Thackray Medical Museum exhibition celebrations NHS in Leeds

Artists Jelena Zindovic (left) and Jane Moorland with  an appliqued chair and  hospital screen which showcases peoples stories of the NHS part of a new ecxhibition at the Thackray Medfical Museum in Leeds.
Artists Jelena Zindovic (left) and Jane Moorland with an appliqued chair and hospital screen which showcases peoples stories of the NHS part of a new ecxhibition at the Thackray Medfical Museum in Leeds.

A new exhibition is under way at the Thackray Medical Museum in Leeds to celebrate 70 years of the NHS.

Space2 has been working with volunteers since last year to collect personal stories of life and health both before and after the establishment of the NHS in 1948, and the work has been created by artists Jelena Zindovic and Jane Moorland.

Organised as part of a year-long project called Many Happy Returns, working with communities from the east and north east of the city, the display supported through the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) brings together people’s stories and photographs until April 15.

Project worker Ms Morland, said: “We’ve been talking to local people about their memories of the NHS – whether they were a doctor, a nurse, a porter or a patient, most people have memories going back to the early years of their life.

“From these memories we have created two pieces of artwork – a series of doctor’s screens which are printed with photographs and quotes, and a fabulous appliquéd chair which incorporates people’s stories.”

The exhibition will also include medical memorabilia provided by the Thackray Medical Museum and it will go on tour to Chapeltown Library from April 18 to May 6 and The Old Fire Station, Gipton from May 16 to June 3.

The final exhibition at Leeds Central Library from June 13 to July 5 will also include a book documenting 12 of the stories collected, with photographs of the contributors, and three banners, crafted in traditional Trade Union style.

At the end of the project a digital version of the book along with other aspects of the project will be shared through a page on the People’s History of the NHS gallery, hosted by University of Warwick.

Very few real life stories have been documented regarding the social impact of the NHS, despite 93% of the national population signing up as patients within two months of the organisation being established.