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Exhibition tells the story of a century of care at Derbyshire Royal Infirmary

Published 28/09/2015

THE history of the Derbyshire Royal Infirmary has come to life through an exhibition displaying a century of care at the former hospital.

As the last of the buildings at the old hospital are demolished, the collection of photographs at London Road Community Hospital shows the people who once filled the corridors at the site.

The images hark back to decades past, with photos including staff in the records office in the 1960s and 2000s and injured soldiers sent to the hospital during the First World War.

One large-scale image, mounted at what was the entrance to the link corridor which ran from the DRI to the community hospital, shows nurses lining the walls of the corridor as the Duchess of Gloucester makes her way along the queue. It was taken in 1936.

Lindsay Pilkington, who works for Hidden Histories, the organisation behind the exhibition, said: “It’s about celebrating the hospital and the people who are still working at London Road Community Hospital, and the pictures are great. With the big image, it was something to commemorate the corridor, which was really the heart of the hospital. So many people met their friends there for a chat. Now that has been demolished it’s really heart-breaking for the staff. It’s nice to bring it back like this.”

Many of the pictures have been collected from former staff members, who shared their photos and memories at an event held last year. It has taken more than 12 months to decide which pictures best illustrate the past 100 years.

The idea for the exhibition came from Derby Teaching Hospitals staff governor and physiotherapy team leader Grace Pearn, who wanted to do something to celebrate the history of the site.

She said: “A lot of staff thought it was a real shame when the DRI was demolished, so we wanted to do something to commemorate it. The DRI has been a very significant place, both for Derby and for the Trust. There have been births, deaths, and all sorts in between here, and it’s important to remember that and celebrate it.”

Many of the images included in the exhibition have also been included a charity calendar which has been produced by the Trust. All proceeds will be ploughed back into charitable funds.

Sue James, Chief Executive for Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “At the time of the demolition of the old DRI, it’s really important for us to make sure the memories, the care and the compassion that existed within the old site are celebrated as we move forwards. The buildings and the location may change over time, but the values and quality of services will remain the same.”

The 2016 calendar is to be sold in shops and tea rooms run by the League of Friends at London Road Community Hospital and the Royal Derby Hospital at a cost of £12.50.

Last Modified 28/09/2015