Universal masking is required at LHSC facilities. View our current COVID-19 measures.


For Immediate Release:

September 17, 2011

South Street Hospital stories during Doors Open Weekend

(LONDON, Ontario) – Additional media opportunities are available this weekend during the Doors Open event at South Street Hospital.

1.  Interview Opportunity with Helen Roberts Hatcher

Graduating Class of Nursing January 1946 (65th Reunion)
Date: Saturday, September 17th
Time: 11:00 a.m.

Four members of the class of 1946 will gather at South Street Hospital this weekend for the 65th reunion. Helen Roberts Hatcher will be available for interviews.

Helen Roberts Hatcher was 18 years old when she started her training in January 1946 at Victoria Hospital. Every day wearing her uniform of a striped dress with apron, she would attend class at the hospital. After weeks of classroom teaching where a mannequin was used for training purposes, student nurses began to work on the wards - making beds and cleaning equipment. After just three months probation, a bib was added to the uniform. After 6 months, a cap was added to the uniform and student nurses would begin to work a 12 hour shift on the floor. There was very little medical training compared to today - nurses were not responsible to do vital signs of a patient.

Mrs. Hatcher lived in the nursing residence first in the hospital and then across the street. The rules both for residence and nurse training were very strict and there was punishment for students who were absent or late, had rooms or uniforms that were not in good condition, along with many other regulations. During probation, you were allowed two sleep outs and otherwise there was a curfew of 10 p.m. After probation, the curfew became midnight one day a week along with 10 sleep outs a year. Student nurses were paid $5 a month, but if you broke a thermometer money was taken off your pay.


2.  Interview Opportunity with Dr. Kerry Ferguson

Emergency physician at South Street Hospital from 1966 - 1983
Date: Saturday, September 17th
Time: 12:30 p.m.

Born at South Street Hospital (formerly Victoria Hospital) in 1936 Dr. Ferguson’s first memory of the hospital was as a young patient in 1948, when he broke his leg playing hockey at an outdoor rink at Ryerson Public School and was required to come to the hospital for care. He was taken to hospital in the “Labatt's ambulance” which was a panel van/hearse painted red with the Labatt's logo.

Dr. Ferguson began his career at South Street Hospital in 1961, as an intern in the emergency department. In 1966, he became the Clinical Director of emergency and went on to lead the department until 1983. In the early years, the intern was on his/her own, without the benefit of a staff physician. Family physicians would be called by the nurse to come to the hospital, if one of their patients presented to the emergency department and required care.

Dr. Ferguson recalls some interesting cases, including that of a man who arrived at the department with a lion bite, and the lion still in the back of his station wagon.


For media interviews or further information please contact:
Laura Tyrrell
Corporate Communications and Public Relations
London Health Sciences Centre
519-685-8500, pager 14177