Monthly Archives: June 2015

Peace Memorial Hospital Officially Opened 90 Years Ago, 24 June 1925.

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The Watford and District Peace Memorial Hospital was officially opened on 24 June 1925 by Princess Mary, Viscountess Lascelles. Crowds lined the route and a temporary pavilion was set-up in Market Place for the opening  – ‘More animated scenes have rarely been seen in the history of the town.’ The cost was given as £90,000 and it opened with 108 beds. The new hospital had ‘5 boilers, 128 radiators, 440 lighting points, 114 bell points and 15 phone points – the most modern of hospitals.’ Each of the four 2-storey ward blocks had concrete floors and contained two 12-bedded wards.  Each ward had 3 private patient rooms and a kitchen attached. On 6 July 1925 staff were able to occupy the new hospital and patients were able to be transferred from Watford District Hospital. The first President was The Right Honourable Earl of Clarendon DL JP George Villiers, 6th Earl of Clarendon and first Matron Miss L A Brooks ARRC. Treatment was free for ordinary work people – ‘ordinary work people are admitted because they cannot afford to pay’…if a patient…’has an income of £3.10.0 per week or over, then the usual sum paid 7/6 per week.’

Sources: Watford and District Peace Hospital Memorial Hospital, First Annual Report, July 6th, 1925 – March 31st, 1926. Watford in the 20th Century, Volume 1, A Fitting Memorial to the Fallen, by Oliver Phillips. Watford Observer Publication. A Watford Pictorial History 1922-72.

Celebrations are on the horizon!

Men's Ward

Celebrations are on the horizon! Peace Hospice Care is planning to mark history, applaud the past and cheer the future as part of a series of monumental anniversary moments in time.

It was 90 years ago on June 24, 1925 that the Peace Memorial Hospital was officially opened by Princess Mary, Viscountess Lascelles.  An entire town turned out for the occasionTogether, penny by penny, brick by brick the people of Watford and beyond had raised an incredible £90,000 to build the hospital as a Memorial to Peace and to honour those who had died in the First World War.

Over the past nine decades, this iconic landmark in Watford, that is now known as Peace Hospice Care, has found its place  in the hearts of the entire town.

Held within its walls, grounds and pillars are a whole host of memories that are currently being collected and archived as part of a Heritage Lottery project.

Audio interviews with former patients, nurses , staff  and their families are being recorded.  Precious memories are being gathered, and historic photos are being sourced on a journey of remarkable reminiscence that will be shared with the community and used in 2016 celebration events.

‘The history of this building is quite extraordinary,’ said Peace Hospice Care Reminiscence  Officer John Arcus.

‘Since this project began, many  local people are coming forward to share their memories and their recollections have been embraced as part of a wider celebration.  We will mark the 25th anniversary of Peace Hospice Care with a series of events and  anniversary activities .  We have a very exciting year ahead.’

The history of the Peace Memorial Hospital will be part of the archived project that will bring the past in line with the future to mark the incredible commitment made by a community  that began more than 90 years ago.

‘In the 1920’s  the average wage of a factory worker was £2 per week and unemployment was high,’ said John. ‘Yet despite poverty, in every corner of Watford, in workplaces, clubs, schools, churches , shops and societies, the people of the town, contributed towards  the hospital appeal.  We hope some of those people and their families come forward to share their memories of the Peace Memorial Hospital.  We are also gathering memories of those involved with the campaign to raise funds to re-open the Memorial Hospital as a hospice.  This campaign was driven by local people who were passionate and committed.’

Following the Hospital closure in 1985, and the appeal in the 1990s that raised £4million,  the old Peace Memorial Hospital continues to serve the community as a Hospice.

Peace Hospice Care are preparing for the anniversary celebrations and are looking  forward to the next decade.

‘We have such remarkable history to look back on and a strong future ahead offering services to the people of South West Herts,’ said Peace Hospice Care Head of Communications and Marketing, Jon Michael.

‘Our services continue due to the determination and contribution of so many people who help to raise the £4.2 million needed every year.  This community  commitment ensures we can  provide services to those with a life limiting illness in South West Herts. This is a remarkable achievement that mirrors the  strength of the community who 90 years ago raised £90,000 to build the Peace Memorial Hospital.’

‘We will be celebrating the past and the present in 2016 and we are proud that our Hospice remains a significant part of the community  serving the people of South West Herts.  We respect, value  and thank all those who have been part of its history, fundraising and services.
If you have a memory to share of Peace Hospice Memorial Hospital please contact Peace Hospice Care Reminiscence Service Coordinator, John Arcus on 01923 330330 or jarcus@peacehospicecare.org.uk

Oral History Training at Peace Hospice

Peace Memorial Hospital Watford Nurses Sitting Room date unknown - Copy

Thank you to everyone who attended the Oral History Training in May at Peace Hospice. We had people from Peace Hospice, Hospice of St Francis and U3A with a range of interests in Oral/Life History approaches – working with patients in the Hospice and community, working with bereavement groups and individuals, working with storytelling approaches, researching Peace Memorial Hospital and history of the Hospice and creating memory boxes for families.

We are starting to form a team to carry out Oral History. If you are interested please contact:  jarcus@peacehospicecare.org.uk 01923330330 07718570110