A History of Queen Mary's
A digital edition of Brenda Weedon’s 1996 book
In 1996 the Richmond Twickenham and Roehampton Healthcare NHS Trust published “A History of Queen Mary’s University Hospital Roehampton” by Brenda Weedon (and others). What came to be known at Roehampton as “The Blue Book” has been the authoritative text on the history of the hospital ever since, exploring stories from the foundation of a hospital for the rehabilitation of amputees returning from the First World War to the opening of the Stephen Kirby Skin Bank and the Hand Management Unit in 1996.
In 2021 the Friends of Queen Mary’s had the idea to put the Blue Book online, but the original digital files for the book had long since disappeared. Thanks to funding by the Friends, one of the few remaining copies of the printed document has been digitised and the document has been re-created digitally, available here for readers around the world.
Please note that as well as browsing the chapters and appendices on this website, A History of Queen Mary’s can also be downloaded here as a PDF file here (6Mb).
For stories of the hospital after 1996 see the Care, Kit & Courage section of this website using the main navigation.
Sir Austin W Bunch CBE
I welcome the publication of this history of “Roehampton”, and congratulate the editor and authors on their research and hard work over many years to achieve this result. Queen Mary’s Roehampton and the Limb Centre have played a central part in the lives of a great many people particularly the amputees and Far East Prisoners of War.
It has been a part of my life for over 50 years. I first visited the site as an amputee in 1944 and until I retired from the Trustees in 1989 I seemed to be always there, as an amputee visitor for BLESMA, a guinea pig in the Research Centre before and after BRADU was built, then as a Governor and member of Lord Nathan’s first House Committee, followed by service as a Trustee for 25 years, finally as Chairman of that body. Somewhere along the line the Governors were no more, but I came back as a member of the Richmond Twickenham and Roehampton District Health Authority.
After all this time I could not give dates and details of the happenings recorded hereafter, but my memories are of people and highlights of special occurrences, many of them quite dramatic, but in the main they concern dedication and endeavour by public spirited individuals seeking to serve the disabled and disadvantaged.
This history is not about these characters, although it pays tribute to their work, and since John Williams M.B.E., that quiet “man of Roehampton”, Clerk to the Trustees for over 40 years, died last year I know of no-one qualified to write it. Such a history in any case would be a subjective story interesting no doubt to the players still alive but not to those who want the facts and the truth. Suffice it to say that they made “Roehampton” what it is today, and we should thank them for it.
Helen Alper, Editor
The editor gratefully acknowledges the generous donation from Queen Mary’s Roehampton Trust in support of the production of this book.
The editor would like to thank Harold Payne for his help and encouragement; Sir Austin Bunch for his foreword; Christopher Flind, Chairman of RTR Healthcare NHS Trust and Jamie Sharpley, Director of Operations, for their support and help in getting this history produced.
The Royal Commission of Historic Monuments of England, The Greater London Record Office and English Heritage have been most helpful in providing information. Tony Shepherd, Local History Librarian, helped in checking information about the history of Roehampton House. Additional information in this publication has been obtained from the unpublished works of E.S. Gower, Victoria Williams and Dr. Ian Fletcher.
In RTR Healthcare NHS Trust there have been many people who have contributed to this history, especially Sandra McClelland, Veronica Joseph, Vicky Searle, Penny Buttenshaw, and Dr Robin Redhead
I must thank particularly Pat East, Librarian at Tolworth Hospital, for her help in editing and proof reading this document.
I am conscious that this history does not contain many of the anecdotes or descriptions of characters which bring a place “to life”.
Although this publication has now gone to press the Library at Queen Mary’s will continue to collect information on the history of the Hospital. I would, therefore, be pleased to receive any information, photo, or anecdotes concerning the Hospital which could be added to our collection.
The Library has a collection of photos, not all of which are in this book, and copies of some of the source documents used in this history. These are available for reference purposes during normal Library opening hours.