Pancake Day - Middlefield Hospital, 1988

One of the newspaper articles we came across at Warwickshire County Record Office talks about the yearly pancake races at Middlefield Hospital. The article is from 1988, in the Solihull Times.

For screen-readers and those who might find it difficult to read the small print, the text in full is below the picture.

Pancake antics stir up some fun

[The photograph is of Alf Blakeman, dressed up as ‘Hilda Ogden’]

Fun loving staff and residents at Middlefield in Knowle took up their frying pans for some hilarious pancake antics on Shrove Tuesday.

Staff donned colourful fancy dress as they joined in the annual pancake race at the home for the mentally ill in Station Road.

Among the unlikely competitors tossing their pancakes around the course were Hilda Ogden and Worzel Gummidge, alias staff members Alf Blakeman and Ann Marie Gammon.

Alf is pictured here practising the ancient art of tossing the pancake.

It is the fifth year a pancake race has been held in the home.

Staff and residents joined up in teams of two to compete in the group sporting event and there was also a special wheelchair race.

Sheila Harris, a secretary at Middlefield said: “Everyone enjoys themselves but unfortunately the pancakes [are] usually dropped so many times during the race they are not fit to eat at the end.”

It is interesting that they wrongly refer to Middlefield as a ‘home for the mentally ill’.

Bearing in mind that this was only 4 years before Middlefield closed completely in 1992, and many residents had already moved out, such wrong ideas in the local paper may have contributed to the fear and confusion expressed by some local people at the residents’ movement into the community.

Nevertheless, it shows that many members of staff in institutions like Middlefield did try to make life better for the residents and put on activities for them within the grounds.

This article can be found at Warwickshire County Record Office, in the Press Cuttings file with document number CR2941/13.