Banbury hospital's 150th anniversary sparks nostalgia for one family

The Horton General Hospital’s 150th anniversary yesterday (Sunday) sparked nostalgia for one Banbury area family.

By Roseanne Edwards
Monday, 18th July 2022, 10:31 am
The Christmas party at the Holbech children's ward at the Horton General Hospital with Uncle Jim Cannon as Santa Claus
The Christmas party at the Holbech children's ward at the Horton General Hospital with Uncle Jim Cannon as Santa Claus

The history of the hospital, featured by the Banbury Guardian last week, brought back memories for Brian Cannon of Great Bourton.

He wrote to the paper to say: “I viewed with interest the article and old photographs celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the Horton Hospital.

“In the main photograph, the man dressed as Father Christmas was my uncle A J Cannon with my Aunt Agnes beside him. A J (Jim Cannon) was something of a philanthropist, supporting the Horton and other organisations.

Philanthropist Jim Cannon pictured at the Horton children's ward Christmas party

"As a child I was rushed to the Holbech children's ward with pneumonia and as I recovered it was my birthday and the nurses held a party for me and gave me a wooden money box which I still treasure today.

“When I was 18 in 1962 I started working for Uncle Jim, who had a successful farming and contracting enterprise, and we installed around 100 miles of farm drainage and water supply schemes annually. In 1969 he retired from the contracting but asked if I would manage the farming which I did until his death in 1980.

"When the Foscote private hospital was being set up he was approached for a donation and asked for my opinion but I said it would not help those who could not afford to pay for treatment and he was pleased that my views concurred with his and no donation was made,” said Mr Cannon.

“My uncle was the most gifted person I have ever known and whether it was electrical, mechanical or carpentry he could do it and all self taught.”

Mr Cannon said his wife believes the children’s ward Sister standing next to him in the close up picture may be Sister Stewart who was the aunt of a childhood friend of hers.

Among the celebrations to mark the 150th anniversary of the Horton was a gathering of the Keep the Horton General campaign group with its supporters bearing banners and balloons outside the main entrance yesterday (Sunday) when a resounding chorus of Happy Birthday was sung.