John Edward Cooper’s Notes

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Chris Woodhead, February 1962

Early Days1965, the year that changed my life
Chris goes to Newcastle General hospital

Chris wrote in 1967: "I was discharged from the Newcastle hospital and sent home, not appearing to be a great deal better off than when I went in, except that the doctors thought that they had diagnosed my complaint, they told my parents that they thought it was a form of epilepsy. They put me on drugs which were supposed to help, and which they thought suited me. I began to see a psychiatrist in Blackpool again every month or so, and was kept on the same drugs for nearly four years, by which time I was on the full dose. As a result of this my schoolwork began to deteriorate, and sometimes I became very tired due to the effect of the tablets."

February 1962
 1. Chris was discharged from Newcastle General Hospital and sent home, where he started back again in his final year at Baines’ Endowed School, Thornton. He sat next to Peter Hargreaves, who had come up a year, and whom Chris had already met and knew quite well through the “Macnamara’s Band” group at the Wignall concert.[more] In fact, coincidentally, Chris sat in the same desk he had occupied the previous school year, the only difference being that instead of having Rodney Greenhall next to him he now had Peter Hargreaves.

"Baines’ Endowed School": a primary school in Station Road, Thornton.

"Rodney Greenhall", 1957 photo. The reason I have a photo of him, is that he had gone to my school (Church Road County Primary School, Thornton) for a while. I don't have a photo of Peter Hargreaves.
 2. Despite all he had been through, Chris didn’t appear to be any better off after his stay in hospital than when he went in — except that the doctors thought that they had diagnosed his complaint; they told his parents that they thought it was “a form of epilepsy”. They put him on drugs which they thought would suit him, and which would control the severity of the fits.

 3. Chris began to have appointments with a psychiatrist again, but after Newcastle he was seen by a Dr. Black as an outpatient at Wesham Park hospital, near Blackpool. Chris can’t remember Dr. Black, whom he saw every month or so, as clearly as Dr. Cashman, who perhaps had moved on to another position somewhere else. He has a vague impression of a dark-haired individual, not quite as immaculately dressed as Dr. Cashman, and not as pleasant — a bit more abrupt, perhaps. Dr. Cashman’s manner was such that Chris felt immediately at ease with him, but Chris didn’t warm to Dr. Black in the same way; he just regarded him as someone he had to go to see from time to time.

 4. Chris was kept on the same drugs for nearly three years, by which time he was on the full dose. The tablets had the effect of sometimes making Chris feel drowsy and very tired.

“Rag Doll”

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