Glenside Hospital Museum is looking for information about anyone who stayed or worked at Beaufort War Hospital between 1915 and 1918. If you had a parent, grand-parent, uncle or aunt who spent time at the hospital, either as an employee or as a patient, they want to hear from you. Perhaps in your attic there is a photograph or letter that you have previously overlooked. Any information is welcome. The hospital is keen to turn the people in their pictures into individuals with real lives and real histories.
The hospital, Bristol’s first purpose built asylum opened in 1861, was appropriated by the government during WWI. Thanks to funding from the Esmeé Fairbrain Collections Fund, the team at Glenside, led by Stella Man, are trying to find the personal stories behind the many photographs and postcards in the museum’s collection. Though they have many pictures the figures within them are largely unknown, without any names or personal stories attached to them.
For example, a Private William Samuel Cropper spent three months at the hospital in 1918 after suffering a gunshot wound to his right thigh. He was 21 years old at the time. From historical records we knew he was carrying an Iron Cross medal, given to him by a dying German soldier, Otto Kruschwitz. While on the battlefield Kruschwitz made Cropper promise he would pass the medal on to his family. Sadly, Cropper was unable to locate them after the war, though he tried many times.
Glenside Hospital has undergone many changes, facelifts, and renamings until in 1994 it was closed as a mental health care institution, and is now in its present incarnation – the home of UWE’s School of Health and Social Care and the site of the Glenside Hospital Museum. The museum charts the evolution of the hospital throughout its 150 year history, with many artefacts and photographs on display. Research into the hospital’s past is still ongoing thanks to funding from a variety of sources.
If you have any information or stories about the hospital please do not hesitate to contact the museum. Stella Man can be contacted by telephone on 07968 869840 or email on firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively you can visit the museum in the church on UWE Glenside Campus, Blackberry Hill, Stapleton, Bristol, BS16 1DP. The museum’s website can be found at http://www.glensidemuseum.org.uk