FHSC Historical Society

The University’s Faculty of Health and Social Care (FHSC) Historical Society aims to unite individuals with an interest in medicine, nursing, midwifery and social work across the University and the wider community. The Society meets regularly for a range of talks and discussion and anyone with an interest in health and social care or social history is welcome to attend.

2015 Programme (details on talks will be posted as they are confirmed):

Details of other speakers and museum opening dates will be posted here as soon as they have been confirmed. We also welcome those who are interested in becoming a volunteer and please contact Roger Whiteley.

* These dates may be subject to change and please check this site for updates. There is no car parking available at the Riverside Campus (formerly County Hall) and access to the lecture rooms is through the main entrance, opposite the River Dee. The address is: University of Chester, Riverside Campus, Castle Drive, Chester CH1 1SL.

Message to all volunteers, speakers, supporters and visitors 

The commemoration of the centenary since the outbreak of the First World War has given us an ideal opportunity to incorporate some of Dr Campbell’s collection from his Tarporley practice into a temporary exhibition - The First World War: Returning Home which gives an insight into what an invalided soldier would have faced on his return home to Cheshire. This is running for the entire four-year period and it is hoped that the exhibition will continue to evolve as visitors and volunteers add their own knowledge about the period, together with objects and memories from family members. Thank you to everyone who has given their time, expertise, donations and loans to the exhibition and it would not have been possible without such a huge team effort across the community.

The exhibition preview event took place in September and the packed audience experienced Theatre in the Quarter’s ‘Over by Christmas’ production which was performed at railway stations across Cheshire, and at Manchester Piccadilly and St Pancras stations. This fantastic spectacle was the perfect way to set the scene for visitors to explore both the permanent and temporary museum rooms and thank you to Matt Baker and Theatre in the Quarter for fitting us into their busy schedule of events.

Around 500 people visited the Riverside Museum in 2014 on a mixture of booked group visits, University Open Days, students on relevant courses, regular public opening hours, the exhibition preview event and Heritage Open Days. We have now extended the visiting hours to include some Saturday mornings and any additional opening times will be posted on this page and in the events section of the University website: www.chester.ac.uk/events.

In conjunction with the First World War theme, we have welcomed some fascinating speakers who have helped us to understand the impact of the conflict on health and social care. On behalf of all the audience members, thank you to them all for taking the time out of their busy lives and travelling to Chester so that we could learn more. In April, Dick and Sara Appleton talked about their relative Edith Appleton’s diaries recounting her experiences of nursing close to the Front during the conflict.  In September 2015, Katie Taylor from Dunham Massey Hall talked about the transformation of Dunham Massey into the Stamford Military Hospital and the stories they uncovered. Our own Historical Society member Dr Claire Chatterton (from the Open University in the North West) spoke about the issues of ‘shell shock’ and discussed the medical and nursing care that men suffering from mental health problems received. In December, Professor Christine Hallett from the University of Manchester talked about the story of professional and volunteer nurses during the First World War and its contribution to the Allied cause on both the Western and Eastern Fronts.

The 2015 programme commenced in May to coincide with the 75th anniversary of VE Day with a talk by Dr Jane Brooks from the University of Manchester on 'What we had not got was nurses, doctors, beds, bedding... bedpans or any of the essentials of medical treatment: The importance of trained nurses in managing the liberated inmates of Bergen-Belsen, Spring 1945'. This was a very moving insight into what nurses faced following the liberation of Bergen-Belsen and how they coped in the face of such large numbers of patients with complex medical needs. Dr Stuart Wildman RGN, returned to the First World War theme in June with a talk on 'Nursing on the Home Front in the First World War' which gave the audience a real appreciation of how those opting to nurse returning soldiers played such a critical part in the war effort, despite being far from the battlefields on the continent.

All of this activity would not have been possible without the continued hard work and support from many within the University and across the wider community. We always welcome anyone who would like to come along to listen to specific talks, visit the Museum or get more involved with the FHSC Historical Society and the Riverside Museum in any way, so please contact Roger Whiteley (r.whiteley@chester.ac.uk if you would like find out more.


The FHSC Historical Society and the Riverside Museum

The FHSC Historical Society has also gathered a selection of curiosities from the world of medicine, nursing, midwifery and social work for display in the Riverside Museum at the University of Chester. The everyday and unusual objects from these fields of study and practice forms a permanent collection based at the Riverside Campus.

Society members Stan Murphy and Colin Jones brought the majority of the collection from the former Deva Hospital to its new home at the institution and have been the driving force behind the development of the collection since then, inspiring volunteers with their infectious dedication and enthusiasm. Dr Lisa Peters and Ian McKay from Learning and Information Systems, both librarians with expertise in museum development, have ensured that the collection was developed according to museum protocol and their support has been invaluable. They, and other volunteers, including Anne Naylor, Claire Chatterton, Professor Dorothy Marriss and Penny Davies were thanked by the University’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Tim Wheeler at a private launch for their efforts. The collection will also provide a forum for teaching and research and there are plans for themed exhibitions to take place. It is also continuing to grow and develop with generous donations from Chester and further afield.

The collection was originally set up in the University’s Westminster Building before being transferred to Riverside. Barbara Holliday, in the Faculty of Health and Social Care’s administration team, Professor Mike Thomas and Professor Elizabeth Mason Whitehead developed the Historical Society to bring together interested parties, originally from across the University, to become involved with the collection.

Professor Mason Whitehead said: "The Society would like to expand its membership to include the community and enable the collection to be used for research and learning. We will be looking to do this throughout the year as well as inviting guest speakers to our meetings. Particular thanks should go to Barbara for her hard work – she has been integral in enabling the collection to become established within the Faculty.

"We are interested in hearing from anyone who would like to get involved in the Society – not just those from a health background."

Dr Emma Rees, Senior Lecturer in the English Department who has been involved in the Historical Society since its inception, said: "The opening of the collection marks the culmination of years of hard work by Society members. The project has brought together individuals not only from different Faculties in the University but from the wider Chester community too."

One of the highlights of the collection is a letter penned by Florence Nightingale to a sister grieving for news of her brother missing in action in the Crimea. More than 150 years after it was written, the autographed, four-sided letter was recently purchased by the University.

Professor Tim Wheeler, Vice-Chancellor of the University said: "The project has been entirely reliant on the goodwill of donors, volunteers and those with an interest in the subject. I would like to thank everyone involved for the huge efforts involved."

Anyone interested in joining the Historical Society or for more information about the collection should contact Roger Whiteley: r.whiteley@chester.ac.uk, 01244 513169.

Some of the previous talks are available to view in the Society's online archive.