Porter’s World

Thought it was about time for some more photos from Gerald Dodd today. Gerald was, if you recall, a porter at Dreadnought Hospital in the 1960s and early 70s and, perhaps unusually for the time, not only had a camera, but carried about with him, taking pictures of the Greenwich work life around him – and the antics of his mates, of course…

This is the view most people got of Deadnought Hospital – as you can see, the building’s purpose might be different now, the No. 70 bus may no longer exist but the rest of the scene around the outside of the hospital hasn’t really changed very much.

Inside it’s a different matter entirely.

This was Gerald’s domain:

Gerald knew this place inside out. This, for example, is the corridor from the main entrance to the hospital. Not many people would think to take a photo of what is basically a conduit between worlds – the wards that we talked about a week or so ago, and the porter’s lodge where Gerald and his mates hung out -Dave McGregor, Davis, hospital clown Harry Glassblower (I have a whole bunch of pics of Harry in various ‘costumes’) and George Budge the gate porter (sitting down in this picture inside the gatehouse…)

They must have spent hours in that gatehouse – most of which seem to have involved tea and fags…

Here are a couple of shots of the hospital switchboard:

and the porters gatehouse, looking exactly as I’d expect it to. Of course this isn’t the fancy gatehouse at the entrance to the site that you can see in the second picture, this was inside the hospital.

The great thing about these pictures is that Gerald was just as happy snapping the strange, netherworldly regions of the place – here, for example, is what probably still is underneath:

Gerald took his camera outside, of course – to places it wouldn’t occur to most of us there’s a photo to be had:

(don’t you just love the ‘proper’ bins in that one – none of that newfangled wheelie nonsense…)

and of course he was always seeing what he could snap out of the window:

But for me, it’s definitely the people I love best. I’ll leave you with some of Gerald’s companions. He’d love to hear from any that might remember him…

Johnny and Mr Collins

Maurice


the attachments to this post:

gatehouse
gatehouse

hospital switchboard
hospital switchboard

porters and pals
porters and pals

Maurice
Maurice

Johnny and Mr Collins
Johnny and Mr Collins

Dreadnought Hospital 1960s 2
Dreadnought Hospital 1960s 2

Dreadnought Hospital 1960s 4
Dreadnought Hospital 1960s 4

Dreadnought Hospital 1960s 9 jpg
Dreadnought Hospital 1960s 9 jpg

basement of the Dreadnought
basement of the Dreadnought

Tom Reynolds making tea
Tom Reynolds making tea


6 Comments to “Porter’s World”

  1. Kate says:

    Wow thanks for sharing these photos! I love looking at old photographs particularly of areas familiar to me. Also love the social history side of things. Wish I knew the stories all these porters and staff had to tell.

  2. WestCliffGB says:

    I didn’t realise the Goons originated here. That is Harry Secombe in the top pic. surely……….

  3. Valoma says:

    There is a lady that lives in Straightsmouth that worked at the Dreadnought Hospital during WW11 her voice can be heard at the Visitors centre

  4. Mike says:

    I really like these slice of life photos!

  5. Jay says:

    As someone who has been in the basement of Dreadnought building within the last year, I can reassure you that it still looks like that (well the sections with lights anyway).

    I am still looking for the tunnel that apparently exists between Dreadnought and Cooper Building (now the Univerisity’s Students Union), no luck so far!

    PS I should say thanks for posting the photos, I am currently on a mission to work out where in Dreadnought they were taken, and to try and get modern day pics if I can. If you see me and can help please say hello!

  6. Jay – DO keep us informed…and I’d love to see modern day pics of those places – as I bet Gerald would too…