Northumberland Healthcare

Healthcare Project

Aim of the project.

This project will look at healthcare in Northumberland prior to the establishment of the NHS in 1948. It will have two main strands:

  1. An oral history project, interviewing Northumberland residents who recall receiving healthcare or recall their parents speaking about receiving healthcare prior to 1948.
  • A study of maternity care in Northumberland focussing on Castle Hills Maternity Home in Berwick, Mona Taylor Maternity Home in Stannington and Ashington Hospital in south-east Northumberland. These Maternity Homes opened in the 1940’s and were set up and originally managed by Northumberland County Council. The research will investigate what maternity provision was like prior to their establishment. What led to their establishment? How were they funded and what was the experience of their patients and staff over the years?
New Mothers at Castle Hills 1945

What we will do.

Information will be sought from many sources from the early 1900s until the 1970s, including surviving minutes and other records from Northumberland County Council, the Mona Taylor Maternity Home, Berwick Maternity Hospital Services Committee, and records of the County Health Department.

We will also look at hospital records from Castle Hills Maternity Homes, the Mona Taylor Maternity Home, and records of maternity services out of Ashington Hospital,

Three oral history recordings are already held by Northumberland Archives that include reference to Mona Taylor Maternity Home. Within the project we aim to create at least thirty further recordings.

Ashington Hospital 1945

Expected outcomes.

We anticipate many useful outcomes from the work including the ability to –

  1. Run a programme of oral history interviews around both threads of the project. Recordings will be added to our oral history collections and unless access restrictions prevent this will be made available in our search rooms at Berwick and Woodhorn. Selected recordings will be presented as podcasts via our website. Recordings will be summarised, and summaries made available in our online catalogue and within our search rooms.
  • Add to our collections – by encouraging the physical or digital deposit of items relating to maternity care in Northumberland. Items might be borrowed from owners, digitised, and returned.
  • Develop curriculum-based schools’ education and lifelong learning activity, to be made available via our LEARN platform.
  • Develop an online exhibition showcasing maternity care in Northumberland and work with Bright Charity to develop a physical exhibition/exhibition to tour NHS venues.
  • Share content with the Bright Charity to inform their project researching the history of medicine in Northumberland.
  • Work with Newcastle University’s School of History, Classics & Archaeology to engage public history students to support our project by assisting with the transcription/summary of oral history recordings.
Castle Hills Maternity Home Opening 1945

Estimated budget required for the project.

The estimated budget for this work, which includes training, equipment, digitisation, management, and other costs is £10,655.

If you are interested in helping this particular project to proceed, then please click on the DONATE button to donate whatever sum you feel able to offer and enter “Healthcare” in the Reference field when making the donation, or e-mail

For further information about the project, contact

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