"The Triumph of Miss Mary Wardell" is the story of how and why Miss Mary Wardell, a Victorian single woman of independent means living in Hampstead in the late Nineteenth Century, worked to successfully establish a Convalescent Home for Scarlet Fever on Brockley Hill, Stanmore, as told in the newspaper articles and medical journals of the 1880s.
The story begins with Miss Mary Wardell working amongst the 'London poor' in the East End, where epidemics of infectious diseases are raging out of control in conditions of extreme poverty and population density. We hear from some of the eminent medical men of that time, working to mitigate the spread of infectious disease through legislation and reforms to Public Health.
Mary Wardell persuades 85 medical men, including the presidents of the colleges of physicians and surgeons, and a large number of the most eminent physicians in London, to sign the following declaration of support:
“We the undersigned, cordially approve of Miss Mary Wardell's proposal to establish an institution for the reception and isolation of convalescents from scarlet fever, as likely to promote their more complete recovery, and also to check the spread of that formidable disease..."
The Episode ends with the triumphal opening of the Convalescent Home in July 1884 by the Prince and Princess of Wales, with great excitement and celebrations in the "...pretty little village of Edgeware..."
So begins the RNOH Stanmore's long history of evolution in response to national crisis and challenge.
Pictured below the wonderful cast - patients and their partners, volunteers, the wider RNOH Stanmore family, and representing the global reach of the RNOH, Dr Bartek Szostakowski, consultant orthopaedic surgeon in Warsaw, Poland. Click on the photographs to read more.
Pegleg Productions warmly thanks the Radio Brockley team, the RNOH, and all those who generously volunteered to take part.
Cast in order of performance:
Young Woman : Aarti Shah
Narrator / Hendon and Finchley Times, 1884: Keith Reeve
Sir John Simon: Bartek Szostakowski
Dr. A.P. Stewart: David Rauch
Hon.Secretary of the Fever Hospital: Manjula Jayakody
Sir Joseph Fayrer: Timothy Morand
Derby Daily Telegraph, 1883: Christine Bows
Hampstead and Highgate Express,1884: Monica Richardson
Western Times, 1884: Aarti Shah
Sound Design: Louis Morand https://www.louismorandsound.com/
"Episode 1:The Triumph Of Miss Mary Wardell" is available to listen or download on the Radio Brockley website: