Following an appeal for information about Shrodells Hospital, reader Audrey Peattie emailed Nostalgia.

She wrote: “I worked in the Pathology Lab at Shrodells Hospital from August 1952 to June 1955.

“My job was doing pregnancy tests using Xenopus toads.

“These are South African toads that live in water, unlike our ones that crawl. These tests were only carried out in Edinburgh and Watford, so we were sent samples of urine from all over England.

“We then made a concentrate which was injected into the toads. If the patient was pregnant, the toad would lay eggs.

“The test was repeated if a negative result was obtained.

“The toads lived a good life, being fed with liver and kept in heated tanks.

“At that time, one of the only tests for pregnancy involved using a rabbit which had to be killed.

“The main Pathology Lab was at the Peace Memorial Hospital, and our overall boss was Dr Schwabacher, a formidable lady who made you repeat back to her any information she gave.

“We also had Dr Elkan at Shrodells who was doing research on an alternative pregnancy test. It was a very interesting job, though to a very innocent 17-year-old, not to easy to explain to others.

“In the other half of our pre-fabricated building was the ‘Special (VD) Clinic’, presided over by Sister Rees, a Welsh lady. The tales that she had to tell improved my knowledge of life in no uncertain manner.”