Explore our exhibition

A warm welcome to our Oral History Exhibition. Our exhibition tells the story of St Christopher’s Hospice using interviews with many of the people who have shaped our history.

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Hospice has given people permission to talk about dying, but even more to process it in different ways.

 David Praill, Former Chief Executive, Hospice UK 

About the exhibition

We conducted interviews with staff, volunteers, community members and patients, as well as professionals from beyond St Christopher’s who have been inspired by our pioneering work.

Together the recordings make up a spoken, or oral, history of St Christopher’s based on individual people’s memories and experiences.

Founded in 1967, we were the first hospice to combine traditional compassionate care for dying people and those close to them with ground-breaking research and education.

Today St Christopher’s is internationally recognised as the first ‘modern hospice’.

Over the years, the work of St Christopher’s has been influential in reducing suffering for dying people around the world.

This exhibition brings together some of the highlights from our Oral History Project, allowing us to explore St Christopher’s role as a hospice from 1967 to 2022 and into the future.

When I joined it – I can actually remember this so well – I was sitting on the second floor of the Education Centre, in my office, I’d only been there about two days. I had no stationery, no pens and I said to somebody, ‘I need to get a pad’ and they said you have put a request in on paper – it was all very behind the times. And then you adapt don’t you, to St Christopher’s ways….And 24 years down the line I’m still here. I still enjoy coming into work everyday…I think that St Christopher’s has been brought into the 21st century. 

 

Rae Keeley, Front of House & Housekeeping Manager, St Christopher’s Hospice 

 

 I think the way that we understand our history will constantly evolve and change. So, what we have today in creating this archive gives us a snapshot of who we are now. And maybe in ten or twenty or even fifty years’ time, someone might come and look at the archive and have a very different narrative that is reflecting where they are in fifty years’ time… But I think there is something about capturing this story while the majority of the people who are able to remember the first years as much as today are still able to tell us their experiences and their stories.

 Rev. Dr Andrew Goodhead, St Christopher’s Lead for Bereavement & Spiritual Care 

Listening to the past

The St Christopher’s Oral History Project began in 2020 and since then has recorded over 70 interviews with people connected with the history and development of the hospice.

The Project has only been possible due to the contributions of many people.

We are very grateful to everybody who agreed to be interviewed and to share their memories; to all our volunteers who gave their time and energy to the project; to the Steering Committee; to the National Lottery Heritage Fund for giving us a grant; and to the players of the National Lottery.

The full recordings from this exhibition will be available for research at St Christopher’s CARE and at King’s College London Archives.

Interviewees

Aida Shoush, Alison Landon, Alison Samuel, Andrew Goodhead, Angela Lafferty, Anna Butt, Anne Conway, Anne Nash, Annette Douglas, Avril Jackson, Barbara Richardson, Bella D’Souza, Betty O’Gorman, Bill Punyer, Christopher Saunders, Colin Murray Parkes, Barbara Monroe, David Oliver, David Praill, Deborah Holman, Deborah Worwood, Dion Bachmann, Eduardo Bruera, Elizabeth Kwesiga, Emma Hall, Fiona Towse, Georgina Lavelle, Gill Early, Gillian Bahari, Gillian Ford, Heather Richardson, Helen Thomas, Helena Talbot-Rice, Ian McColl, Ian Penistone, Irene Higginson, Isabel Galriça Neto, Jan Noble, Jan Stone, Jane Murphy, Jenny Taylor, Jo Hockley, Julia Foguel, Julie O’Neill, Laura Bechelet, Liz Bryan, Lorna Malcolm, Louis Heyse Moore, Malcolm Payne, Maria Downer, Mary Baines, Mavis Bird, Min Stacpoole, Nigel Dodds, Nigel Hartley, Nigel Sykes, Deborah Holman, Patricia Trembath, Penny Hansford, Peter Heyward, Philip Harris, Philippa Kelham, Pia-Kristina Svenhard, Rae Keeley, Reg Van Selm, Robert Twycross, Rosemary Burch, Rosemary Needham, Ruth Saunders, Sally Scott-Ralphs, Shaun O’Leary, Sue Gilder, Sue Grindlay, Valerie Rowe and anonymous interviewees.

Volunteers

Aileen Kelly, Bella D’Souza, Catherine Pestano, Christine D’Mello, Graham Earl, Helen Stocker, Ian Jones, Jane Murphy, Judy Banfield-Chandler, Laura Clouting, Lynda Stimson, Rebecca Fogg, Rose Remedios and Sandra Davey. 

Photographs

Derek Bayes, Brian Harris and Rachel Manns. 

This exhibition was made possible through funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund

The development of the Anniversary Centre particularly, I suppose, was an attempt to first of all put a bomb under hospice day-care which was so stuck and very ineffective in terms of how many people it supported and in what way they were supported. There was a real belief that people needed to come on their terms. So, it wasn’t saying ‘well you can only come if we can pick you up’ – transport was always big issue – or ‘you can only come, but you can’t bring your husband with you or you can’t bring your friend or you can’t bring your dog’. I remember one woman came in she brought her hares in. So, it was making anything possible.

 

Nigel Hartley, Former Director of Supportive Care, St Christopher’s Hospice  

 

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Founded in 1967, St Christopher’s is now internationally recognised as the first ‘modern hospice'. This is our story.

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