Help tell our Ellen Badger Hospital story
The Ellen Badger Hospital has been an important and cherished part of our community for over 130 years. This is why it was chosen as the next exhibition for our Shipston Museum to tell its story by recognising and celebrating its past – a move welcomed by its League of Friends who have always taken such an interest in its past and future.
As Rebecca Ashley explains: ‘Undergoing such huge changes, its past life needs to be documented – it was always a landmark on entering the town.’ Rebecca and her mother Jo Ashley are on the team researching and designing the display for the Museum opening next Easter.
Stephen Hartley has also been digging deep into old Stratford Herald newspapers to find that the idea for a Shipston Cottage Hospital began in the 1890s when the local people collected money for it to be built– so it was truly a community effort. A later large endowment from Richard Badger was recognised by naming the hospital, opened in 1896, in loving memory of his wife Ellen.
Since then, many local people have entered and left the world there – and been treated for a variety of ailments. And we must not forget that in its early days there was no NHS, so its foundation saved many lives. The building itself has now gone but many artifacts have been preserved, for example the portraits and stone badgers which are being restored.
Curating an exhibition like this can be a challenge: among all the documentation and archives, what to choose for a display to tell the story? It’s a huge task. Asked how long the last Shipston Museum exhibition on public houses took to develop, Martin Russell pauses to work this out: ‘Most of the time in the basic research – a couple of months – then a few weeks on the photograph/display.’
So there is quite a task for the hospital exhibition team in the months ahead. And they are asking for your help. It is the people who knew and loved the Ellen Badger who can help tell its story in human terms. If you have any memories to share – tales or pictures, the team wants to hear from you: did you or relatives work there? Did the Badger care for you or family? One special occasion was when Diana Princess of Wales opened a new wing in 1982 – a while ago now, but there may be memories of that historic moment.