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Harold Wood Hospital: Share your memories ahead of the NHS 70th anniversary

PUBLISHED: 17:17 09 August 2017 | UPDATED: 17:18 09 August 2017

The quilt which used to hang in Harold Wood Hospital, which shows scenes from around the borough

The quilt which used to hang in Harold Wood Hospital, which shows scenes from around the borough

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Residents are being sought to help with a heritage project to document life within Harold Wood Hospital.

Harold Wood hospital had expanded to such an extent that, by 1947, it was not possible to include The Grange in this aerial view. (Credit: Chris Saltmarsh and Nora Jennings) Harold Wood hospital had expanded to such an extent that, by 1947, it was not possible to include The Grange in this aerial view. (Credit: Chris Saltmarsh and Nora Jennings)

Ahead of the 70th anniversary of the National Health Service next year, executive heritage director Judith Garfield said the charity wanted to celebrate its history in the borough.

It was originally a private family home, built in 1884 by John Compton, owner of the Gubbins estate, who made his money selling clothes to the army.

It opened as a convalescent home for children in 1909 but was gradually expanded to include chronic adult cases,

After the Second World War, it became a permanent hospital and it is expected that many residents will have memories of visiting, working, or visiting patients there.

Many people will remember the Havering quilt, which had 22 panels detailing 19 landmarks from the borough.

It was made in 1988 by the Havering Quilters, and a grand unveiling ceremony took place on June 21 at the hospital, where it stayed until the building’s closure.

It narrowly avoided being thrown into a skip at this point, after being saved by a hospital staff member and was returned to the Quilters.

The hospital closed its doors to the public in 2006 and last December, a proposal to build 48 new dwellings on the former site was approved.

Now Eastside Community Heritage, which seeks to record, document and preserve the experiences of different communities, is looking to people to interview for the project, Three Score Years and Ten.

Judith was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2012 for her years of work preserving local heritage.

She said: “We wanted to celebrate that it was the 70th anniversary of the NHS.

“We thought that recording the history of Harold Wood Hospital would be a great step to take.

“A lot of people will have memories about the hospital; we are looking for workers, visitors and anyone who with memories who would like to talk to us.”

The oral history supplied by residents will be used to create an exhibition which will be go on show next year.

For more information or to get involved, email Hannah@ech.org.uk.

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