Time travelling in Salisbury

History lifts project

Jeanne Yates today alongside her photo on the history panel in the lift at Salisbury Hospital

ArtCare came up with a novel way to display the hospital's archives and created six time capsules in the patient lifts to help staff, patients and visitors travel back hundreds of years through their history! Topics were chosen based on feedback and the six lifts each have a distinct colour and theme - Nursing, Science and Innovation, Food, Children, Celebrations and History of Salisbury District Hospital.

One of the first visitors to see the new history lift interiors was Jeanne Yates (pictured above). Her story is featured in the science and technology designs. Jeanne was the Theatre Superintendent who oversaw the new pioneering four-theatre unit at Odstock Hospital in 1966. Fifty years on Jeanne recalls how surgery was transformed at Salisbury Hospital after World War II with the use of innovative and new technology. Read more about Jeanne’s story on our dedicated healthcare history website.

The patient lifts had not changed since first installed and were showing their age. They were being mechanically refurbished so this opportunity was used to create a more welcoming distraction during patient visits. The people using the lifts are often the most unwell, on beds, or children and families with buggies and the interior artwork needed to be colourful as well as an inspiring reflection of Salisbury’s healthcare through the ages.

The tired, shabby lifts are now transformed (above left and right) and have the added benefit of making part of Salisbury Hospital’s history collection accessible. Hardwearing materials were used to withstand constant daily use and to make cleaning easier. The panels will be fit for purpose and provide a welcome distraction for patients for years to come. You can read more about the custom printed CS Acrovyn panels used in the lifts here.

As one visitor commented, "I have had a look at the lifts and they are ALL wonderful, it was a great idea. I am sure there will be others that would like to view when they are next at the hospital. I find local History fascinating".

Lesley Meaker, ArtCare’s history project lead said, "The lifts were windowless spaces without character. Rather than having a dull journey we thought it would be more interesting to time travel - so we chose to link the lifts with plans for our history project. There has been a great deal of interest from staff and visitors in our historical archives and without traditional museum display cases we needed to get creative to share our collection."

ArtCare initially approached Salisbury Hospital League of Friends to support the design work. They agreed funding to research and develop the designs, which helped ArtCare secure a Heritage Lottery Fund award of £40k for developing the history archives further. This project has given ArtCare the opportunity to spend time on the detail and design so that the hospital environment is raised to higher standard and better reflects the professional and caring work being carried out every day.

Find out more about the healthcare history project

Heritage Lottery Fund logo