The Essex County Hospital (formerly the Essex and Colchester Hospital) in Colchester will be closing its doors in 2018, two hundred years after its founding. This hospital has been a part of the Colchester community and of peoples’ lives for generations. They relied on the care provided there when they were sick; visitors came to comfort friends and relatives; and for hundreds of nurses, doctors, porters and cleaners over the years, it was their place of work.
Recognising the importance of this important local institution, the Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust wanted to mark the closure of the Lexden Road site. The Department of History at the University of Essex was keen to help and two MA students (kindly sponsored by Colchester Medical Society and the Colchester League of Friends) are now working to develop this website as a resource for the whole community. The hospital is also planning an open day to take place in early July. This event will commemorate the hospitals 200th anniversary as well as it’s closure, with tours, staff talks and much more.
The hospital is a treasure trove of history. Its buildings tell the story of the changing functions of the hospital, from the nurses home, built in 1897, to the much celebrated introduction of the radiotherapy department in 1964. There are even the bricks of the former children’s ward, which have initials engraved on them – one of the hidden histories we hope to uncover. Together, these stories weave a wider history, that of the hospital community. We will be writing regular blog posts to share more of this history.
It is vital that the memory of the hospital is preserved for the future. But, as much as we can do, we would also love your help. If you have any connection to the hospital we would love to hear from you. Whether you have any photos taken at the hospital or can help identify people in photographs we hold, we would be interested. If you would like to contribute please let us know via the contact us form on this website, or alternatively you can e-mail us directly. If you would like to be updated on the progress of this project, please join our mailing list via the contact us page. You can also follow us on Twitter @echheritage.