THE National Health Service turns 70 today.

But you probably knew that - especially if you have been in the centre of Stroud lately.

Flyers, posters, and bunting have been going up in windows across our town in the run-up to the NHS’s big birthday.

The celebrations are being organised by Stroud Against the Cuts, a group which campaigns against privatisation of the health service and cuts to its cash.

And since the group began publicising its plans - which includes an all-day celebration this Saturday in Lansdown Hall and Bank Gardens - it has been inundated with memories of the NHS, both before and after it was founded in 1948.

Chris from the group has kindly passed on one collection of memories from Margaret Hodges who lives in Uplands, Stroud.

First, Margaret, who I suspect is someone who likes to keep their finances in order, has held on to bundles of receipts from the days when the price of health care could cost you an arm and a leg, potentially literally.

Imagine it is 1941 and you get bitten by a dog - how much would a trip to the doctors cost?

At least three pounds and three shillings, according to one of Margaret's receipts.

Quickly plugging that into the National Archive’s historical currency converter suggests that would have been two days wages for a skilled tradesman in 1941 - or about £120 in today’s cash.

And that price does not even include the cost of the anti-tetanic serum needed to stop the bite going bad.

Aside from another receipt for a tonsil removal costing two pounds, eight shillings and nine pence, Margaret has kept documents from her and her sister’s birth.

This includes a letter from Gloucestershire’s chief medical officer of health giving notice of admission into the Cotswold Maternity Home in Tetbury.

Mr Cowan also points out the weekly charge for staying in hospital was three pounds and ten shillings - nearly £140 today.

Well, that is the cost of a bed on the general ward, but further documents from Margaret show the luxury of a single ward at the maternity home would have cost five pounds and five shillings a week, just over £200 today.

Margaret also has an information booklet which shows all of the ‘articles required’ for a soon-to-be mother.

These included three nightdresses, two bath towels, a brush, comb, toothbrush and so on.

As well as these administrative artefacts, Margaret has also shared the story of Anthea Ruby Prince, pictured in the top two photos of this page.

Margaret is connected to Ruby because she helped care for before she died in 2000 and compiled a fantastic photo album of her life.

Ruby was born in Bank House, now home to Lansdown Clinic and which used to have Bank Gardens as its garden.

She then trained as a nursing sister and midwife in Bristol, a career move that soon led her to seeing sights all over the world.

During the Second World War she went to Burma to serve as a Queen Alexandra’s Nurse.

After extensive globe-trotting, she eventually settled in Zimbabwe.

Do you have memories of the NHS to share? Email