Wednesday, 27 July 2016

The Well Hall Estate: Baby Irene Pook

Original post: ww1greenwichwomenatwar.org/2016/07/27/the-well-hall-estate-baby-irene-pook/

Irene Pook was the seventh child of Gertrude and Henry Arthur Pook.  Sadly, this baby died on Wednesday on 22nd December 1915 aged only two days with ‘insufficiently inflated lungs’ according to the doctor at the inquest, and a verdict of ‘death from natural causes’ was given

This lack of medical facilities on the estate seems to have haunted the authorities.  In May 1918 The Pioneer newspaper reported on a talk on the estate which referred to figures issued by the Medical Officer of Health commenting on the birth and death rates for Well Hall as compared with other parts of the borough.  The infantile death rate for the whole borough at that time was given as 70 per 1,000 and that for Well Hall as 95 per thousand.  In particular it was commented that the health of the inhabitants of the estate compared rather unfavourably with that of the adjoining hutments.

There were also witnesses at the inquest who commented on the lack of doctors and nurses on the Estate.



Gertrude Knockels had married Henry Pook, a house decorator, in West Ham in 1896.  By the time of the 1911 census when the family had been living in Lee, there were three children in the family but three other children had already died, so this perhaps makes it harder to attribute Gertrude’s death to the lack of nearby medical assistance, but no less tragic for the parents especially with the death being so near Christmas.  The tiny 2 day old baby whose family lived at 1, Moira Road, was buried at St John the Baptist Church, Eltham, on 23rd December.

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