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Nursing from the past recorded on new local history website

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Photographs of nursing staff taken at Christmas time during the 1920s and 1930s are among those featured in a new digital archive of the history of healthcare services in Salisbury.

The new website has been launched by the Salisbury District Hospital ArtCare team to give an insight into the development of health services in and around Salisbury over the last 250 years.

The archive comprises a number of historical collections held at the hospital, including interactive maps, themed collections, highlights of key objects and downloadable resources for schools.

In December 2015, the ArtCare team was successful in obtaining a £40,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to sort, record and exhibit the hospital’s historical archives and collections.

These range from the 1760s to the present day and include photographs and memories from the Salisbury General Infirmary, Odstock Hospital – now Salisbury District Hospital – and other sites.

Among them are a view of a Salisbury General Infirmary ward, decorated with horseshoes, four leaf clovers and a black cat to bring in the 1928 new year, with the theme of good luck.

There is also a view of Chafyn Grove Ward at the infirmary at around the same period that shows the children’s ward at Christmas time.

Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust

Nursing from the past recorded on new local history website

View of Chafyn Grove Ward at Salisbury General Infirmary in the late 1920s, showing the children’s ward at Christmas time.

Another photograph features sisters seated near Salisbury’s Guildhall for presentations at the end of its 1930 carnival, a fundraising week for the hospital that raised nearly £5,000 at the time.

As well as the Salisbury Healthcare History website, there are also permanent displays in the main corridors and lifts at Salisbury District Hospital.

Temporary exhibition panels are available for loan to local venues and the ArtCare team will continue to work with schools and community groups to deliver talks and workshop activities.

Lesley Meaker, project lead for ArtCare, noted that, before the project started in January 2016, its collections were stored in various locations that did not allow for easy access and online searching.

“Since then, we have trained volunteers to record, handle and catalogue items using guidelines that follow museum standards so that we could digitise the collection,” she said.

“They have given up over 1,000 hours of their time to the project and recorded more than 11,000 photographs, objects and papers,” said Ms Meaker.

“Highlights from this work have been added to the online website and this will continue to grow as the collection is documented,” she said.

Ms Meaker added: “Themed collections include nursing, innovation, local memories, celebrations and medicine from the war.

“The team has already had interest from families looking to trace back relatives stationed here during World War 2, when the current Salisbury District Hospital was a US army field hospital making preparations to receive casualties from the D-Day landings,” he said.

Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust

Nursing from the past recorded on new local history website

Sisters from the Salisbury General Infirmary seated in the Market Square near the Guildhall in Salisbury for the presentations at the end of the 1930 carnival, a fundraising week for the hospital which raised nearly £5,000 at the time.


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