Trip to National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery (UCLH)

On the 9th August 2018, we visited The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery at University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

We met librarian Sarah Lawson who gave us a brief history of the hospital and told us more about the fascinating patient records.

We felt privileged to be able to look through the original volumes from WW1, containing the doctor’s handwritten notes on patient’s history, diagnosis, treatment and progress of various brain injuries.

During the War, more than 1,000 service personnel were admitted to the hospital, with hysteria, neurasthenia and shell shock being the most commonly treatment conditions.

“It’s amazing to think we’re holding documents that are 100 years old” Stephen, Research Group member

Whereas the records at The National Archive’s had been sourced for us beforehand, we had to search for local Cambridgeshire soldier’s in these patient files as they were simply arranged alphabetically by name. We found 3 men from Cambridgeshire who had sustained a brain injury and been treated at the neurology hospital at Queen Square, London, all for gunshot wounds to the head. This absorbing research will all feed into our development of the project outcomes: the performance, film, podcast and posters.

The Hospital Brain Injury Co-ordinator became someone who absolutely understood how I felt, I didn’t need to explain. I could talk about my fears and worries. She was such a great support through the difficult days, but could also celebrate the small step successes, which was important to me.