'Searching for the Grey Lady: A Ghost From WW1' comes to an end as the RNOH Stanmore celebrates its Centenary - celebrating 100 years since founder Mary Wardell's Convalescent Home for Scarlet Fever became the RNOH 'Country Branch' in 1922.
We have discovered that traces and legacies of the First World War remain embedded in the history of the RNOH. Our searches also reveal that history is not confined to the documents held within archives but can live in memories and stories, skills and technology, in the lived experience of patients, staff, volunteers and clinicians.
The filming, interviews, and documentation of historic traces and buildings on the RNOH site had to be suspended during COVID 19, but Pegleg Productions is hopeful that this material can form part of a future project.
In recent years difficult and painful aspects of British history are emerging, with an urgent need for the forgotten and invisible to have their story told. The 'Grey Lady' remains elusive, but we have discovered and re-covered stories, sites, memories and archives, 'hidden histories' of Disability on the edge of disappearing, the invisible made visible.
Pegleg Productions and Radio Brockley are proud to present the last episode in our series of Podcasts: Episode 6: "Our Doctor and Friend", featuring participant Laura McGuinness' discovery of a moving account from the 'Hendon and Finchley Times' of June 1916. We hear how the communities of Edgware and Little Stanmore welcome and celebrate Dr Findlater, a popular local doctor, when he returns from the Front Line on leave in June 1916, after being awarded the D.S.O. whilst serving in the Royal Army Medical Corps during the Gallipoli campaign.
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The Podcasts would not have been possible without the creative collaboration of RNOH award-winning hospital radio Radio Brockley, with veteran community broadcaster Keith Reeve and all the Radio Brockley volunteers. It is typical of the RNOH that Radio Brockley is sited in a building loaded with history - built to withstand 'blast' and designed for decontamination in case of gas attack in the Second World War!
Pegleg Productions wants to warmly thank Derek Sayers for sharing his collection and knowledge of the RNOH; the brilliant 'Lost Hospitals of London'; Tony Higgins and the Comms team; RNOH Consultant in Rehabilitation Medicine Dr. Sedki, staff, clinicians and patients at the PRU and Orthotics Department; RNOH Head of Research & Innovation Iva Hauptmannova; the Estates team, Jan Letocha, Mary Lauder at the Disability Foundation; Christine Bows, Senior Clinical Research Nurse Fiona Fitzgerald, Mr John Blake, Laura McGuinness, and all the wonderful Podcast readers and researchers. Warm thanks to historian Julie Anderson, who has been so generous with her time and knowledge and to Consultant Archivist Dr Milnes-Smith and Community Historian Dr Sam Carroll for their brilliant contributions.
A very big thank you to the Culture Recovery Fund, National Heritage Lottery and National Lottery players for supporting 'Searching for the Grey Lady: A Ghost From WW1 at the RNOH' and enabling us to reveal and share the RNOH’s First World War legacies of rehabilitation and renewal from the perspective of people whose lives continue to be shaped by that heritage.
Pegleg Productions invites and welcomes information, memories and corrections, so do get in touch using the website's Contact Form.
Nicola Lane, Project Leader, Pegleg Productions
June 2019 - September 2022