Detail from 1880 Christmas card "Wishing you a happy bright New Year" © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

"The Despair of Miss Mary Wardell" takes place in Mary Wardell's Convalescent Home for Scarlet Fever, Brockley Hill, Stanmore, on Christmas Day in 1884. It is late at night, and she is exhausted. She writes:
"...after a day of toil with a heavy heart: to provide Christmas cheer and merriment for patients and household..." 
She is firing off a letter to the Editor of 'The Morning Post' with a desperate appeal for money, and describing her heartbreak at the prospect of having to close her hospital due to heavy debts and no donations, in spite of the triumphant opening by the Princess of Wales just five months earlier in July 1884. 
This episode traces the struggles, the serious challenges of financing the Home, and the many strategies she employs to keep her hospital going, as described in contemporary articles and letters. It includes a wonderful 1899 interview of Mary Wardell by a correspondent from 'The Hospital' magazine, who travels to "The heights of Brockley, easily accessible from the pretty station at Stanmore." 
In this Episode we also have historian Julie Anderson, sharing her insights into Victorian women like Mary Wardell, who made such a significant contribution to philanthropy at a time where there was no state apparatus for Public Health.
The narrative ends with Mary Wardell's contemporary Christina Rossetti's beautiful Christmas poem "In the Deep Midwinter", first published in January 1872 and subsequently set to music by Holst. 
Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital Chief Operating Officer and Director of Strategy and Improvement Lucy Davies concludes with a reflection on the 'deep midwinter' of December 2020, the challenges and struggles faced by today's hospital after a year of COVID, but with the coming hope of Vaccination for patients and staff in 2021.
Pictured below the podcast's wonderful participants - RNOH patients, volunteers, staff, and the wider RNOH Stanmore family. Click on the photographs to read more.
Keith Reeve was first an RNOH patient in 1968, and since 2016 has been a part time employee.  He commenced volunteering  for their hospital Radio Brockley in 1977, joining shortly after his last period as a patient at the hospital, and has been actively involved in the multi-award winning station ever since. In 2016 he was awarded the Hospital Broadcasting Associations “John Whitney Award” for his outstanding contribution to UK hospital radio.  He also presents a show on Potters Bar Community Radio.
Keith Reeve was first an RNOH patient in 1968, and since 2016 has been a part time employee. He commenced volunteering for their hospital Radio Brockley in 1977, joining shortly after his last period as a patient at the hospital, and has been actively involved in the multi-award winning station ever since. In 2016 he was awarded the Hospital Broadcasting Associations “John Whitney Award” for his outstanding contribution to UK hospital radio. He also presents a show on Potters Bar Community Radio.
Christine Bows has 38 years service in the NHS. She trained at Barts, working there for 4 years before going on to work at the RNOH for 34 years. Christine officially retired in March 2020 but returned to work for a further 5 months in the RNOH Covid Testing Centre. She resumed her well earned retirement, but once again it may be delayed as Christine will be involved in the RNOH Covid Vaccination programme. "Once a nurse..."
Christine Bows has 38 years service in the NHS. She trained at Barts, working there for 4 years before going on to work at the RNOH for 34 years. Christine officially retired in March 2020 but returned to work for a further 5 months in the RNOH Covid Testing Centre. She resumed her well earned retirement, but once again it may be delayed as Christine will be involved in the RNOH Covid Vaccination programme. "Once a nurse..."
Hi, my name is Aarti Shah and I am a 23 year old British/Indian Actor and Radio Presenter born and raised in Wembley. I've been acting since the age of eight, where I attended Stagecoach Theatre Arts until the age of 17. I recently graduated my BA (Hons) Acting Degree in July 2019 from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston. Born in the South and trained in the North. I'm also a radio presenter for Radio Harrow, where I've been for the past 5 years on and off. Aside from Acting and Radio Presenting, I also enjoy a little bit of singing, video editing and travel.  My connection with the RNOH is that my mum works in the psychology department
Hi, my name is Aarti Shah and I am a 23 year old British/Indian Actor and Radio Presenter born and raised in Wembley. I've been acting since the age of eight, where I attended Stagecoach Theatre Arts until the age of 17. I recently graduated my BA (Hons) Acting Degree in July 2019 from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston. Born in the South and trained in the North. I'm also a radio presenter for Radio Harrow, where I've been for the past 5 years on and off. Aside from Acting and Radio Presenting, I also enjoy a little bit of singing, video editing and travel. My connection with the RNOH is that my mum works in the psychology department
Dr Julie Anderson completed her undergraduate studies in Australia, moving to the University of Leicester where she finished her PhD in 2001. She was appointed to a Research Fellowship at the University of Manchester where she worked until 2009, when she was appointed Senior Lecturer in the History of Modern Medicine at the University of Kent. Julie's research interests cover the history of medicine in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, with a particular interest in the cultural and social history of physical disabilities. Julie also researches war and medicine and has just completed a monograph on rehabilitation in the Second World War. She is Chair of the Disability History Group and co-editor of a series on the history of disability with Manchester University Press. She has been a historical consultant and appeared as a historical consultant on television shows, including Channel Four’s Secret Histories, ‘Queen Victoria and the Crippled Kaiser’, and ‘World War One’s Forgotten Heroes’.
