It was 90 years ago on June 24, 1925 that the Peace Memorial Hospital was officially opened by Princess Mary, Viscountess Lascelles. An entire town turned out for the occasion. Together, penny by penny, brick by brick the people of Watford and beyond raised an incredible £90,000 to build the hospital as a Memorial to Peace and to honour those who had died in the First World War.
Over the past nine decades, this iconic landmark in Watford, that is now known as Peace Hospice Care, has found its place in the hearts of the entire town. Held within its walls, grounds and pillars are a whole host of memories that are currently being collected and archived as part of a Heritage Lottery project.
Audio interviews with former patients, nurses , staff and their families are being recorded. Precious memories are being gathered, and historic photos are being sourced on a journey of remarkable reminiscence that will be shared with the community and used in 2016 celebration events.
The history of the Peace Memorial Hospital will be part of the archived project that will bring the past in line with the future to mark the incredible commitment made by a community that began more than 90 years ago.
“In the 1920’s the average wage of a factory worker was £2 per week and unemployment was high,’ said John Arcus (Peace Hospice Care Reminiscence Officer) ‘Yet despite poverty, in every corner of Watford, in workplaces, clubs, schools, churches , shops and societies, the people of the town, contributed towards the hospital appeal. We hope some of those people and their families come forward to share their memories of the Peace Memorial Hospital. We are also gathering memories of those involved with the campaign to raise funds to re-open the Memorial Hospital as a hospice. This campaign was driven by local people who were passionate and committed.”
Following the Hospital closure in 1985, and the appeal in the 1990s that raised £4million, the old Peace Memorial Hospital continues to serve the community as a Hospice.
‘We have such remarkable history to look back on and a strong future ahead offering services to the people of South West Herts,’ said Peace Hospice Care Head of Communications and Marketing, Jon Michael.
‘Our services continue due to the determination and contribution of so many people who help to raise the £4.2 million needed every year. This community commitment ensures we can provide services to those with a life limiting illness in South West Herts. This is a remarkable achievement that mirrors the strength of the community who 90 years ago raised £90,000 to build the Peace Memorial Hospital.’
‘We will be celebrating the past and the present in 2016 and we are proud that our Hospice remains a significant part of the community serving the people of South West Herts. We respect, value and thank all those who have been part of its history, fundraising and services.’
If you have a memory to share of Peace Hospice Memorial Hospital please contact Peace Hospice Care Reminiscence Service Coordinator, John Arcus on 01923 330330 or firstname.lastname@example.org