Legend of the doll doctor

Interior Mellers Dolls Hospital Hall Gate.
Interior Mellers Dolls Hospital Hall Gate.
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Office of the Evening Post and Chronicle, March 1951

CHARLES Meller, the owner of the Dolls Hospital in Hallgate, has died, aged 71.

Doncaster Dolls Hospital'Peter Tuffrey collection

Doncaster Dolls Hospital'Peter Tuffrey collection

During the last 50 years thousands of children in Doncaster have had cause to be thankful that here was a man who could help them dry their eyes and repair their dolls no matter how badly their favourites were injured.

If they stood on the pavement opposite the shop, looking up they could catch a glimpse of him at work in the window.

He knew they were there and sometimes they were rewarded with a reassuring smile and wave.

He was a legend, I suppose. Repairing dolls was his full-time occupation. Who will succeed him? Who will give much-loved Angela a new leg, or replace Shirley’s battered head? We are told his son and grandson will carry on the business but will one of them be seen in white overalls in the window?

The business was founded by Charles Meller’s father in 1863 when the hospital was in the Market Place.

Mellers also sold toys, and when I was 10-plus we lads used to cycle to the shop on Sunday afternoons just to stare longingly through the big window and watch Meccano models and the 00-gauge railway in full working order.

We knew our fathers could never afford to buy anything, but just watching was a treat. I think we were mesmerised

n Better accommodation for visiting medical staff is to be provided at Doncaster Royal Infirmary. Part of a ward balcony on unit two will be enclosed. This will involve a loss of bed space, but not of a bed.

It is an extreme measure but staff accommodation could not be found elsewhere in the building. These balconies are right at the far end of the wards and we can often see patients there enjoying the sunshine. The medical staff will have the consolation of a fine view across the town.

n Is your identity card in order? “You will need your identity card when you go for your new ration book,” says an announcment in all the papers.

“Have a look at it now. Does it bear your correct address? Is it in a very bad condition? Have you lost it? If it is not in a good condition go to your local food office where it will be put right.”

n Cardiff City 0, Doncaster Rovers 0. Peter Doherty, the Rovers player manager, says his team is not winning matches. “We shall have to wait right until the last fortnight of the season to decide who stays up and who goes down.”

n A newsreel film of the recent railway accident at Balby, taken by Douglas Guest, our staff photographer, is being shown at the Essoldo in Silver Street. All cinemas showing under the Universal and Gaumont British banners will also see it.

n Mrs Frampton of White Lodge, Warmsworth, has been asked by Don Valley Conservatives to stand as their candidate at the next general election. Don Valley will never have a Tory MP but Mrs Frampton will not be deterred. Don Valley could not have chosen better.

She is a member of the Rural District Council and takes a leading role in Warmsworth life.

n Farming is in the news. The improvement in the weather has given the farmers a chance to complete their spring sowing. It is now a race against time, which few of us notice, but five months or rain, snow and frost have left the land cold, sodden and unworkable.

Farmers will have to use headlights on their tractors for sowing at night.

Easter is the proper traditional time hereabourts for planting potatoes but it could be a month before any go into the ground.

n The 12 pits in the Doncaster area are looking to recruit trainees. “Start now and work for the future. Apply to the employment exchange,” says the advertisment.

n Five boys from Doncaster will attend the international scouting jamboree in Austria in August. They are Robert Feasey, David Handley, Roderick Kelley, David Foster and Alan Sugden.

n We had thought that rugby league was here to stay but that does not seem the case. It appears that everything is arranged except the money.

The Doncaster club has not reached the required target of £6,000 working capital and it must do so before April 23. At a public meeting we learned that they had obtained only half the sum but many in the districts are believed to be willing subscribers. Until they come up with the cash the whole project is doomed.