COVID-19 Collection

Contemporary collecting of oral histories, objects and documents from our staff and patients during the global pandemic.

Covid 19 Collection

Covid-19 pandemic has called for unprecedented measures to be taken across the globe to contain the spread of the disease. The patients and residents of the hospital are particularly vulnerable and the hospital acted quickly to impose a strict lockdown of all visitors, including family members; cancelling all group activities in or out of the hospital and designating zones in the hospital to decrease the number of people moving about and reduce the risk of transmission.

These are extraordinary times and precautions are likely to be placed for a considerable time and have a considerable impact on the well-being of staff, patients and family alike, as well as the more long-term economic and social cost of the pandemic on the hospital’s future.

The RHN Archive service has been collecting and recording the impact of the pandemic on the hospital both in recognition of the hard work undertaken by hospital staff to keep our patients safe and also for future generations as part of our shared history.

Covid-19 Oral History project

May 2020 – November 2021

The hospital began recording oral histories with staff members in May 2020 to capture the thoughts and feelings of staff at this time of crisis, which may otherwise be lost. The oral histories complement the written record of the hospital by capturing personal accounts which are less likely to be recorded or preserved for the future.

The interviews were conducted remotely, either over the telephone or using the video conferencing software. The project has recorded over twenty interviews with a wide range of staff members. The project is generously supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, who have provided the staff resources to continue to interview, edit and summarise the recordings. The final recordings will be available to listen to through our online archive catalogue and can be found here.

The project will continue to collect and record interviews for the duration of the National Lottery Heritage Fund project, which is due to end in November 2021.

If you have a connection with the hospital and would be interested in taking part, please contact us. The project hopes to capture and record a range of voices associated with the hospital, not just front-line workers, and we are especially keen to hear from patients, family members and volunteers. If you are interested please contact Katherine Szentgyorgyi, Archivist, by email ( or on the telephone (020 8780 4500 ext Ext 6525).

Collecting photographs and documents

The RHN Archive is also collecting photographs, objects and documents associated with the hospital’s response to the pandemic. 

The archive is collecting various contemporary materials including photographs, posters, leaflets, meeting minutes, donated handmade scrubs, audio recordings and videos. We are looking for material that illustrates the impact of Covid-19 on the lives of the people associated with the hospital.

Please only submit photographs, audio and video for which you are the owner or creator and can therefore give permission to be added to the Archive’s collections. We are happy to receive any printed material (posters, newspaper cuttings, leaflets etc.) regardless of origin.

Material that you donate will be securely stored by the Archive at the Hospital and maintained over time. The aim is to make this material available to Archive users researching this period of history, though this will not happen immediately as staff will need to catalogue and store material appropriately and this will take some time.

In order to donate or to ask for more information please feel free to contact the Archives at the following email address:

Below, are some examples of the photographs taken by staff during the first national lockdown from March to May 2020.