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Was DH Lawrence’s wife the real Lady Chatterley? An expert sheds light on the story



was dh lawrences wife the real lady chatterley an expert sheds light on the story

No book has scandalised Britain quite as much as Lady Chatterley’s Lover, D.H. Lawrence’s unsparing depiction of adultery and unbridled passion.

So explicit was his portrayal of the sexual attraction between the unhappily married upper-class Constance Chatterley and her working-class gamekeeper, Mellors, that his novel was the subject of a landmark obscenity trial, whose 60th anniversary is next week.

That its content was shocking to a Britain still largely sexually buttoned-up is undeniable.

Quite apart from the fact that both protagonists were married at a time when divorce was granted only on proof of a matrimonial crime, the book used supposedly unprintable four-letter words and made an indirect reference to anal sex.

It was at the age of 26 that David Herbert Lawrence first met Frieda Weekley (both pictured), who would prove a formative influence in his later work, including Lady Chatterley's Lover

It was at the age of 26 that David Herbert Lawrence first met Frieda Weekley (both pictured), who would prove a formative influence in his later work, including Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Yet in what is seen as a seminal moment in literary history, the trial ended in victory for the publishers, Penguin, and is credited as a crucial step in the liberalising of the country’s cultural landscape. 

Nonetheless, the jury who returned their verdict after just three hours of deliberation would doubtless have been shocked to learn that, while a work of fiction, the book’s earthy sexual encounters were drawn from the author’s real-life experiences and its complex heroine was inspired by not just one but three extraordinary women, among them Lawrence’s insatiable German wife Frieda.

A miner’s son who had grown up in a working-class Nottinghamshire coalmining town, David Herbert Lawrence certainly drew on the dour, grey-skied landscape of his youth as the backdrop for his novels. 

It was at the age of 26 that he first met the woman who would prove a formative influence, imbuing his later work — including Lady Chatterley’s Lover — with an earthy sensuality a world away from his provincial upbringing.

Six years his senior, Frieda Weekley was the German wife of Professor Ernest Weekley, one of Lawrence’s teachers at University College, Nottingham. 

Born a baroness and a distant relation of the German flying ace Manfred von Richthofen (better known as the Red Baron), she was uninhibited, direct and utterly sensual.

By the time Lawrence met her in March 1912, after being invited for lunch at Professor Weekley’s home, Frieda had already had a series of lovers — and was soon to add Lawrence to the roster.

They were left alone together for half an hour before Professor Weekley’s return, and their attraction was instant and mutual. 

The duo embarked on an affair, cemented when they travelled to Germany together two months later, heading for Frieda’s home town of Metz.

This proved to be the last straw for Frieda’s husband, to whom she had confessed details of some of her previous affairs just before departing. 

He sent a telegram to her, saying their marriage was at an end and denying her access to their three children.

So Lawrence and Frieda began a union that would last until Lawrence’s death 18 years later. 

Although Lawrence hankered after a solid marriage and a family — in fact the couple did not have children — Frieda continued to believe in ‘free love’.

Perhaps to make this explicitly clear to Lawrence early on, Frieda promptly went to bed with a German officer after the couple’s arrival in Metz — and then swam across the chilly Isar river at Icking to offer herself (shades of Lady Chatterley) to a no-doubt startled woodcutter.

No book has scandalised Britain quite as much as Lady Chatterley's Lover (above, TV adaptation featuring Joely Richardson and Sean Bean)

No book has scandalised Britain quite as much as Lady Chatterley’s Lover (above, TV adaptation featuring Joely Richardson and Sean Bean)

From Metz, Lawrence and Frieda chose to trek over the mountains into Italy, departing in August and equipped with knapsacks and just £23 in cash.

Again, Frieda was free with her favours: en route she made love to Harold Hobson, a student who had joined the trek, while Lawrence was out picking Alpine flowers.

According to Lawrence’s unfinished autobiographical novel Mr Noon, Frieda told him Harold ‘had me in the hay hut’ because ‘he wanted me so badly’.

