Deeds Not Words: Endell St Military Hospital immersive event

Swiss Church, Endell Street, Covent Garden

Picture of Deeds Not Words: Endell St Military Hospital immersive event

When:Event passed!
It was on
Fri 7th Jul 2017 to
Sat 8th Jul 2017

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Where:Swiss Church, Endell Street, Covent Garden WC2H 9DY
Map:Map & Nearby
Times:Fri 7 July start at 6pm then hourly Sat 8 July from 2pm then hourly
Admission:£10 adults, £5 children

About the event

The first British Army hospital run entirely by women is ‘reopening’ this summer.

The Endell Street Military Hospital opened in May 1915 on the grounds of what is now Dudley Court in Covent Garden. Consisting of 573 beds and 180 female staff members, it was run by two surgeons, Dr Flora Murray and Dr Louisa Garrett Anderson. Both women were former members of the militant suffrage campaigning organisation Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU).

Deeds Not Words: Endell St Military Hospital, taking place on 7 and 8 July, is an immersive dramatic performance that will allow visitors to step back in time and into the Hospital’s wards and operating theatres. As well as meeting key hospital figures and hearing the stories of patients who were treated there, visitors will experience ‘first-hand’ the tensions that existed between the surgeons and authorities before and during the controversial hospital’s four and a half year life.

The event forms part of the wider ‘Deeds Not Words’ project funded by a £73,900 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and led by media production company Digital Drama. In partnership with the Women’s Library at LSE, the project aims to commemorate the doctors, surgeons, nurses and orderlies who worked at the Hospital.

Murray and Garrett Anderson faced numerous challenges in running Endell Street, including the Royal Army Medical Corps’ reluctance to sanction a military hospital run by women and very inexperienced staff. Having managed small hospitals in France, both women had significant clinical experience but many of their co-doctors had only just graduated.

However the hospital was a success, treating over 26,000 patients and performing 7,000 operations, providing quality care to soldiers, as well as those infected with the devastating Spanish flu. In 1917, Murray and Anderson each received the CBE for their work in the hospital, but in October 1919 Endell Street was ordered to close, its doors shutting a few months later.

Alison Ramsey from Digital Drama, said: “Life at the hospital was incredibly challenging. Endell Street was near main railway stations which meant the Hospital received a high proportion of severely injured soldiers - when convoys arrived at the hospital, carrying up to 80 men at a time, there could be as many as 30 needing immediate surgery.

“Visitors to this immersive ‘promenade’ event will get a fascinating glimpse into the relentless work of the women who ran the Hospital and the struggles they faced, and not only from the enormous number of casualties. They will explore different areas of the hospital and come face to face with patients and hospital staff, perhaps even Murray or Garrett Anderson. With the War Office also in attendance, visitors could find themselves playing a role in the story too…”

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