Market Lavington Museum

Medical loans

After operations and injury, patients sometimes require supportive equipment, such as crutches, over a short term. At Market Lavington Museum, we have a medical loans book, itemising the things people borrowed or hired locally about 70 years ago.

On the 1948 to 1950 page, the most popular item was an air ring, used to make sitting more comfortable for people who had had operations for hemorrhoids and the like. Most of these have no charge written beside them, but one person borrowed a ring for 14 months and paid half a crown. (2s.6d was an eighth of a pound.) Whether the charge was because of the long duration of the loan, or because of the relative wealth of the borrower, we do not know.

Wheelchairs were obviously costly items and these were loaned at a charge of 2/6d per week. Bedpans and urinals and bed rests feature several times on this page and would have provided support for the bed bound.

Post card reminders were used to request the return of items no longer required, though not all returns were able to be re-used. The book notes a broken feeding cup and worn out sheeting.

We have various pieces of medical equipment and record books, such as this, in the museum, which help us to learn how things were different in the past or, indeed , where needs were treated in much the same way as today.