Category Archives: Celebrating Lives Oral History Project

Celebrating Lives Oral History Project

Merry Christmas from the Reminiscence Team Peace Hospice Care

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Peace Memorial Hospital nurses making Christmas more festive for patients who had to be in hospital during the holiday, c1956/57. Photo from Glenys Hamilton. Glenys is in the middle of the student nurses sitting at the front.

Thank you everyone for contributing to our Oral History Project in 2015 and I’d like to wish you a prosperous New Year – and invite you to join in with celebrating 2016 our 25th Anniversary Year.

Heritage Open Day – Many Thanks

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CELEBRATING PEACE – Heritage Open Day Event with a presentation by John Arcus and tour of the building. 1.30-4.00pm, Thursday 10 September, 2015, Starlight Meeting Room, The Peace Hospice, Watford, WD17 3PH.

Thank you for all the help on heritage open day. People attended from the community, Watford Museum, Hospice volunteers, Oral History interviewer and staff. The presentation covered Peace Memorial Hospital and Peace Hopsice history; with a  tour of the Hopsice and talk by Liz Kennedy. There were lots of questions about IPU and our guests shared memories of the Hospital and challenges facing the Hopsice Appeal in thde 1990s. Thank you to Deborah, Pauline and Jeannette for helping set-up.

John Arcus jarcus@peacehospicecare.org.uk 01923330330 07718570110 www.peacehospicecare.org.uk Parking information

Oral History Project Funded by Heritage Lottery Fund

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CELEBRATING HOSPICE CARERS – Presentation of Peace Hospice Care Oral History Project by John Arcus for Carers Week

Men's WardCELEBRATING CARERS – Presentation of Peace Hospice Care Oral History Project by John Arcus for Hospice Carers Week. 2.30-4.00pm, Wednesday 7 October, 2015, Starlight Meeting Room, The Peace Hospice, Watford.

Our project is recording the experiences and memories of staff, volunteers, supporters and patients of Peace Memorial Hospital and Peace Hospice Care. You are welcome to come and share in our history –  and to celebrate some of the lives and memories spanning 90 years caring for people in South West Hertfordshire. Presentation includes historic images and audio recordings. Open to the public – free entry. Limited spaces – please book. RSVP to John: jarcus@peacehospicecare.org.uk 01923330330 07718570110 www.peacehospicecare.org.uk Parking information

Oral History Project Funded by Heritage Lottery Fund

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CELEBRATING PEACE – Heritage Open Day at The Peace Hospice, Watford.

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CELEBRATING PEACE – Heritage Open Day Event with a presentation by John Arcus and tour of the building. 1.30-4.00pm, Thursday 10 September, 2015, Starlight Meeting Room, The Peace Hospice, Watford, WD17 3PH.

Presentation on the history of Peace Memorial Hospital and Peace Hospice – serving the community for 90 years. Includes images and oral histories; with opportunities to share your memories and a tour of the building.. Peace Memorial hospital was built by public subscription to mark the First World War and opened by HRH Princess Mary in 1925. It became a Peace Hospice in the early 1990s after a South West Herts Hospice appeal and enthusiastic backing from the Watford Observer. Open to the public – free entry. Limited spaces – please book. RSVP to John: jarcus@peacehospicecare.org.uk 01923330330 07718570110 www.peacehospicecare.org.uk Parking information

Oral History Project Funded by Heritage Lottery Fund

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Birthday Celebration – Sharing Memories

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Nurses who trained at Peace Memorial Hospital during WW2 recall some of their colleagues.

Sharing Memories of PEACE MEMORIAL HOSPITAL 24 July 2015 Starlight Meeting Room. Ten people attended Sharing Memories and we celebrated Dorothy’s birthday for the 25th. She was born on the same day as the foundation stone was officially laid in 1923 and went on to train and work here. Rose made a wonderful birthday cake. David Wellings who has done a lot of research into Peace Memorial Hospital History and was involved in the Hospice Appeal also attended.

Heritage Presentation at the Starlight Centre, Peace Hospice Care, by Gemma Meek from Watford Museum

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Gemma Meek with a slide of Benskin’s Watford Brewery

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The Friendship Group meet fortnightly at The Starlight Centre, Peace Hospice Care.

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Janet Miller and Ian Jarvis rediscovering a 1950s publication.

Gemma Meek, Educator from Watford Museum gave an enetertaining presentation today to the Friendship Group at the Starlight Centre, Peace Hospice Care, on the early history of Watford. It brought back many memories for people who grew-up here and gave the rest of us a good understanding of the growth of Watford from a small village on the stage coach route to London, to a bustling market town. She also showed us a collection museum items that reminded us of the 1950s.

Audio Editing Volunteers for Oral History Project

Peace Hospice Care is undertaking an oral history project on the history of Peace Memorial Hospital, the development of Peace Hospice and also developing a team to work with people’s life histories. If you would like to learn how to edit digital audio or already have some experience and would like to volunteer on the project please contact John Arcus jarcus@peacehospicecare.org.uk 01923330330 07718570110

Volunteer with our Reminiscence Team

Oral History Project Funded by Heritage Lottery Fund

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Glenys Hamilton Training at The Peace 1954-1957

g - CopyPeace Memorial Hospital nurses making Christmas more festive for patients who had to be in hospital during the holiday, c1956/57. Glenys is in the middle of the student nurses sitting at the front.

Glenys A Hamilton (nee Glenys A Dobbs) 1954-1957 

I wish to share my thoughts about Peace Memorial Hospital. This very special hospital was built to honour those who died in WWI. My grandfather, Sergeant Ernest Webb was killed on 31 May 1916 on the HMS Queen Mary in the Battle of Jutland. I never knew him. My mother lost her father and as the oldest of three children had to help raise her siblings.

I am proud that I received my preliminary nursing education from a hospital dedicated to those who served their country and lost their lives. I trained as a nurse at the hospital from 1954-1957. I realised later that I received the very best nursing education at the Peace. The Tutors, Sisters, Matron and Medical staff instilled in many of us a desire to be the very best, to never stop learning, be compassionate, gain patients’ trust in our competence, and privileged to prepare for our profession at the Peace.

I still learn something new every day. I continue to contribute my skills and knowledge to help decrease the burden of cardiovascular disease in Europe. This is the goal of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) and the Council for Nurses and Allied Professions (CCNAP). The Peace Memorial Hospital taught us to share, care, learn, teach, mentor, and to respect those we serve. My nursing career has taken me on a rewarding journey, clinical work, teaching and conducting research. The seeds were sown at the Peace Memorial Hospital and also by my church at Stanborough Park.

I hope some nurses from my set and from other years will write and express their gratitude to a town that contributed to an institution where best practice was expected and delivered.


Glenys Hamilton, RN, DNSc., DHL (Hon.), FESC, Congress Coordinator, Council Cardiovascular Nursing & Allied Professions, European Society of Cardiology, EU. Consultant in Cardiovascular Nursing, US. External Faculty Nurse Scientist, The Yvonne Munn Research Centre, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA.

If you have any information about this photo, or Peace Memorial Hospital and Peace Hospice history, please contact:  jarcus@peacehospicecare.org.uk 01923330330 07718570110

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!

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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