This year Chertsey Museum will begin capturing the history of St Peter’s Hospital through a selection of personal accounts from staff past and present, volunteers, patients, and the wider community.
The project is funded by the Association of Independent Museums following a successful grant application for £14,950 to their New Stories New Audiences grant, funded by National Lottery Heritage Fund. The aim of the grant scheme is to build and strengthen connections between local organisations.
Working with the Healing Arts programme at Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, the testimonies captured will be used to create an archive of oral histories and short film which will become part of the museum’s collection and showcased at an exhibition in 2025.
This project tells the story of St Peter’s Hospital from the founding of the NHS in 1948 to the present day from the perspective of those living and working in the area. The exhibition will tell the story through the eyes of the staff, patients and wider community and will feature historical photos and personal mementos, along with art created by patients and staff. A selection of the artwork will also feature in St Peter’s Hospital.
On top of the exhibition a series of creative art boxes will be made available to share with people who are unable to visit the museum, or who are in hospital.
Cllr Chris Howorth, Chair of the Council’s Community Services Committee, which oversees the museum, said:
St Peter’s Hospital represents a significant part of our local community, from a small hospital treating World War II casualties in the 1940s up to the state of the art hospital it is today.
Being awarded this grant will enable the museum to bring the history of the hospital to life and create a lasting fascinating piece of social history. This project will include everyone from retired nurses to current long term in-patients, as well as draw a new generation into learning more about local history.
Ellen Bull, Interim Chief Nurse and Executive Lead for the Healing Arts at Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said:
We’re excited to be working with Chertsey Museum on this collaborative project which will give valuable and varied insight into our hospital’s history for our current and future local population.
Since the new St Peter’s Hospital came into existence in 1947, and the formation of the NHS the following year, the Hospital has been through significant changes to make it the site that it is today. We look forward to learning more about its journey from the individuals who helped shape it.
If you’re interested in taking part in the project, please contact Heidi Dawley, Curatorial Assistant, at Chertsey Museum, by emailing
Pictured above: A corner of the Waiting Hall, Outpatients Department, St Peter's Hospital
Article reproduced with permission from Runnymede Borough Council.