Whipps Cross Voices - bringing history to life - Barts Charity

Whipps Cross Voices – bringing history to life

Whipps Cross Voices celebrates the rich and diverse history of Whipps Cross Hospital since its opening in 1903.


  • Date: June 13, 2024

With Whipps Cross Hospital due to undergo a major redevelopment, precious moments in the hospital’s history have been captured and memorialised, that may otherwise have been lost to the annals of time. 

With £17,600 of Barts Charity funding, the Barts Health NHS Trust Archives team have created Whipps Cross Voices – a community heritage project designed to help connect staff and patients, past and present, to the rich cultural history of the hospital.

At the heart of local community

Over the course of the project, volunteers have digitised and catalogued over 500 pieces of surviving material and stories, including oral histories and historical graffiti. New collections have also been added to the archives, helping to fill in gaps in the documented history of the hospital.  

Whipps Cross Infirmary in the 1920's

Feedback from participants has been amazing, with many noting that taking part has highlighted the stable and enduring presence of the hospital within the local community. One patient even commented “I felt I was back at Whipps Cross in my formative years.” 

With the project proving a success, many staff members including current and former nurses, clinicians and catering staff gave recorded interviews of their memories of the hospital, which is also safely stored within the archive.  

Group photograph of nurses and students from the Whipps Cross Hospital Preliminary Training School, April-June 1947

Capturing a moment in time

Throughout the hospital’s history, graffiti left by patients provides a fascinating snapshot in time, with some dating back to over 100 years ago. During their stay, wartime patients often marked their regiment, service number and the nature of their injury onto the brick walls. Full visual records have now been captured, preserving this rare piece of social history before redevelopment work begins. This is considered to be the first digitisation of its kind.  

A patient marks their name, year and reason for hospital stay on the walls of Whipps Cross Hospital

With Whipps Cross Hospital being a pillar of the local community, this project has helped staff, patients and locals connect to it’s cultural heritage and has also filled in the gaps of its documented history.

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