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Stories from the War Hospital

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Title: Stories from the War Hospital

Author: Richard Wilcocks

Publisher: Meerkat Publications Ltd

Reviewer: Carol Singleton Queen’s Nurse, North Tyneside.

What was it like?

This book was the result of a project started in 2012 by four members of the Headingley LitFest team who talked to people with a strong interest in local history and the organisers of “Legacies of War” at the University of Leeds before deciding to focus on Beckett Park, a significant part of the community. A grant from ”All Our Stories” at the Heritage Lottery Fund provided the means to start the extensive research in various archives in Leeds, Salford and London but also enabling visits to be made to the descendants of patients and staff involved in this fascinating building.

What were the highlights? 

I carried out my nurse training in Leeds at Leeds General Infirmary, more than sixty years after the time described in this book but I found it a fascinating read, especially the chapter on “Doctors and Surgeons”, which mentioned people such as Harry Littlewood and Lord Moynihan whose bust remains to this day, on the staircase in Leeds General Infirmary.

There is an interesting chapter on “Wartime diseases and infections” that describes the various conditions and how they were treated, and another on “shell shock”, part of our cultural language throughout the 20th century.

Strengths & weaknesses:

At the back of the book there is a list of the sources used for the book, a bibliography and useful list of online sources for both this country and further afield.

Who should read it?

The material in this book is a valuable contribution to our understanding of the First World War in Leeds and in the whole country and even though it is primarily written about Beckett Park, it should be of interest to anybody wanting to learn more about this important part of our history, how hospitals were run and clinical care was carried out.Stories

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