How Peakland led the fight against the ‘White Plague’

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Retired doctor John Spencer recalls life as a child in one of Peakland’s ‘open-air wards’ for TB sufferers… an experience more than half a century ago that clearly did him no harm!

ON A COLD, sunny November afternoon on the draughty balcony of King Edward Hospital in the Rivelin Valley above Sheffield, a neat line of metal beds face the wintery afternoon sunshine. Like a macabre fashion show, each bed contains a person, clad in thick flannelette pyjamas, wearing gloves and a woolly hat protecting the ears from the chilly wind blowing across the Peak District moors and hills…