Despite such distractions and some faulty map-reading, they eventually arrived on the northern shores of Lake Garda, then part of Austria. 

And when they moved from there to Gargnano, in Italy proper, his love affair with the country could fully begin.

Here was a nation, he wrote, as ‘beautiful as paradise’, where everything was ‘of the blood and the senses’ and where even the moon could be seen as ‘a woman glorying in her own loveliness as she loiters superbly to the gaze of all the world… sometimes looking at her own superb, quivering body, wholly naked in the water of the lake’.

It was against Italy’s sensual backdrop that Lawrence would also meet the second woman who, along with the serially unfaithful Frieda, would inspire him to create the character of Constance Chatterley — although first the threat of war, coupled with the need to get married once Frieda’s divorce had come through, sent them back to England in 1914, where the couple lived through the war first in Buckinghamshire and then in Cornwall.

By then, Lawrence was almost certainly already infected with the tuberculosis that would later claim his life, and while he had been passed fit for non-combat duties he was never called up.

So it was not until 1919 that Lawrence’s love affair with Italy resumed in full.

After visiting Capri, Lawrence and Frieda moved on to Sicily. But in the summer of 1920, after a series of rows, they were ready for a break from each other and, when Frieda left for Baden-Baden in Germany, Lawrence headed for Florence.

It was there that he had a passionate and, for him, rare adulterous affair with Rosalind Baynes, whose brown-eyed pre-Raphaelite beauty had first struck him on a previous encounter in England.

She was by then separated from her doctor husband and living in Florence with her baby daughter — and Lawrence was nothing if not direct when he first saw her again, asking her if she missed sex. 

She replied that she did but was, he would later say, ‘fastidious’.

He then suggested she should have sex with him, adding that she was free to say no. ‘Yes, indeed, I want it,’ she replied.

The second woman who would inspire D.H. Lawrence to create the character of Constance Chatterley was Rosalind Baynes, who had brown-eyed pre-Raphaelite beauty

The second woman who would inspire D.H. Lawrence to create the character of Constance Chatterley was Rosalind Baynes, who had brown-eyed pre-Raphaelite beauty

Lawrence made no move until the following Sunday, when they cooked a typical English lunch of roast beef and walked into town afterwards to buy sorb-apples, a local fruit. They then returned to the villa to sit outside as night fell. 

‘We sit there until it is quite dark, our hands held together in union,’ Rosalind wrote in her diary. ‘And so to bed.’

Sensing ‘something in the air’ on her return from Baden-Baden, Frieda forced Lawrence to confess. He wrote to Rosalind over the years but never saw her again, although her delicate beauty, combined with Frieda’s earthy sexuality, has long struck Lawrence scholars as part of the blueprint for Constance Chatterley.

However, one element was still missing from her character — until 1925, when Lawrence and Frieda returned to the Italian Riviera and met Rina, the Anglo-Italian wife of his publisher, Martin Secker.

Rina Secker had come to Italy with the couple’s son Adrian on the recommendation of doctors, who believed the climate was favourable to the sickly boy. Rina may also have needed to recover from some sort of nervous breakdown. 

Either way, she liked the Lawrences, so when her parents bought a hotel in Spotorno — the Hotel Miramare — she lost no time in inviting them to stay.

Yet, slightly strangely, there was no room at the Miramare for them when they arrived — an oversight that threw Frieda into an angry frenzy. So Frieda and Lawrence moved into a local auberge before renting a villa up the hill. 

As was her wont, Frieda soon began an affair with their landlord, Angelo Ravagli, a dashing Bersaglieri (light infantry) officer who would become her third husband after Lawrence’s death, whose eye she caught by strutting ahead of him in a clinging skirt that showed off her buttocks as he showed her the house. 

Rina, with her high cheekbones and winning smile, was also attractive to men. Conscious of her appearance, she kept her hair fashionably styled and Lawrence once complimented her on how her ‘bangs’, or fringe, set off her ‘wonderful eyes’. 

