Monday, August 14, 2006

Truby King again

In his book "Feeding and Care of Baby" the Doctor reproduced this charming drawing by R. F. Reynolds, of a child asleep in an ordinary go-cart. He uses it to illustrate the harmful posture a child can fall into, if it is put into an unsuitable conveyance, and at an age before it can sit up and rest its feet on the footrest.





In a book by his adopted daughter Mary, who carried on his work, I found this illustration of a wicker cradle on a stand designed for warm climates. It allows the air to circulate freely, and the overhead hoops will support a mosquito net if necessary. I instantly recognised the second-hand cradle I was lucky enough to come by when my first child was born in Bombay.




You will be able to see from these two snaps of my own that it is almost identical, except that mine had the added advantages of having carrying handles, and of the stand being on wheels, so that it could be trundled out onto the verandah. Another great advantage of this design was that you did not have to bend to attend to the child or pick him up.



Here is Matthew in the cot. It went back to England with us and his three brothers also slept in it, after which it was passed on to someone else in need. I like to imagine that my cot was actually made in the 1930s, when Mary's book was first written, and had survived until 1959 when it came to me - not an impossibility by any means. I hope it is still doing the rounds somewhere. For the cot, I am prepared to thank the Truby Kings!

7 comments:

Gert said...

Sorry to go off-topic on my first comment but I left this at Kaz's place and then figured you might not see it

Judith, I live by the technological miracle that is http://co.mments.com/ which enables one to track comments on most blogs in an effortless way.

(I corrected the typo I left at Kaz's place)

Judith said...

How wonderful! Somebody always has an answer for everything. Thanks for letting me know. I will get myself on to co.mments.com as soon as I have a moment. It usually takes me a while to get a grip on something new.

DellaB said...

Judith, I SO recognise this 'cot'. It is just like one I had for my son, born in 1965, here in Australia - we called it a bassinet, we needed the mosquito covering too, and I'd completely forgotten about it till I saw this picture, thank you.

Judith said...

How wonderful, Della. This clearly is The British Empire Bassinet, then. One of the books I read about Dr Truby King made the point that what he was about really was saving babies in the Empire from infant death in order to save the Empire itself. Now through my blog we have formed a small beginning for a new British Empire Bassinet Society. How's that for having an effect then?! (Note tongue firmly in cheek!)

herhimnbryn said...

J. Re : that babe in the cart.........his hat is sooooo large, am sure that is why s/he is slumped over! :)

Judith said...

Yes, it's a splendid headpiece, isn't it? Known as a tamoshanter here, and I think it was very fashionable around the turn of the (last) century, for adults too. I've been trying to find the artist on the web, so I could fix the date it was drawn, but no luck. The Truby King book was first published in 1923.

Judith said...

That was meant to read 1913.