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Page last updated at 14:25 GMT, Friday, 20 August 2010 15:25 UK
North Staffs Royal Infirmary appeals for memories
Andrew Stuart
Website Contributor

Staff outside the North Staffordshire Royal Infirmary.
The exhibition wants staff and patients to get in touch with their stories.

The North Staffordshire Royal Infirmary is appealing for memories to be shared, ahead of their move to a new £400m site at the hospital's City General complex.

The NSRI at Hartshill, Stoke-on-Trent will be demolished once a new state-of-the-art hospital is complete in 2012.

The hospital is aiming to gather people's experiences, to form a book and online guide.

If Wards Could Talk will also be a travelling exhibition and form part of school activities.

The project is funded by £50,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund. It will allow volunteers to undertake research and help with the interpretation and events.

Ian Lawley is a historian and former Stoke-on-Trent museums director, and is spearheading the project for the University Hospital of North Staffordshire. He says the aim is to gather personal objects, photographs, film footage, and most of all, record people's memories.


He said: "When the new hospital takes shape these familiar landmarks will disappear and become part of our history. We need to record the stories of staff and patients, buildings and architecture, and changing medical practice for future generations to enjoy.

"I imagine there will be many unusual and personal memories of daily life in the hospital."

However, it's not just medical staff they're after. Stories from auxiliary staff are being sought, as well as anyone with photographs and information from further in the past.

Dr Gavin Russell has worked at the hospital for 35 years, and say he's seen more of the building than most.

"The North Staffordshire Royal Infirmary has been part of my life for upwards of 35 years. Over the years it has developed into a rabbit warren of facilities connected together in a total confusion of corridors.

"I now work in an office that was the room I occupied as a resident back in 1973. This is illustrative of changing times and the Infirmary has struggled to continue to adapt.

"It is after all a tremendous Victorian achievement but not able to provide 21st Century care."

Artists impression of the new building for the University Hospital of North Staffordshire
The new building is set to open in 2012


Contributors' stories can be recorded by an independent production company, to form part of the travelling exhibition and online series, as well as a DVD production.

Film-maker Mike McDonald said: "Everyone's personal experience is important. We need the memories of both former patients and hospital workers in order to build up a full picture of life at the Royal Infirmary and City General.

"Patients may remember special acts of kindness from a nurse or remember unusual and amusing incidents or perhaps going to hospital as a child."

The exhibition will go around communities, and will end in a showing at the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery. Highlights of the project will form a permanent display in the new hospital.

For more information or to contribute to the project contact project co-ordinator Ian Lawley on (01782) 614003 or click here to email Ian.


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