Complex, vibrant, observant, mischievous and coquettishly aware of her charms, she is strikingly similar to Lawrence’s description of the ‘feminine’ and ‘womanly’ Connie Chatterley, with her growing restlessness and sense of ‘disconnexion’ which drives her into Mellors’s arms.

Frieda certainly seemed to think so: Rina, who had a talent for imitating Frieda’s booming voice and her rolling Teutonic ‘rrrs’, would later tell a story of how Frieda electrified a staid literary party shortly after Lady Chatterley’s Lover had been published by roaring: ‘Rrrina my dear, you must read it, she is you, you will see.’

If Rina believed she was at least the partial inspiration for taboo-trampling Constance, though, she never acknowledged it.

Nor did she ever publicly comment on another story written by Lawrence, Sun, in which he also appeared to call on Rina’s complex, contradictory and emotionally vulnerable character for his tale of a nervous and exhausted young American mother called Juliet, who is advised by her doctor to head to Italy and sunbathe naked, which she eventually does in the olive groves.

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So explicit was D.H. Lawrence’s portrayal of the sexual attraction between Constance Chatterley and Mellors, that his novel was the subject of a landmark obscenity trial

The style of the story is both sensual and sexual, with Juliet finally responding to a sun that ‘lifts himself naked and molten, sparkling over the sea’s rim’ by finding an overgrown rocky bluff where she can she her clothes away from prying eyes.

Her newly exposed breasts are soon ‘warmer than ever love had been, warmer than milk or the hands of her baby’ and, having dispensed with the rest of her clothes, she finds considerable pleasure as the sun warms ‘her loins, the backs of her thighs, even her heels’ and lies ‘half stunned with the wonder at the thing that was happening to her’.

Then, rejuvenated and with her sexual desire reawakened, Juliet finds herself drawn to a strong, handsome peasant ‘with powerful shoulders’ and fantasises (in a second, expanded version quite explicitly) about having an affair and even a child with him.

And finally, what of the men in Lawrence’s books?

Were they, too, inspired by people Lawrence had met on his travels? The muscular Mellors in Lady Chatterley’s Lover could be a composite of Frieda’s many lovers — but what of the cuckolded Sir Clifford Chatterley?

Perhaps the answer lies in a strange episode in Ravello on the Amalfi coast, where, during another angry separation from Frieda, Lawrence had travelled with Dorothy Brett, an aristocratic artist who was also an admirer and his occasional secretary.

On this occasion, it seems Lawrence had sex rather than dictation on his mind. But although Brett was willing — ‘passionately eager’, she would later recall — she was inexperienced and his two attempts to make love to her were both disasters. 

Lawrence stalked out of the room with an anguished cry of ‘it’s no good’.

There is a more-than-bitter irony in the fact that the author of one of the most scandalous novels in British literary history was, by then, almost certainly impotent.

Lady Chatterley’s Villa: D.H. Lawrence on the Italian Riviera, by Richard Owen, is published by The Armchair Traveller and available from

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Coronavirus: UK’s infections are on ‘steady rise’ but not out of control, app data suggests




coronavirus uks infections are on steady rise but not out of control app data suggests

Coronavirus is not out of control in the UK, according to scientists who estimate there are now around 44,000 new infections happening each day.

King’s College London researchers behind the Covid Symptom Study predict cases were last week 20 per cent higher than a week before. The previous seven days had seen a rise of 31 per cent.

Based on reports from a million app users and more than 12,000 test results, the estimates last week aligned roughly with figures from the Office for National Statistics, which are considered to be the most accurate and will update today.

Professor Tim Spector, the epidemiologist behind the King’s study, said the spread of Covid-19 in the UK currently appears ‘steady’ and may even be slowing in Scotland.

The team estimated that Britain’s cases are doubling once a month and that the R rate was 1.1 in the week ending October 25.

Their update comes after a shocking mass-testing study published yesterday estimated that 96,000 people may be catching the disease every day.

But this came alongside a conflicting forecast which put the figure at closer to 56,000, sparking confusion about how severe the UK’s second wave really is. 

