Friday, 23 September 2011

The Power of the Pence

 “The days are dark and fateful. As a nation we carry on under the devastating realities of a world at war…our Hospitals, more than ever as sanctuaries of healing and restoration, are prepared to render the uttermost service to the maimed and injured, thus saving lives and bringing immediate relief to stricken humanity…Meanwhile, the call comes to all within the Infirmary’s region and sphere of service to help to sustain this great work on the home-front in keeping with the courageous spirit of the times”.

You may have guessed that Russell Paton’s Communications Team didn’t ask him to condense his message into 140 characters or less. Thankfully the Organising Secretary of the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh wasn’t tasked with communicating to the Twitter generation but with writing a foreword for ‘Our Record of Service’, a souvenir brochure published by the Hospital in 1941 which we have accessioned into the Archive this week. 

Front Cover

At that time “the largest voluntary hospital in the Empire”, it published this booklet to celebrate its efforts on the home front during WW2 and to encourage readers to contribute to its funding. At a time before the introduction of the National Health Service, all of the pennies raised counted. 

Appeal for donations
Priced at 6 pence “or whatever more you can afford”, it contains messages from the Lord Provost, the Board of Managers, nursing and medical staff about the importance of the Hospital within Edinburgh and Scotland. The articles describe the work of the League of Subscribers, the numbers of patients treated annually and where they came from. Alongside these are beautiful illustrations, including a cartoon by the notable artist Tom Curr. There are poems and even a look at what the future maternity services of 1991 might look like. If you’d like to view the booklet, or any other parts of our collections, please contact us.

No comments:

Post a Comment