There can’t be many people who lived in St John’s Wood in the 1950s and 1960s that at sometime did not visit our local Hospital, John and Elizabeth’s as it was known. I know I did on several occasions. I was trying to think exactly how many: I split my head open twice requiring stitches, once whilst sliding on ice during the big freeze of 1962/63, I trod on a rusty nail at the Adventure Playground, I cut my finger open during woodwork at Kynaston School, and I broke my finger falling off Nat Hyam’s trades bike. I wasn’t the only one, most kids ended up there at sometime, especially during the school holidays. I remember the swings down the Burial ground being a particular danger spot. Many’s the time someone came flying off whilst trying to see how high they could go, which usually required a visit to “the Hospital”. Upon arrival you had to ring the bell, and the huge black doors were opened by a nun (the Hospital was founded in 1856 by The Sisters of Mercy, an order that worked with Florence Nightingale in the Crimean war).The first thing you noticed was the antiseptic smell, I can still remember it today and you used to sit on a bench to the right of a huge sweeping staircase. Unlike today, there were no long waits, you were usually attended to within 10 minutes, then another big black door would open and you would be invited in for treatment. It was all free, but there was a donation box and I remember Mum or Dad putting 10 bob or a pound in depending on the severity of the injury. Today, of course, the Hospital is unrecognisable with a whole new frontage, and I wouldn’t think a donation would suffice if you were to require treatment, but back then it provided a much valued service for the people of St Johns Wood.