St Christopher’s Oral History Project

St Christopher’s Oral History Exhibition

Taking place in St Christopher’s CARE Atrium, May to September 2022

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This ground-breaking multimedia exhibition, a celebration of St Christopher’s through time, is an unmissable event for anyone with an interest in the birth and development of the modern hospice and palliative care movement. – where it has come from, how palliative care has developed over time and St Christopher’s role in that development, to where it is today.

The St Christopher’s Oral History Exhibition will tell the story of the hospice through the voices of the many different people who helped shape its history from its creation under founder Dame Cicely Saunders in 1967 right up to the present day.

As an oral history exhibition this means the focus will be on audio extracts from the more than 50 interviews that have been conducted with doctors, nurses, volunteers and members of the community, including family members, from south London to the southern states of the USA.

Visitors will be able to access the stories in a number of different ways. Directional speakers will be used to tell individuals’ stories in specific parts of the St Christopher’s CARE atrium to create a natural flow. In the library spaces that play longer excerpts, ports will be available so visitors can use their own headphones.  For those looking to delve deeper, full transcripts of all the interviews will be available in the library where they will be able to play the full length interviews.

The St Christopher’s Story

The exhibition will look to tell the full St Christopher’s story, from periods of immense sadness in people’s lives through to moments of humour and joy in response to receiving great care. It will also include the medical perspective, relating to advances in palliative and end of life care and St Christopher’s role in advancing care and humanity.

Many of the interviews have been conducted by a team of trained volunteers. Doctors, nurses, volunteers and family members are among those to contribute to the rich story. These include pioneering clinicians who spent time at St Christopher’s before taking what they learned here and adapted and shaped it to extend palliative and end of life care provision in their corner of the world.

For a sneak peek of the content that will be on display and an insight into life on the ward at St Christopher’s in 1967, watch below Rosemary Burch, goddaughter of Dame Cicely describe her time as one of the first summer volunteers, where she encountered a very special patient.

We’ll be continuing to add to the archive of interviews up to, until and throughout the duration of the exhibition. So, if you would like to contribute by suggesting a name or putting yourself forward, please do so by contacting us on the following email address:

Register your interest

Please register your interest in attending the Oral History Exhibition.

This project has been made possible by the generous support of the National Lottery Heritage Fund.