About Us

Dr Deborah Wiltshire


My name is Deb and I’m currently studying for a MA in History at the University of Essex. I’m a part-time student, balancing my studies with my job, also at the University. I originally studied social sciences and later social statistics and demography, researching areas such as women’s educational attainment, divorce and women’s economic activity. It was during my research into women’s economic activity and divorce from the mid-1800s that I became interested in history and particularly in women’s histories.

I’m excited to have the opportunity to be part of the Essex County Hospital Heritage project because I’m looking forward to uncovering the stories behinds the numbers – to find how people experienced working and being treated at the hospital as well as how these experiences might have changed over time.  In addition to increasing my own knowledge and understanding, having moved to Essex in the last few years I’ve always been struck at how much affection people have for local landmarks and institutions such as the hospital, so it’s a great pleasure to be part of the efforts to preserve this heritage before the hospital closes its doors next year.

Deb is kindly sponsored by the Colchester Medical Society.


Kyle Cameron-Symes

3a6a863Kyle is a Masters student at the University of Essex.  He has previously been involved with local history through volunteering at the Essex Police Museum and has contributed articles to the blogsite culturallifeconnection.org. He was keen to bring these skills to the project.

Kyle said:

“When hearing about the project and looking at the objects found in the hospital I was  immediately fascinated and sure that I would love to be involved with the placement, the chance of using my history skills to assist with and engage with a wider public was too good to miss.  I am delighted that I was chosen to help with this project and be a part of the 200th Anniversary of the founding of the Essex County hospital. It is vital that the hospital gets the recognition it deserves as it has been an important part of the life of the town and community. I am grateful that I have been given this opportunity to utilize my current skills to help with this very exciting project and to give something back to the community. I hope that my contribution helps to promote the fascinating history that the hospital holds and I hope it will provide a resource which will bring together the community of all ages to discover and learn about their local area. My aim is for this project is to ensure that it creates a permanent legacy for the hospital and provide a collective space for its memory. This collaborative project will provide a good platform for learning about and public engagement with the hospital for many years to come.”

Kyle will largely be responsible for maintaining the Website, writing some of the blog posts and behind the scenes cataloguing work to ensure that the hospital’s history is more accessible.

Kyle is kindly sponsored by the Colchester League of Hospital and Community Friends.