Friday, 9 December 2011

Volunteer update: oral history transcription project nears completion

As 2011 draws to a close, it’s a good time to update you on our volunteer programme. 7 people have participated this year, gaining invaluable experience and enabling the Archive to undertake important cataloguing and conservation work. On the archive side, our current volunteers are Claire Kirkpatrick and Lynne MacMurchie who are both hoping to train as archivists in the future. They each came to undertake the one-day taster sessions that we’ve introduced this year and this led to both gaining long-term placements.

Claire and Lynne are about to complete an oral history transcription project, providing access for the first time to engaging testimonies from staff & volunteers at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital whose careers span from the 1920s to 1980s. The interviews were carried out by clinical psychologist Jill Birrell in 1993 in preparation for a book she was to write about Craig House. Due to her untimely death shortly afterwards, they were transferred to LHSA. Now digitised, each of the 21 interviews has been summarised for the catalogue and full transcriptions are underway. In addition, research papers and photographs collected by Jill Birrell have been catalogued. As well as providing an insight into the workings of the Hospital over a 60 year period, the interviews capture something of the social side and the interactions between staff and patients. Opinions are given on a wide range of topics including: the changes brought about by the introduction of the National Health Service in 1948, details of psychiatric nurse and medical training, ghosts, and the treatments given to patients.

Craig House, later the Thomas Clouston Clinic
We’d like to thank all of our volunteers for their hard work this year, and look forward to welcoming them back in 2012! If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer at LHSA, please complete an application form at the foot of the following page: volunteer application form.

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