Christmas at St Christopher’s Hospice was a special and poignant time of year for patients, their families and staff at the hospice. The hospice aimed to make the time as homely as possible, organising festivities, Christmas dinner and an annual Christmas Eve carol concert. In 1971, the American Journal of Nursing featured Christmas at the hospice in their article, ‘Christmas at St Christopher’s’, in their December 1971 edition.
The article was commissioned the previous year by the editor, Mrs J M Storr, based on a set of photographs that St Christopher’s Hospice photographer, Derek Bayes, produced in December 1970. The photographs showed images of patients experiencing Christmas on the ward; children from the St Christopher’s Hospice playgroup in Nativity dress visiting patients; carol concerts and Christmas pudding preparation in the hospice kitchen.
The article incorporated some of the images of the photoshoot and a watercolour image of two children running to a Christmas tree designed by a St Christopher’s Hospice patient and quotes from staff and patients as to what the atmosphere was like in the hospice at Christmas. It was followed by an article on St Christopher’s Hospice outpatient service by Barbara McNulty, sister in charge of the outpatient clinic, which began in 1969 and provided one of the first home care services within the United Kingdom.
I would personally like to thank all the people who have helped me during the past year especially the staff of St Christopher’s Hospice. I’m pleased to say that the cataloguing project has been extended until the end of January 2016 to allow the completion of the online catalogue, repackaging of the collection and further promote this fascinating collection. I wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy 2016.