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Staff Stories

Nora Pardey - from Tim Reeves - click here

Nora Pardey - link to Bournemouth Echo VE Day article and interview video - click here

Dr Sybille Elsbeth Stovin - from Andrew Stovin - click here


1. Midwife Hern, later Mrs Nora Pardey (1 August 1914 to 9 June 2017)

Mrs Nora Pardey was a midwife at Brocket Hall during the war & helped or delivered hundreds of babies, she says it was some of the best years of her life.  Nora finished at Brockett Hall at the end of the war (Sept 1946) and then went to Africa to train midwifery to the locals on the Gold Coast, and to be on hand to talk the Ex-Pat lady's through child birth.  Nora celebrated her 100th birthday in August 2014 and met many Brocket Babies at the Brocket Baby Day in April 2015.  She told Anne Ward she was known by her nick name "Affinity".


Norah Pardey (Midwife Hern (Assistant Matron) on the right of the picture , Labour Ward Sister Warby on the left of the picture.  The man had been shot down, rescued, and sent home only to find his wife had had triplets.  The Mirror news group got hold of the story and took this picture for the paper.


The birth book of Mr John K W Green MBE (note the miss-spelling of Sister Hern) photo taken at Brocket Baby Day 2015 when Sister Hern and John Green were reunited.


A page from Nora's photo album showing a number of Brocket Babies.


This is Sister Edith Greaves CBE MBE she was the Matron in charge at Brockett Hall throughout the time The City of London hospital used Brockett as a maternity unit.

Added 8 August 2015

Yes, Lemsford house was private for the well to do that got into trouble, most didn't want to keep their babies as it would make them unsuitable for marriage so they never got to see their child, they weren't even told if it was a boy or girl or if it was healthy etc.  This was private and very expensive, around £500 per week if you think you could buy a house for that sort of money.  Lemsford house was not part of Brocket Hall but the midwifes and doctors did attend, Lemsford house was run by the Church.  They also sorted most of the adoptions out.

As for the Brocket Baby question about mixed race babies or black babies, Mrs Pardey says none were born whilst she was there, most of the mums were from London, they were cockneys.  There may have been a few after 1945 when the GI's came over although black segregation was still the norm but she knows nothing about them.  They had a lot of Jewish babies and a rabbi would come and cleans the mothers with some blessing and even do circumcisions on baby boys.

Norah received the Brocket Baby book today and she loves it.  She says every morning started with a prayer session in the big hall (the room we had lunch it at out visit to Brocket Hall) this was held by the main nurse or doctor.  Many babies were baptised and even christened at the church up the road from Brocket Hall. 

From Tim Reeves on behalf of Norah Pardey - received 1 November 2015

At the reunion there was a chap with his wife. He was a Brocket Baby and was born with a severe clef pallet, I don't remember his name.  Mrs Pardey did talk to him for some time and since she got home she remembers a lot more about him and his start in life.  I wonder if you can remember his name and find out if he minds me contacting him.  He did know Mrs Pardey as his mother had talked about (a nurse affinity) he thought that was her name but it was her nick name as it was said if a baby wouldn't feed or a mother was having trouble or there was a baby with special needs they would call for Norah Hern as she had a affinity with babies and all ways got the job done

(Ed. I also remember meeting this gentleman, if you would like to remind us of your name we can pass your email address to Tim Reeves if you wish)

From Welwyn and Hatfield Times - received 23 November 2015

The Welwyn and Garden Times were invited to the October Brocket Baby Day to interview Norah Pardey and a link to the article on their website is as follows:

The editor of the paper has very kindly sent us a high quality image of the article in the paper.  This is now included on the Press page of the Brocket Baby website with the kind permission of the Welwyn and Hatfield Times.

From Mrs Norah Pardey via Tim Reeves - received 9th May 2016

I can say that Norah was one of the advance party sent down from London road to set up the unit at Brocket Hall.

When they left London they had no idea where they were going as it was classed as top secret :) Nurses, midwifes, mums to be (with at least 5 days to go), plus lots of medical equipment were loaded onto 8 charabanc type buses and half went to Brocket Hall.

On arrival all the rooms were empty shells.  There was a delivery of beds in one room that needed carrying up stairs and putting together.  This took most of the day.  First they built a dozen beds in the room just inside the front door on the right, this was the holding room, somewhere for the new arrivals to stay whilst the rest of the rooms were set up.

Norah remembers that for the first month none of the nursing staff had beds of there own and slept two to a mattress up on the top floor in what she thinks was the servants area.  But within 3 months the place was fully functional, with a full delivery ward and and operating theatre.  I think she says the first baby was born on day 2 I'm thinking she said that was August 29 but I will check.  (Ed. We believe Alan Lowe was the first birth at Brocket Hall, that was on 3 September 1939)

And finally yes in reply to Alan Rogers question she was there when he was born on 12 September 1939 and may well have delivered him, if not she will definitely have helped with some part of the first week or two of his life.


2.  Dr Sybille Elsbeth Stovin - From Andrew Stovin

My mother Dr Sybille Elsbeth Stovin died a few weeks ago on 29th March aged 89 and in preparing a tribute speech to her I came across the Brocket babies website.  My mother trained as a doctor at the Royal Free but was sent off to do her obstetrics training at Brocket Hall.  My grandfather, Dr George Horace Tetley Stovin was working at Brocket Hall as a GP anaesthetist.  He was living just outside Hitchin and invited my mother home for tea and tennis.  There she met my father and they married in May 1951.

My grandfather, in 1945, published a booklet “Gas and Air Analgesia in Midwifery” and I guess this was born (excuse the pun) out of his work at Brocket Hall

If anyone has any records of Sybille or George we would be interested to hear from you.


3. From Paul Read regarding Doris Trevor - received 11th May 2016

This is a picture of Doris Trevor (my mother-in-law), who was a pupil midwife at Brocket Hall, we believe in 1949.  She was certainly attached to the City of London Maternity Hospital and this picture appears to show her sitting on one of the Brocket Hall lions.  Sadly, she died in 2013 and we found this picture in her effects.  If anyone remembers, or knows of, a nurse Trevor at Brocket Hall, please let us know.