And Department of Health testing has picked up an average of just 22,125 cases per day for the last week, with 23,065 diagnosed yesterday. 

Looking back on the numbers of people dying can also give an impression of how widely Covid-19 is spreading – Government officials estimate 0.5 per cent of coronavirus patients die, which suggests the average 154 people who died each day in the week up to October 23 was the result of 31,000 new daily infections at the start of the month.

Professor Spector said the King’s College team, working with health-tech company ZOE, wanted to ‘reassure’ people that the situation did not seem to be as bad as ‘other surveys’ had suggested. 

In other coronavirus news:

  • West Yorkshire will enter the strictest Tier Three lockdown from Sunday, joining the regions around Liverpool, Manchester and Nottingham;
  • London could face Tier Three rules within weeks, according to sources close to the city’s mayor, Sadiq Khan. Mr Khan yesterday repeated his calls for a national shutdown and said tougher measures need to be taken;
  • A Government source has reportedly told Boris Johnson that all hospital beds in England could be full by December 17 if no more action is taken against coronavirus. Tougher measures continue to be put in place, however, and Nightingale hospitals remain on standby across the country;
  • A study has suggested a variant strain of Covid-19, named 20A.EU1, has been behind 90 per cent of infections in England, and has been traced back to a farm in northern Spain in June.
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Data from King's College London's Covid Symptom Study app shows that coronavirus cases in the UK have soared to more than 40,000 per day after a lull in the summer but the team behind it maintain that they 'have not spiralled out of control'

Data from King’s College London’s Covid Symptom Study app shows that coronavirus cases in the UK have soared to more than 40,000 per day after a lull in the summer but the team behind it maintain that they ‘have not spiralled out of control’

‘While cases are still rising across the UK, we want to reassure people that cases have not spiralled out of control, as has been recently reported from other surveys,’ Professor Spector said today.

‘We are still seeing a steady rise nationally, doubling every four weeks, with the possible exception of Scotland which may be showing signs of a slow down. 

‘With a million people reporting weekly, we have the largest national survey and our estimates are in line with the ONS survey.

‘Data on covid-19 can be confusing for the public and we can’t rely simply on confirmed cases or daily deaths, without putting them into context. 

‘Hospital admissions are rising as expected, but deaths are still average for the season. As we become citizen scientists it’s important to look at multiple sources to get a broader view.’


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An array of statistics last week suggested cases were no longer growing as quick as they once were.

Office for National Statistics, which tracks the size of the Covid-19 outbreak through thousands of random swab tests, revealed that the number of people catching the coronavirus in England alone every day stood at 35,200 last week.

Despite being a 26 per cent rise on its previous estimate and double that of a fortnight ago, top scientists insisted the figure was ‘hopeful’ because the speed of growth has clearly dropped. 

Cases doubled between October 2 and 9, then jumped by two thirds (62 per cent) the following week to 27,900 per day, according to the ONS data, which is considered the most reliable indicator of the true size of the crisis. 

The data echoed comments by the UK’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, who said last week there were signs local lockdowns were starting to work and that curves were beginning to flatten in some areas.

Separate Department of Health data showed the number of daily cases by specimen date — the date the test was taken — had jumped by just 9 per cent from October 5 to October 12, rising from 15,310 to 16,683 in a week. 

But then cases appeared to take off again, increasing by 23.5 per cent from 17,589 on October 15 to 21,717 a week later. 

Since then, the outbreak appears to have slowed again, with the speed of growth in the most recent three days being 1.6 per cent, compared to around 7.7 per cent over the previous three days. 

Testing has stayed at a consistent level over the past two weeks, suggesting the current swab programme may be spotting as many Covid-19 cases as it can — with a test positivity rate above five per cent. 

The UK’s testing system will always miss asymptomatic and mild cases of the virus, which make up the vast majority of infections. Those who have no symptoms have no reason to request a test.

