Malvern House Nursing House

Malvern House Nursing Home
This view of the eastern side was taken from the neighbouring field
(today's Brookdale Primary School playing field near Norwood Court). 
The rooftops in the background are on houses in Pickerill Road.

View of the southern end of Malvern House. 
The building on the right was not part of the original nursing home.  It was added later as an extension to the living quarters. 

The entrance to the home, on the western side of the building.

The address of Malvern House was 216 Greasby Road, but the buildings were actually approximately 120 yards along a lane away from Greasby Road itself, close to the site (or possibly on the site) of today's Norwood Court.

The nursing home was the inspiration of Nurse Mary A Harris during her early career at the Royal Berkshire Hospital.    In 1904 she wrote to her brother Alfred Harris (owner of the Greasby Brick & Tile Works and several other businesses) asking him to look for a suitable site for a maternity-type nursing home.   Alfred's reply on a postcard asking for more information ("What is a nursing home?") still exists.   Later (after the state made greater provision for mothers and babies) Malvern House gradually turned into a care home for elderly people.   

It is believed that the home opened before 1910 and was still open in the late 1940s.

Matilda, sister of Mary and Alfred, may also have been involved in the running of the home.

Mary (Nurse Harris) became a midwife and for many years was responsible for the delivery of Greasby babies.

Alfred passed away in 1945 aged 79.  Mary died in 1954, followed by Matilda in 1955.    All are buried in the churchyard of St John The Divine, Frankby.

Alfred Harris - owner of the Greasby Brick & Tile Works and (in partnership) another brickworks in New Ferry.  He also owned a pub in Rake Lane, Upton (later turned into a fish shop).  There is a suggestion that he originally came to the Wirral as a contractor using local labour to build the Thurstaston cutting (on the road between West Kirby and Heswall) but no proof has been found.

Nurse Harris and young friend

Malvern House was inherited by Arthur Keetley Worsey, who was also known locally as Joe Harris.    He had been informally adopted by Nurse Harris sometime after his birth at Malvern House.

The lane at 216 Greasby Road still exists - from Greasby Road it is now a path leading to Norwood Court.  At its start there is now an electricity substation.  One of the gateposts still stands, a couple of yards before the substation.  This post has the letters AH carved into the wood.  These match the initials of Alfred Harris.  They are at 90º to horizontal and may have been carved before the timber was in use as a gatepost (possibly it had been a lintel at the Brick Works which closed around 1905).  The remains of the second gatepost are at ground level only.

Malvern House buildings shown on a map c1947.   Norwood Road did not exist when the nursing home was opened (c1907).  

Access to the nursing home was along a lane from Greasby Road
(the lane and the remaining gatepost are shown in the 2005 photos, above).

Gravestone of Nurse Harris.  It is inscribed -

Mary A Harris
Nurse in Wirral for 50 years
who died 10th August 1954
At rest    God is love
Also Matilda Jane Harris
her sister
who died 14th January 1955

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