Christmas at Essex County Hospital

By Deb Wiltshire

Being in hospital over Christmas can be especially hard. Our work digitising the materials found at Essex County Hospital uncovered a number of photographs that show the efforts made by the staff to help patients enjoy the festivities.

Ward 4 1932 Matron Jones Dr Sidney Curl Hon Physician

This early photograph from 1932 show the elaborate decorations put up on ward 4 for patients. The hand-written notes on the photograph allow us to identify the matron and doctor on duty, although we do not know anything about the other people present.

Ward 6 1946

Christmas on ward 6 in 1946

Immediately following the Second World War, this photograph shows a more sparsely decorated ward, but it must still have offered the patients some much-needed festive cheer. We also have a photograph of a turkey being carved on the ward!

ECH Ward 6 1946 #1

The turkey being carved on ward 6 in 1946

It’s easy to forget that, for the staff working round the clock on over the Christmas period, missing that time with their families can also be difficult, then as now. These efforts to bring Christmas into the wards must have been valuable for them too.

Here at ECH Heritage we would like to thank all the staff at hospitals across the UK – past and present – who work over the festival period to care for those who are sick. We wish staff, patients and our supporters a very Happy Christmas!

Don’t forget, if you worked at Essex County Hospital or were a patient at Christmas, we would love to hear from you, using the contact us form on our website.

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