Delia Bassett was a appointed as a physiotherapist at the Pump Rooms in 1975.
What were your impressions of the place when you first saw it?
Very happy place to work, bit old-fashioned. We had a lot of sort of chronic conditions sent here. I think we used to boost people a lot, a lot of TLC and [laughs] just stopping people thinking they were on the scrapheap sometimes with the arthritic conditions.
[The building was] Always dilapidated, always leaking, always we were told it was sliding into the river, but it never did.
[W]e had a physiotherapy department where we had all the sort of heat treatments, tractions, anything you’d have really in any other physiotherapy department. And then also in the hydrotherapy pool. We had a lot of non-qualified helpers, so we would examine the patients, work out a regime for them and then often an untrained person would actually be in the water with them. Not always, but some of the time.
The one thing that we had here that they didn’t have anywhere else were the – we called them hot packs, they were peat which were put in a boiler and then wrapped in towels and applied to people.
What sort of size were these packs?
Perhaps a foot square. We had long ones, we had bigger, fatter square ones, depending on if you wanted to cover a large part of the back or wrap it round a small joint, you know, there were slightly different shapes.
Was Leamington different in any way to others around the region or the country?Well there was also a department at the Warneford Hospital which was here at that time, so they possibly treated the more acute things like a sprained ankle or something and we, as I said before, got possibly the more chronic sort of conditions coming here. We did well with things like hip replacements, knee replacements and sometimes if they’d had multiple injuries, when you were in the water two-thirds of your body weight was taken, the buoyancy, so if they couldn’t use crutches, say they’d broken an arm and legs, they could come and stand in our pool and get walking before they could on dry land. So sometimes they came straight from the wards at Warwick.