Rowlands, Helena May

Helena May Rowlands was born in Llangefni, Anglesey and was the daughter of Rowland Rowlands and Ann Ellin Rowlands.

Her father Rowland Rowlands was born in 1857 Llanfihangel-y-Creuddyn, Cardigan, was a Minister and died in 1908 aged 51. (Further information about the Rev Rowland Rowland is given below)

Her mother Ann Ellen Rowlands was born in LLanrhaiadr yn Mochnant, Denbigh about 1864 and died Feb 12 1936

In the 1901 census Helena was aged 7 and living with her two parents and 5 sisters, Annie Maud (9), Mary Nesta (6), Jeordie (known as Jennie in 1911 census), Blodwen (5), Dora Elizabeth (4) and Ida Myfanwy (2) in the Welsh Wesleyan Ministers House in Abergele

In 1911 she was living with her by then  widowed mother and siblings who now included their first son Rowland Idris at Gele Avenue, Abergele, Denbighshire.  Her mother was listed as having private means and there was also a Margaret E Williams listed as General Servant (Domestic)

Little has been found regarding Helena’s background until she was working as a nurse in the surgical department of Fazakerley Hospital, Liverpool, then the Military Fever Hospital (Further historical information regarding this hospital is given below). It was while working here that she caught a fever (probably Spanish flu) after nursing an officer who suffered from it,

She died on 2 May 1919 and her body was taken by train to Abergele and straight to the cemetery, bypassing the chapel to avoid infection. She is named on the WWI Welsh Nurses memorial inside St Asaph Cathedral but is not named on the Abergele war memorial.

Helena is buried in the graveyard of the Mynydd Seion in Abergele which is a Welsh Presbyterian Methodist Chapel.

It is a family grave where her parents and siblings are also buried.

Ann Ellin Rowlands (mother) died Feb 12 1936;

Annie Maude Rowlands died Jun 1963;

Mary Nesta Rowlands died Sep 10 1962;

Jennie Blodwen Rowlands died Oct 26 1933;

Dora Elizabeth Rowlands died Mar 15 1953;

Ida Myfanwy Rowlands died 31 Oct 1998;

Rowland Idris Rowlands died Apr 12 1984.

Helena is also commemorated on the York Minster QAIMNS Plaque.

Helena’s father the Reverend Rowland Rowlands Rev. Rowland Rowlands was born in Llanfihangel-y-Creuddyn, Cardiganshire. He entered the ministry at a young age in 1879, and served for about twenty-nine years in his role as pastor and preacher. In his early years he spent time in Aberystwyth, Manchester  and Richmond. He ministered in Llanrhaiadr circuits, Coedpoeth, Caernarfon, Llanrwst, Blaenau Ffestiniog, Beaumaris, Abergele, Rhyl, Holyhead, Bangor, and again in Abergele. He was regarded as a man of great acumen and strong abilities. He was a staunch teetotaler and worked to advance the cause of sobriety.

Historical Note 1

Fazakerley Hospital 1898 – 1960

Fazakerley Hospital or University Hospital Aintree as it is called today has had many names since 118 acres were bought by the City Council in 1898 for a mere £39, 915. Prior to the sale, the land had been the Harbreck Estate which included a medium sized country house, farms and cottages.

The 1828 map indicates that a great deal of the property around the area was owned by Richard Leyland. This was Richard Bullin who assumed the name of his uncle, partner and benefactor Thomas Leyland.

Harbreck House seen above was part of the Leyland Estates in Fazakerley. It had an amazing history before it became part of Fazakerley Hospital. The house and grounds were let to various people by the Leyland family and their heirs over the years before eventually being sold to Joseph Walton, a wine and spirit merchant sometime around 1868. The Leyland/Bullins family made much of their fortune as merchants in the growing City of Liverpool, including from the slave trade.

During the war years the hospital was renamed 1st Western General. Injured soldiers were transported via train to the Fazakerley Station. A number of buildings in the area were used to accommodate troops and their families during this time, including Queen Mary High School, which was a clearing house for patients.

Just before the beginning of the war, Liverpool Corporation rented 25 acres from the Hospitals Committee in 1914 for a temporary hospital for Infectious Diseases which was commonly known as “Sparrow Hall Hospital” after the farm of the same name which previously occupied the site. This was also used by the military for injured soldiers. Few pictures of this hospital exist, however, it’s surrounding high red brick wall remained on the East Lancashire Road perimeter into the 1980’s and is remembered by residents.

Agnes Jones, who worked at the Fever Hospital on Brownlow Hill was a prodigy of Florence Nightingale. She contracted typhus while caring for the sick and dying and died herself from exhaustion on 19th February 1868.

George Beaumont, FRCS, is a little known hero. He was an assistant surgeon at the Liverpool Dispensary who died while carrying out his duties. He and another surgeon named Critchley were reported in the Liverpool Mercury of 1820 as falling victim to the deadly contamination of typhus. They were distinguished by “diligence and humanity in the discharge of their official duties” George Beaumont is buried in St George’s Churchyard in Everton, forgotten by the city he gave his life for.

Historical Note 2

Wesleyan Methodism was first propagated in Abergele in 1800. The first chapel was built on Rhuddlan Road in 1804 and extended in 1825; a new chapel was built in I860 with a membership of 150. This has now been demolished. The Town had a general holiday to Eglwys Crist (Congregational) to celebrate the laying of the foundation stone for the present chapel, opened in 1880, St.Paul’s was designed by a famous chapel architect, Richard Davies of Bangor, who was a native of Llanfairfechan. This is regarded as a fine and very typical example of his work.

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