Strike a Light – Arts & Heritage delivered the heritage and oral history provision of this BSUH heritage project through Nimbus in Brighton in 2019 and 2020.

Memories wanted to make medical history

Sussex residents are invited to share their memories – both as staff and patients – for the final phase of a heritage project  co-ordinated by Strike a Light- Arts & Heritage, and Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals (BSUH).

Researchers at Strike a Light – Arts & Heritage are appealing for current and former employees of hospitals run by BSUH to help create an oral archive and exhibition, part of a wider project by creative consultants Nimbus.

The historic Royal Sussex County Hospital is undergoing a massive redevelopment to provide top of the range, 21st century healthcare facilities for the people of Brighton & Hove and Sussex. For this to happen, many of the old buildings need to be replaced.

This project will collect memories and stories about the hospital, to capture its heritage and share the role it has played in the lives of Brighton & Hove residents, including staff, patients and the wider community.

Participants will be asked about their memories of the five BSUH hospitals: Princess Royal Hospital – formerly Cuckmere and Haywards Heath Hospital, Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital, Royal Sussex County Hospital, Sussex Eye Hospital and Hurstwood Park Neurological Centre. From this group, up to 50 people will be invited to record their stories to represent a wide range of memories.

Oral history project manager Nicola Benge says: ‘We are interested to hear about training, about the social life of hospitals, of hierarchies and comradeship. We want to know about changes in the way that patients are treated, medical and technical innovations, in care and also, possibly, in difficulties or struggles.

‘We very much want to collect the hitherto unrecorded or neglected story, for hospitals are more than bricks and mortar.’

The researchers, all trained in oral history techniques, are involved with the BSUH 3Ts redevelopment programme for the duration of the oral history project.

Volunteers will collect photographs, newspaper clippings, documents, letters and photos of keepsakes, as well as family tales passed down to help them build a clear picture of what life was really like, with support from project partners, specialist academics, local authority employees and archivists, as well as young people, older groups, participants and project staff.

The stories will be sustainably recorded and form a new oral archive at the Hospital Library and Knowledge Service after March 2020. The aim is also to create an exhibition in September 2019 at Jubilee Library, Brighton.

Although Brighton General is not run by BSUH, its historical ties with other hospitals means that the researchers are interested in hearing memories associated with there, too.

About Strike a Light – Arts & Heritage

Strike a Light is a community arts and heritage organisation based in Sussex. We focus on capturing history and memories in creative ways through creative reminiscence, oral history and exhibitions to bring together diverse communities.

About Nimbus

A creative consultancy agency specialising in ideas generation, project management and business and funding.

About BSUH

BSUH is an acute teaching hospital working across two main sites: Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton and Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath.

About The National Lottery Heritage Fund

Using money raised by the National Lottery, we Inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future.

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