Museum marks 10 years since Frenchay Hospital closure

FRENCHAY Village Museum is planning to mark the 10th anniversary of the closure of Frenchay Hospital with a new permanent exhibition.

A team of volunteers is currently working to revamp a room dedicated to the hospital at the museum, which is due to reopen on February 3 after its annual winter shutdown.

After Easter a temporary exhibition devoted to people’s memories of Frenchay Hospital will open and run through the summer, with former members of staff, patients and visitors invited to drop in to the museum and leave a written or recorded account.

The museum stands next to one of the former hospital entrances at Begbrook Park.

Its volunteers are also lobbying for a blue plaque to be fixed on West Lodge, the main gatehouse of Frenchay Park House, where the hospital started.

Museum chair Hugh Watley said: “Amazingly, after ten years since the closure of Frenchay Hospital, there is still no permanent memorial to some 90 years of important national and international medical work.”

Another proposal, which would need to find funding, is to build some ‘memorial gates’ to replace ones which used to stand near the museum, at the western end of Lime Tree Avenue.

The originals were removed during the war when the entrance was widened.

The hospital closed at the end of May 2014, with the A&E transferring to Southmead earlier that month.

During the Spring Bank Holiday in May this year a summer picnic will be held on the new village green and nature reserve, 22 acres of former hospital grounds which have been handed over to Winterbourne Parish Council by North Bristol NHS Trust as green open space, following more than 10 years of campaigning by the Frenchay Residents Association and others.

The museum also plans to mark the 80th anniversary of the 1944 D-Day landings in June, using some former hospital records and notes on American soldiers who were brought back from northern France to receive treatment in the hospital to make contact with any surviving veterans, their families or descendants.

Anyone who would like to volunteer at the museum should call or text Hugh on 0777 552 2689.