Sandwell staff mark 70th anniversary with iconic photo re-enactment

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The original photograph of “Matron Ashworth and Assistant Matron Harding with sisters” was taken at Sandwell Hospital’s headquarters in West Bromwich in 1927, when it was known as Hallam Hospital – and was most recently found in a broom cupboard.

Fast forward 91 years and the health service is a very different place.

Sandwell Hospital released the photographs to mark the 70th birthday of the NHS.  Even though the old picture was taken 19 years before the NHS was established, it still captures the beginnings of what went onto become one of the most valued health care systems in the world.

The picture, unearthed by two employees at Sandwell Hospital, is part of a precious haul of snaps dating between 1927 and 1966.

The re-enactment, taken in the exact same spot, shows a more multi-cultural and modern NHS.

Avnash Nanra, Ward Manager for Paediatric/Adolescent Assessment Unit at Sandwell and West Birmingham Trust said: “The old picture is truly amazing and shows a completely different side to the health care service. 

“You can clearly see how things have changed over the years. I was privileged to be part of this project and I hope that the re-enactment will be looked at in years to come.”

Electronic Patient Records Systems Trainer, Sue Woodcock, who was given the pictures by two ward service officers, explained: “I was chatting to them about history, and they told me about how they had found these old pictures in one of the broom cupboards in Arden House.

“When I heard that there was going to be a huge celebration to for NHS70, I thought these pictures would be perfect.”

The pictures were on show at Sandwell Hospital on July 5, during a tea party to mark the 70th birthday of the NHS.

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Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust wants to hear from you to find out more about the nurses of 1927. Contact