The sun has set on our National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) archive project

The sun has set on our National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) archive project

October marked the end of our momentous 3-year NLHF archive project, which has enabled the history of the RHN and its important place in the development of care and treatment of people with chronic disabilities to be publicly available for the first time.

There were many achievements, and these are just a few of the highlights of the project:

  • Uploading over 16,000 entries on our new archive catalogue
  • Digitising over 2,000 individual items
  • Professionally conserving almost 50 at-risk items
  • Recording over 50 oral history interviews
  • Holding 7 historical talks and 5 heritage open days
  • Welcoming approx. 500 visitors to our outdoor exhibition

The 14 volunteers who were recruited during the project did an outstanding job of sorting, repackaging, and cataloguing our archives. As a result, our collections have been transformed from this:

To this:

We are exceptionally grateful to the NLHF for the very generous grant and also to all the other organisations and individuals who have supported us along the way in driving this project to a successful conclusion.

Lantern slides

In our previous article, we promised you some examples of our lantern slide collection, and we shall not disappoint! These slides are some of the oldest items from our archives, and they date back to the 1890s. They are positive transparent photographs or illustrations made on glass. They need to be viewed with the aid of a “magic lantern”, which was the predecessor of the modern slide projector. Slides had to be inserted upside down, rendering the projected image correctly oriented.

Below are illustrations depicting daily life at the hospital and hand-painted photographs of the building. The images of the gatehouse and the reception area appear uncannily unchanged over 130 years later!

Archive(s) of the Month

The most recent theme of #ExploreYourArchive is #Community. As part of the NLHF project, some of our nursing team and patients had fun re-creating black and white images from our archive from the late 1940s/early 1950s. Below is an example, and it perfectly demonstrates that the wonderful sense of community between staff and patients at the hospital remains unchanged for over 70 years.

Coming Up

Next time, we’ll be bringing you some seasonal offerings from our archive… See you then!