Thank you to everyone who attended the event and to all the volunteers who gave their time to make it happen. We hope you enjoyed it!

It was a hugely successful day and we managed to scan over 300 images and objects that former staff and patients shared with us at our History Harvest stall. We were also able to interview over 35 people about their experiences with the hospital, with around 20 more to record their memories over the coming weeks. We are grateful to all of you for sharing your stories for the growing community archive.

All of the images below and more can be found on the Essex County Hospital Heritage Flickr page, but here are a few from the day:

 

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It’s a sad occasion to say goodbye to an institution which has served Colchester for almost two centuries. But the event itself was a joyous one, and we all enjoyed meeting such a diverse range of people and hear their stories. The day was also an opportunity for staff past and present to reconnect with each other, some after decades apart.

We asked staff, past and present about their experiences of the day…

Terry Smyth, former Nurse at ECH:

Terry Smyth

“What did the ECH Heritage Day mean to me? Well, firstly, it was wonderful that everyone who wished to could make a final visit to Colchester’s oldest hospital, to share and record their memories. Secondly, the open day was an important reminder that we should always speak out about what matters, that history matters; that a speculative but heartfelt email of mine in 2014 to the Chief Executive of the Trust would trigger a process that eventually brought together, with such energy and creativity, the Trust managers, Colchester Recalled, and staff and students from Essex University’s History Department. What a result!”

 

Donna Booton, Matron at ECH from 2005-2015:

“It was great to see so many former staff coming together for a chat and to share their stories of their time at ECH. On the other hand it is obviously sad to see the hospital closing although I can accept that for our patients this is the right thing to do.”

“Having the open day was great fun, and a fitting tribute to the hospital and all the people who have worked there.”

 

Thank you all again for helping us celebrate this long-standing institution and for sharing your memories with us! We hope to continue working on building a collection of oral histories, objects and photographs which can be used for research in the years to come. If you have anything you would like to share with us, Contact Us.

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