December 10, 2011, by Fraser

10 December: Christmas in hospital

This photograph was taken on Christmas Day 1917 in a hospital ward in Nottingham. Although spending Christmas in hospital is never going to be fun, this black and white snap shows that hospital staff tried to make the day as cheery as possible.

Christmas is usually a time for celebration but some people – as this photograph shows – have to spend the festive period in hospital.

We caught up with Kev Castle, DJ for Nottingham Hospitals Radio, to ask him what Christmas is like for those patients and their families, and why he volunteers his time:

If you can’t see the audio player, try this alternative location or view on iTunes U.

Medical care has been provided by many different institutions since the General Hospital was established in Nottingham by public subscription in 1782.  This photograph was a private gift from the relative of a nurse working at The Children’s Hospital in 1917. Such photographs provide an important part of the University’s healthcare records.

All of the items featured in our e-Advent calendar are from the University’s historic library holdings, held in Manuscripts and Special Collections. For more information on the wide range of materials available, take a look at their website and blog or contact the curators on

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Posted in Christmas contextHistory