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In his monthly report for the meeting of August 1950 he noted that: “I have attended two meetings in conjunction with forming a Scout and Cub section at the Sanatorium.
I think this is a helpful scheme for the boys, as some of them are already members of the Boy Scout Movement and if we form a group at the Sanatorium patients leaving would be transferred to Scout Clubs in their own district. …I also propose to form a Girl Guide Section.” (HOSP/STAN/1/2/5) By the end of September 1950 four sections had been established; Scouts, Cubs, Guides and Brownies.
As they are closed records the names and addresses cannot be released, but this enables those researching the disease to access medical information about the cases for the ‘core’ documents. As we could not digitise the entire files in each case the team decided to upload some examples on Flickr.
Though there is no such thing as a ‘typical’ or ‘average’ Stannington file, we tried to choose a few redacted examples of the patient files that gave an impression of the collection as a whole, and the type of documents found within them. The work began in phase one to raise awareness of the collection has continued.
Far from this being the end of our research with the collection, this is a beginning of a new and more accessible way of learning from them.
The collection itself is housed at Northumberland Archives, and though a hundred year closure period is still in place (from the date of the document’s creation), former patients and some immediate family can still seek permission to access the patient files.
You can read more about Margaret’s inspiration in writing the play in the blog she wrote for us, and you can listen to the play through Audioboom.
We hope to continue further interest in the collection by launching an education resource, now available through our website.
It was a wonderful finish to the project to see them displayed so close to the sanatorium itself, with locals and visitors finding out more about the story of Stannington Sanatorium.
In January 1952 Ralph Reader, actor, theatre producer and originator of the Scout Gang Show visited to hand the Scouts and cubs their first colours.
On this occasion the membership, which totalled 40, including 22 Scouts, assembled on the veranda to receive the colours. an expatient had been presented with the Badge of Fortitude at the Sanderson Orthopaedic Hospital and it was agreed that the Secretary write a letter of congratulations.” “Arrangements were being made to hold the competition for the Mitford Cup at the sanatorium and it was suggested that the committee might act as host.” (HOSP-STAN 1/2/14) When it was held the Hospital Scout troop went on to win the Mitford Cup for their skill in knot making, knowledge of scouting law and oral relay skills.
Keeping children occupied during this time was an important consideration for the institution’s staff.
Outside of attending the on-site school which all children did as soon as their recovery from illness allowed there were several ways the hospital staff kept children busy and entertained during their stays.