers garage. Considered suggestions for improvement ‘in order that Patients and persons accompanying them may be subject to less discomfort as follows’. Cover in front. Fill up back with two doors. ‘Make up wood partition behind driver in two parts’.

UDC Ambulance Committee, 11 September 1923, page 236
Name of Council to be put on Ambulance under the name of the Clerk.

UDC, November 1929, in Braintree and Witham Times, 29 November 1929, page 2
Ambulance – Problem with vibration. Messrs Charles Warren Ltd to be asked to alter springs.

UDC Public Health Committee, 17 January 1930
page 320 Ambulance. Complaint received about vibration. Work on springs done. Medical Officer of Health to take it out and test it.

UDC, January 1930, in Braintree and Witham Times, 31 January 1930, page 4
Ambulance still vibrating.

UDC Public Health Committee, 14 February 1930
More modifications to be done to ambulance.

UDC, 24 Feb 1930, in Braintree and Witham Times, 28 February, page 3
Complaints about charge for ambulance, i.e. 1 shilling per mile. Decided to reduce to 9d a mile.

UDC Public Health Committee, 24 April 1930
page 7. ‘Ambulance. Councillor Blyth reported that, as promised, he took out the Ambulance for a test and found the stretchers most uncomfortable. With three sacks of corn in, the vehicle was much steadier, but in his opinion the springing is not suitable for conveying injured persons’. Representative from Morris to examine it at Chelmsford.

UDC Public Health Committee, 18 June 1930
page 45. Three councillors have tested ambulance since the stretchers were attended to by Eastern Garages Ltd. Far from satisfactory. New mountings are on their way.

UDC Public Health Committee, 17 September 1930
page 74. Ambulance tested since stretchers made rigid and is more comfortable. Report of accident near Cressing. Witham ambulance phoned for three times but didn’t come. Reasons unsatisfactory [not given]. Recommend moving it from present location.

UDC Public Health Committee, 18 May 1932
page 16a-17a. Ask Hurrell and Beardwell for quote for ‘illuminating the word “Ambulance” on the front of the vehicle so as to be able to obtain priority over ordinary motor traffic when held up by police’.

UDC Finance Committee, 20 July 1932
pages 23-24. Ambulance. Auditor, old accounts. Charges for hospital and Ambulance are rate fund charges so can’t be recovered except for people outside District .So recommend in future no charges to residents, for ambulance or hospital. Write off the old accounts (names are listed).

UDC Public Health Committee, 17 May 1933
page 120. Ambulance unsuitable for work. Seek tenders for new one.

UDC Public Health Committee, 14 June 1933
page 131. Get demonstration of new motor ambulance.

UDC Public Health Committee, 9 July 1933
page 142. Ambulances demonstrated. Resolved to ask Hurrell and Beardwell, who house and run the ambulance, to give price for one and recommend getting one.

UDC Finance Committee, 26 July 1933
Resolved to purchase ambulance from Hurrell and Beardwell.

July 1933, in Braintree and Witham Times, review of 1933, 4 January 1934, page 2
‘Witham’s new motor ambulance satisfactorily undergoes tests’.

UDC Estates Committee, 1 June 1935
page 40. Continue to let Public Hall stage free of charge to Mr J A Clarke for Ambulance classes. Congratulate recent students 100 per cent success in exam.

UDC, 25 July 1938
[pages 366-367] Ambulance. New one being bought. When obtained, question of ‘furnishing it with a regulation size of military stretcher’ to be considered.

UDC, Medical Officer of Health’s report, 1946 [printed], page 8
‘The District Council own a fully-equipped 18 h.p. Austin Ambulance, purchased in 1937. This is available day and night for cases of general sickness and accident in the Urban District, and in the contiguous parts of adjoining districts’.

4 thoughts on “Ambulances”

  1. Dear Janet
    Thank you very much for your research. Charles Warren of Poplar Hall and West End Garage, Witham, is a great-great-uncle of mine. He was born in Ipswich in 1878 and followed his father in becoming an engineer and inventor. I have an old photo of him, probably dating from the turn of the 20th century, where he appears to be dressed in a chauffeur’s uniform. I’ve come across quite a lot of information about him in the last few days, good and bad. He seems to have been successful for many years, but then to have fallen on hard times in the 1930’s, including the break-up of his marriage (his wife took him to court for non-payment of maintenance) and loss of his business in Witham. I’m not sure yet what became of him after all that, but he appears to have had a son (Charles Warren, again, born at Witham in 1918), who went on to become a Spitfire and bomber pilot in WWII, being awarded an MBE and the DFC. Charles junior would be my grandmother’s cousin, but I don’t think she knew anything of him, presumably because of the break-up of his parents’ marriage.
    Shane Hines, Ipswich

    1. Thanks Shane, I’m glad it was useful. I’ll try and find time in a bit to see if I have any more about the Warrens. Sorry for the delay in responding, I’m not doing much with the website right now so I overlooked your contribution. Best wishes, Janet

  2. Hello again Shane

    I had another look for Warrens. I think that other ones in Witham would be from different families, if Charles came from Ipswich. For instance in about the 1880s there was a Miss Frances, involved in the Co-op, and a Miss Ada in the orphanage, probably from Kent.

    I’ve found a few photos that you might have got similar already, as follows. I could send some by email if you gave me your address (mine is

    Several including the sign for Charles Warren works, I think he probably moved at some time from the back of 97 Newland Street to the West End Works at 157

    M804, 97 Newland Street
    M1386, 97 Newland Street
    M2904, 97 Newland St
    M1637, 157 Newland St, West End Garage

    M2144, a photo of the Royce family including Ella May (known as Val, married Warren).

    I wonder if his difficulties might have been connected with competition from the Glovers’ notor business. I think they started at the West End works but gradually moved up into the middle of town.

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