The current scheme is only swabbing 300,000 people a day — despite warnings it would need to be ramped up for the winter to cope with the surge in people who have coughs and colds.

As a result of the lack of capacity, NHS and social care workers are being prioritised, as are people with severe symptoms and those approached by Test and Trace. 


The Department of Health yesterday announced a further 23,065 positive coronavirus tests from across the UK, up 8.6 per cent on last Thursday.

Numbers of people being diagnosed with the illness have soared since the start of September to a current daily average of 22,125.

But testing only picks up a fraction of the true number of infections because many people don’t get tested, don’t get ill with the virus or get a wrong negative result.

So studies done by scientists and mathematicians are the most accurate pictures of how many people are truly getting infected with coronavirus, whether it makes them ill or not.

King’s’ study is based on around one million people with the Covid Symptom Study app reporting whether they feel ill and confirming test results when they have them. It estimates there are 43,569 new infections per day in the UK and 34,628 in England.

The Office for National Statistics, which last week estimated there were 35,200 new infections per day in mid-October, uses mass testing of a random set of the population to calculate what percentage of people are Covid-positive and how this changes over time.

The Government-funded Imperial College London study, REACT-1, yesterday estimated there were 96,000 new infections per day. This study is also based on mass population testing and used 85,000 tests from between October 16 and 25.

Meanwhile a ‘Nowcast’ study by researchers at the University of Cambridge yesterday put the figure at 55,600 per day, based on the numbers of people who are dying of the disease and data showing how much people are travelling and interacting.

Looking back on the numbers of people dying of Covid-19 can give a fairly reliable estimate of infections but there are lags in the data because it usually takes more than two weeks for someone to die after catching Covid-19.

Officials believe that around 0.5 per cent of people who catch coronavirus die with it – one in every 200 people who gets infected. 

Therefore, the average 154 people who died each day in the UK in the week leading up to October 23 – the most recent reliable data – suggest that 31,000 people were getting infected each day two to three weeks earlier.

This may not, however, take into account differences in the age of people catching the virus. The infection fatality rate may now be lower than it was in the spring because there are more cases spreading among young people.

The second wave was triggered by the virus spreading among teenagers and people in their 20s in early September, when universities and schools went back, and those groups are far less likely to die, meaning there may be a higher ratio of infections to deaths and the 31,000-per-day could be an underestimate. 

Data in the Covid Symptom Study estimated that the North West and North East and Yorkshire accounted for half of all of England’s new infections each day, at 8,725 and 8,446 per day, respectively. 

A further 7,404 of the daily infections were springing up in the Midlands, it suggested, followed by 4,977 per day in London. Lowest was the East of England, with 2,278 per day, and the South West with 2,607.

Scotland accounted for 4,674 new cases per day, the study predicted, followed by 3,397 in Wales and 1,230 in Northern Ireland. 

England and Scotland had predicted R rates of 1.1, while it was 1.2 in Wales.

The Government is still refusing calls for a second national lockdown for Britain, fearing economic devastation if people are forced to stay home again, and pursuing its whack-a-mole local lockdown strategy.

Sixteen more areas were pushed into Tier Two ‘high risk’ restrictions yesterday, including parts of Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Telford, and Luton and Oxford. 

And Leeds and West Yorkshire are now set to enter Tier Three – the highest level of restrictions – alongside the Liverpool, Manchester and Nottingham regions.

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The North of England and the Midlands remain worst affected by Covid-19, the King's team predicts, with per-person infection rates also high in Scotland, Wales, London and university cities in the South of England including Bristol, Bournemouth, Exeter and Brighton

The North of England and the Midlands remain worst affected by Covid-19, the King’s team predicts, with per-person infection rates also high in Scotland, Wales, London and university cities in the South of England including Bristol, Bournemouth, Exeter and Brighton

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Health Secretary Matt Hancock said yesterday: ‘We continue to see a worrying rise in cases right across the country, and it is clear decisive action is needed.

‘We have agreed with local leaders to move more areas into the High Local Covid Alert Level this week.

