Queen Mary’s Hospital Roehampton

Queen Mary's Hospital Roehampton, London

Gordon Jones, 15.11.2011
The Queen Mary’s Hospital Roehampton in south London was founded as a military convalescence hospital in 1915 to rehabilitate first world war amputees.

It introduced plastic surgery in the 1920s and tropical diseases in 1945. It became a district general hospital (while retaining its special services) in 1960 and has been a community hospital since 1998.

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In 1970, the London Metropolitan Archive (LMA) received the hospital's accumulated archive material, which it regards as having national significance. Plans to demolish the old hospital prompted the formation of the Archive & Museum Group in 1999.

Funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund in 2008 supported a three-year project to record and transcribe 60 oral histories, catalogue them for the hospital website and place copies of the CDs and transcripts in the LMA. The 60 recordings have been achieved with trained volunteers using Marantz PMD660s sound recorders.

HLF funding meant that the oral history project had to be accessible to hospital staff, patients and the wider community. This was achieved by creating a mini-museum in the hospital, incorporating an audio system (designed by design agency Dot co) and introducing touchscreens featuring 33 soundbites from longer oral histories.

A mobile version was also made and taken to local libraries, a school, local societies and a hospital ward.

We considered the activity levels in the hospital between 1950 and 2000 and decided on a cross-section of patients and staff divided across the major departments. As well as patient support groups, we relied on publicity through the Queen Mary’s Hospital intranet and website to find interviewees.
 
Given our resources we are satisfied with the outcome and plan to continue recording oral histories when opportunities arise.
 
The reaction from targeted groups suggests the project has been successful and the group is planning more interviews to add to the 60 oral histories placed in the LMA.

Gordon Jones is chairman of the Queen Mary’s Hospital Archive & Museum Group

Links

The Queen Mary’s Hospital Roehampton Archive & Museum Group

London Metropolitan Archive

Heritage Lottery Fund

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