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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Northampton/Duston War Hospital 1917


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Any information on this facility would be appreciated.

I googled it and came up with a current facility that looks quite modern but no history on the web site.

Ultimately I hope to trace the path of a wounded soldier and hope to learn about the WWI operations of the hospital and possibly if any patient records are searchable anywhere.

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It was in the former Berrywood Asylum in Duston, which though still a village is now a suburb on the western side of Northampton. I have seen some wage books from the time, and a fellow member of our local history group interviewed his neighbour in Duston (sadly they have both passed on) who did voluntary work there before enlisting.

Photos are available in a number of local publications, particularly the first book mentioned here.

As for patient records, I'd be interested to see some myself. You could ring Northamptonshire Records Office, or ring the hospital and ask about their archives.

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  • 4 months later...

I was able to contact this hospital, which informs me that they are now called 'St. Crispins Hospital'.

As to military records - they say all miltary hospital records are at Kew and they don't have any. It seems I'm taking forever to do this -- but my 'research war' seems to have too many 'fronts'.

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  • 10 years later...

A local historian called Sandra Bemrose researched the history of Berry Wood Asylum, Northampton War Hospital and St Crispins Hospital - all the same premises, and wrote a book on it. Following local publicity, she was contacted by the nephew of one of the nurses who worked there before and after the war, and who nursed soldiers when it was the War Hospital: Dora "Dolly" Derham. She had an autograph book in which about fifty sick or wounded soldiers from across the Empire wrote or drew.

A Daily Telegraph article from about 3 years ago tells the story, see link below.

For the last few weeks I have been assisting Sandra to trace families of those soldiers and have already been in contact with families in Canada and Australia as well as the UK. It is hoped to conclude the research in the next couple of months and then make all the material freely available on line, sharing it with relevant websites, fora such as this, museums etc. Sadly the nurse's nephew died a year ago and the fate of his aun'ts book is unknown, but fortunately we have Sandra's copies to tell the story.

Incidentally I have found the Australian Government Archives very easy to search and giving remarkable free access to soldiers' records - even front and rear copies of a label that accompanied one wounded man from Boulogne to Northampton.



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  • 1 month later...
  • 6 years later...

Researching Driver 651672 James Hancox - 252nd Brigade Royal Field Artillery who died of appendicitis at Duston Military Hospital. I used to live in Duston and often walked or ran through the grounds - sometimes attracting the attention of the less fortunate who were were housed in what is now called St. Crispins, I think that the mental health section there is now closed.

The Daily Telegraph link is broken the one directly above this is working.


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