‘These restrictions are challenging for us all, but it is only by working together and following the rules that we will bring down the rates of infection. 

‘A failure to act now will only lead to longer disruption and greater economic damage. I want to thank everyone who is playing their part to break the chains of transmission across the country. We will beat this virus, but we must stick together as we enter the winter months.’

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Legoland announces new land for 2021 at its Windsor resort based around mythical creatures




legoland announces new land for 2021 at its windsor resort based around mythical creatures

It promises to be a creature feature like no other. 

Legoland Windsor Resort has revealed it will open a new multi-million-pound land where mythical Lego creatures will ‘come to life’.

The land, called Lego Mythica: World of Mythical Creatures, will open in spring 2021 and according to the resort will ‘feature thrilling new attractions and experiences, including a never-before-seen UK ride’.

Legoland Windsor Resort has revealed it will open a new multi-million-pound land where mythical Lego creatures will 'come to life'

Legoland Windsor Resort has revealed it will open a new multi-million-pound land where mythical Lego creatures will ‘come to life’ 

The new land marks the single biggest investment at the park since its gates opened 25 years ago and Legoland promises it will allow ‘children’s imaginations and creativity to run wild’.

A teaser video for the new attraction, shared on social media this morning, shows a mythical portal to another world opening for the first time at the theme park.

In a hint to the creatures that families may find in this ‘parallel universe’, huge footprints shake the resort, a winged shadow flies overhead and the 30-second film ends with an ice storm engulfing Legoland Windsor’s iconic entrance.

The resort said: ‘Working in partnership with Kids Industries, the Legoland Windsor team behind the new land spent a year discussing and testing ideas and concepts with seven-to-11-year-olds and their parents, who influenced everything from the final ride experiences, names and characters.’

The land is currently under construction and is located between Heartlake City and the Resort’s Lego-themed hotels.

Thomas Jellum, divisional director at the Legoland Windsor Resort, said: ‘What better way to celebrate our 25th birthday than by unveiling a unique experience like nothing else we have launched at the resort since we opened.

‘At the heart of Lego Mythica: World of Mythical Creatures will be epic rides, including a UK first, and breathtaking mythical creatures designed to capture children’s imaginations and inspire them to build and play.

Lego Mythica: World of Mythical Creatures will mark the single biggest investment at Legoland Windsor since its gates opened 25 years ago

Lego Mythica: World of Mythical Creatures will mark the single biggest investment at Legoland Windsor since its gates opened 25 years ago 

‘Our new land has been two years in the making and co-created with families to make sure it delivers what children and their parents want from a theme park in 2021.

‘We can’t wait to share more details soon.’

Legoland Windsor is one of eight Legoland parks across the world.

The others can be found in the Danish town of Billund, California, Florida, Germany, Dubai, Malaysia and Japan.

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Covid-19 hospital admissions surge 33 per cent in a week




covid 19 hospital admissions surge 33 per cent in a week

Hospital admissions for Covid-19 patients surged by 33 per cent in just seven days, official data reveals.

The biggest spike was recorded in the South of England, amid warnings the spread of infections is gathering steam in the region. Admissions jumped by 53 per cent in the South East.

There were 6,661 infected patients sent to hospitals in England in the week ending October 25, compared to 5,009 new admissions the week before. The number of patients hooked up to mechanical ventilators also rose 25 per cent in the same time frame, jumping from 3,298 to 4,122.

It can take Covid patients several weeks to fall severely ill and need NHS treatment, meaning the consequences of spikes in cases are only just beginning to be felt. 

It comes after the Government was warned by officials yesterday that space in all hospitals – including Nightingales – could run out on December 17, unless further action is taken to curb the rising tide of infections.

The warning will pile more pressure on Boris Johnson to act, and comes after SAGE projected the second wave could be deadlier than the first and lead to 85,000 deaths. 