Dr Julie Anderson completed her undergraduate studies in Australia, moving to the University of Leicester where she finished her PhD in 2001. She was appointed to a Research Fellowship at the University of Manchester where she worked until 2009, when she was appointed Senior Lecturer in the History of Modern Medicine at the University of Kent. Julie's research interests cover the history of medicine in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, with a particular interest in the cultural and social history of physical disabilities. Julie also researches war and medicine and has just completed a monograph on rehabilitation in the Second World War. She is Chair of the Disability History Group and co-editor of a series on the history of disability with Manchester University Press. She has been a historical consultant and appeared as a historical consultant on television shows, including Channel Four’s Secret Histories, ‘Queen Victoria and the Crippled Kaiser’, and ‘World War One’s Forgotten Heroes’.
Monica’s connection with the RNOH began in 1995 after being diagnosed with a Synovial Sarcoma in the tendon sheath of her left foot in August 1994. After a long struggle with Chemo, Radiotherapy and skin grafts, she had a Below Knee Amputation in 2011 at the RNOH. Monica says: “Since then I have been wonderfully cared for by the staff at the RNOH Prosthetics Unit. Rehabilitation Consultant Dr Sedki has been a rock throughout the past 11 years and Christophe, my original prosthetist, gave me incredible support and encouragement.”
Monica’s connection with the RNOH began in 1995 after being diagnosed with a Synovial Sarcoma in the tendon sheath of her left foot in August 1994. After a long struggle with Chemo, Radiotherapy and skin grafts, she had a Below Knee Amputation in 2011 at the RNOH. Monica says: “Since then I have been wonderfully cared for by the staff at the RNOH Prosthetics Unit. Rehabilitation Consultant Dr Sedki has been a rock throughout the past 11 years and Christophe, my original prosthetist, gave me incredible support and encouragement.”
Sandra is a left below knee elective amputee since September 2011. She is now part of OPUS, the orthotic and prosthetic user group for RNOH Stanmore. She enjoys crafting, gardening and playing badminton.
Sandra is a left below knee elective amputee since September 2011. She is now part of OPUS, the orthotic and prosthetic user group for RNOH Stanmore. She enjoys crafting, gardening and playing badminton.
Lucy Davies is the Chief Operating Officer and Director of Strategy & Improvement at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in Stanmore and has worked there since 2015. Lucy is very proud to work for the NHS and she thrives on developing individuals and teams.  She is interested in the history of hospitals and healthcare, learning from the past while progressing into the future.  Lucy is a strong advocate of art and music in hospital environments.
Lucy Davies is the Chief Operating Officer and Director of Strategy & Improvement at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in Stanmore and has worked there since 2015. Lucy is very proud to work for the NHS and she thrives on developing individuals and teams. She is interested in the history of hospitals and healthcare, learning from the past while progressing into the future. Lucy is a strong advocate of art and music in hospital environments.
Cast in order of performance:
Narrators: Keith Reeve, Nicola Lane, and Christine Bows
The Journal of Public Health, 1891 : Christine Bows
The Queen, The Lady’s Newspaper, 1889: Aarti Shah
Reflections on Mary Wardell and Victorian philanthropy: Julie Anderson
British Medical Journal Advertiser, 1884: Monica Richardson
The Nursing Record,1897: Sandra Staffiero
Reflection on 2020: Lucy Davies
Sound Design: Louis Morand (https://www.louismorandsound.com/ )
Pegleg Productions warmly thanks the Radio Brockley team, the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, Stanmore and all those who generously volunteered to take part. 
"Episode 2:The Despair of Miss Mary Wardell" is available to listen or download in the Podcast section of the Radio Brockley website:

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