When I joined the council in 1974 the staff were encouraged to donate blood and twice a year the van would be outside the Town Hall or, when I started, the Royal Pavilion. The beds were lined up in the King William IV Room and you never knew who might be on the bed next to you; it was a great leveller.
I used to love to look at the wallpaper while I lay there; the flowers, birds and insects in Chinese style were bright and attractive. Later I discovered they were in fact painted in the early 1970s by Pavilion conservation staff. The wallpaper was intended to make the room more attractive to potential hirers, and the anticipation of heavy wear led to the decision to use acrylic colours, which would withstand regular cleaning.
The William IV room was often used for social functions as well as blood-giving. A conservator remembers blood on the walls on only one occasion – more often it was red wine.
In the early 1980s the Blood Service moved the donors to the Pavilion Theatre which was probably a more suitable venue except it was upstairs with no lift, which excluded some people
I gave my 60th donation last week in the bar of the Race Course. The decor is very boring and I miss the delights of the William IV Room and my council staff bed-fellows.