National Lottery support for Pegleg Productions to mark First World War Centenary at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, Stanmore, Middlesex.
Pegleg Productions has received a grant of £9,900 from The National Lottery Heritage Fund for Searching for the Grey Lady: A Ghost from WW1 at the RNOH.
Thanks to funding made possible by National Lottery players, Pegleg Productions will work with RNOH staff, clinicians, orthotic and prosthetic users, volunteers, and the wider RNOH community, to explore the founding and evolution of this world-renowned orthopaedic hospital.
The RNOH recently completed the building of a new hospital. As another chapter in their long history begins, this project focuses on the RNOH’s First World War heritage, which began with the hospital’s ghost known as the ‘Grey Lady’. She is believed to be Mary Wardell, who in 1883 purchased the Stanmore site for a scarlet fever isolation hospital, and subsequently managed its evolution into a First World War auxiliary military convalescent hospital. By July 1915 it had 56 beds for sick and wounded servicemen and was known variously as the Wardell Auxiliary Hospital or the Wardell Military Hospital.
Pegleg Productions will enable participants’ access to archives relating to Mary Wardell's First World War Auxiliary and Military hospitals on the Stanmore site, with training for participants to research and document archives, including surviving First World War era traces and objects. ‘Gray Lady’ ghosts are often associated with military hospitals and searching for Mary Wardell will reveal many fascinating narratives of First World War at the RNOH.
Participants will be invited to document their explorations to represent their personal responses and to share their findings through social media and networks. Talks by historians, performances, events, and final presentations and film at the RNOH, will celebrate and share this important RNOH history with the wider public.
Commenting on the award, Pegleg Productions’ project lead Nicola Lane said:
“We are thrilled to receive this support, which thanks to National Lottery players will enable us to reveal and share the RNOH’s First World War legacy of rehabilitation and renewal from the perspective of people whose lives continue to be shaped by that heritage.”
Gateways' Community Heritage Researcher Dr Sam Carroll worked with Pegleg Production's Nicola Lane to help develop this project, and our academic team, which includes Dr Julie Anderson (University of Kent), Dr Jessica Meyer (University of Leeds) and Professor Alison Fell (University of Leeds), are providing ongoing research support including a visit and talk from one of them. Project participants also attended our “Accessing Archives” event at Hampshire Archives and our “Creating exhibitions and hosting heritage events” workshop at the IHR in London.