Hospital admissions in England have risen 33 per cent in seven days, official data shows

Hospital admissions in England have risen 33 per cent in seven days, official data shows

The highest spike was recorded in the South East, where they rose by 53 per cent

The highest spike was recorded in the South East, where they rose by 53 per cent

Hospital admissions in England surge 33% and mechanical ventilator bed use up 25%

Hospital admissions in England leapt by a third in the week ending October 25 – the latest for which data is available.

KEY: Region, percentage rise, Covid-19 patients admitted to hospital in week ending October 18, and in week ending October 25.

South East: 53 per cent, 276 to 423

East of England: 52 per cent, 209 to 318

Midlands: 47 per cent, 919 to 1,347

North East: 44 per cent, 1,209 to 1,739

South West: 42 per cent, 217 to 309

London: 38 per cent, 530 to 729

North West: 9 per cent, 1,649 to 1,796

ENGLAND: 33 per cent, 5,009 to 6,661 


KEY: Region, percentage rise, total Covid-19 patients on ventilators in week ending October 18, and in week ending October 25.

South East: 68 per cent, 76 to 128

Midlands: 43 per cent, 640 to 912

East of England: 37 per cent, 136 to 186

South West: 28 per cent, 110 to 141

North West: 27 per cent, 1,029 to 1,309

London: 22 per cent, 536 to 656

North East: 2 per cent, 771 to 790

ENGLAND: 25 per cent, 3,298 to 4,122 


The South East recorded the largest spikes in the number of patients admitted and the number of patients on ventilators, NHS England data reveals.

The region’s admissions surged 53 per cent, from 276 patients to 423, while the number on ventilators leapt 68 per cent, from 76 to 128.

The East of England – which has also so far escaped stricter curbs – recorded the second largest spike in hospital admissions, up 52 per cent from 209 to 318, and the third highest spike in ventilator use, up 37 per cent from 136 to 186.

The Midlands registered the third highest spike in hospital admissions, up 47 per cent from 919 to 1,347, and second highest in ventilator use, up 43 per cent from 640 to 912.

In the North West – where 9million people are under the harshest restrictions in England, hospital admissions rose by the lowest rate in England, at nine per cent.

But they still accounted for the largest number of admissions across the UK nation.

NHS England data shows they rose from 1,649 to 1,796.

Considering Covid-19 patients on ventilators, figures showed they also had the highest number in England – at 1,309. 

This marked a 27 per cent rise – the fifth highest – from 1,029 recorded the week before.

In the North East, which has also been under stricter measures due to surging infections, hospitals struggled against the fourth highest rise in admissions, by 44 per cent, but had the lowest rise in the number of patients on ventilators, by two per cent.

Nonetheless, their total number of patients needing the machines is the third highest in England. 

NHS England figures show 1,739 patients were newly admitted to hospital with Covid-19, up from 1,209 the previous week.

And the number of patients on ventilators rose to 790 from 771 the previous week. 

Ministers were warned yesterday that without drastic action Britain’s hospitals could quickly become full.

A well-placed source told the Daily Mail: ‘Ministers have been told in clear terms that if no further action is taken, at the present rate of rising infections, every hospital bed in England will be full by December 17.

‘They would have no choice but to turn people away, including additional Covid-19 patients, people who have heart attacks, cancer, road accident victims – because there would be no beds to put them in or staff to treat them.

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Britain recorded another 23,065 confirmed Covid-19 cases and 280 deaths in the past 24 hours

Britain recorded another 23,065 confirmed Covid-19 cases and 280 deaths in the past 24 hours

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Scientists have warned the second wave of coronavirus could result in 85,000 deaths, almost double the number of victims from the first epidemic

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‘There could be a repeat here of the scenes in Lombardy in Italy at the start of the pandemic: the sick put in operating rooms or corridors.

‘Hospital admissions are forecast to go up slowly for the next few weeks but shoot up towards Christmas.

‘People don’t realise that social distancing measures can mean only ten beds in a ward meant to take 20.

‘And there is a finite number of trained ICU [intensive care unit] staff – you cannot do it without special training.’

A Downing Street source also confirmed to the newspaper that the Government had been advised hospitals could run out of space before Christmas.

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