Hospital with a heritage

Sam SharmanThe Library and Knowledge Service team would like to introduce our newly appointed Heritage Officer Samantha Sharman, based at the Royal Sussex County Hospital.

“As part of Heritage Lottery Funding I will be managing a two year Social History research and engagement project on the Royal Sussex County Hospital titled: Royal Sussex County Hospital: A People’s History from the 19th Century to the 21st Century.

TNL_HLFE_PANTONEOur research and activities are focused on the people who have made, run and supported the hospital and its services, the people we have served and the difference made from 1828 to the present day. It will invite our internal and external, clinical and non-clinical community to share and record which experiences, events, objects and people have been important to them during their time at the hospital, from the everyday to the extraordinary.

I applied for the role as I believe the hospital is an extraordinary anchor institution within Brighton & Hove. The history of the hospital is far reaching, and in many instances mirrors the shared history of voluntary hospitals, local urbanisation and NHS history. These changes have been tangibly experienced and observed via the on-going accumulation of personal interactions, events and experiences we as staff, patients, visitors, volunteers or community members encounter daily in our lives from our roles, volunteering, visits or by just in passing by. Our project will connect memories, and associated memorabilia, with an organisational biography, providing a deeply personal interpretation of our communal history.

It is also worth raising that recorded history is hardly ever found entirely intact, or from all perspectives, sometimes documents are overlooked as possessing research value and gaps exist, so it is hard to work out the meaning and context of a decision, event or change. As such, the project will also use both archival records, internal records, objects and personal reminiscence to interpret, contextualise and enrich the storyline of the hospital, its workforce and volunteers. We will also keep in mind that the project overlaps with areas of history internationally requiring development such as womens history, LGBT+ history, BAME history and socio-economic groups, to name a few.”

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