The green and white buses shuttling back and forth from Doncaster DRI to Mexborough hospital occasionally prompts some South Yorkshire folk to wonder why the names ‘Fred and Ann’ are written on the side. It all began way back in the late 1800s when Mexborough Montagu Hospital first opened as a tiny cottage facility in Bank Street in 1890.
It was small but fulfilled a vital need in treating injuries sustained in local industries. Maimed workers were previously forced to endure an arduous horse-drawn cart journey to Doncaster and something had to be done
A newly formed committee was offered a building on long lease and nominal rent by local landowner Andrew Montagu.
Mexborough and Dearne Valley workers helped to finance ‘their’ hospital of 14 beds and two staff by donating a halfpenny a week from their wages.
In 1904 it moved to its present site at Adwick Road on just over an acre of land which was bought by Montagu trustees for £756, then in 1909 the hospital acquired an X-ray extension followed by the addition of a children’s ward in 1914.
Subscriptions from local workers increased in 1920 from 1d per week to 2d per week. In 1935 the Wath and Bolton Urban County Councils agreed a penny rate towards the maintenance of medical wards if Mexborough, Swinton and Thurnscoe councils did the same.
In 1991 Doncaster Royal Infirmary and Montagu Hospital became a linked NHS Trust. Then in 1997, in an amazing demonstration of generosity local businessman Fred Green left an incredible £11.5 million to be used for Montagu Hospital services with its use being governed by a board of trustees.
In 2001 Doncaster and Bassetlaw NHS Trust was established and Montagu currently has 115 beds as well as day surgery, specialist, training and clinic services.
More recent developments included a £503,000 clinical simulation centre at Montagu, completed in 2003, and a department for oral and maxillo-facial surgery and orthodontics developed in 2004 both funded by the legacy monies.
The latest major development at Mexborough was undoubtedly the addition of a brand new renal dialysis unit with 12 dialysis stations which opened in November 2010. Able to dialyse up to 72 patients over a three-shift rota, six days a week, it is so important to dialysis patient who previously had to travel to Doncaster or Sheffield for treatment.
So to the present day and the question about Fred and Ann. Fred Green was a well known local man born and brought up in Mexborough who died in September 1998 aged 96. He took over the family pork butchers business in the town during the 1930s and the business grew. In 1958 it was sold to Associated Dairies and Farms Stores, better known now as ASDA. Fred remained a board member of Associated Dairies until he retired.
The legacy is used to benefit the residents of the Doncaster area, Fred and wishes were that priority should be given to the Montagu Hospital, Mexborough, their wishes have been fulfilled.