In August 2013 Northumberland Archives was awarded a Research Resources in Medical History Award of £77,717 from The Wellcome Trust to catalogue and part digitise records of Stannington Sanatorium, the first purpose-built children’s TB sanatorium in the United Kingdom. The sanatorium was established at Stannington, ten miles north of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, by The Poor Children’s Holiday Association (now Children North East) in 1907. It was able to achieve a very high success rate in prevention and cure of tuberculous in children by providing a combination of the latest medical equipment and techniques and providing patients with healthy food, fresh air and exercise. In 1947 the sanatorium formed part of the new National Health Service and continued to treat tuberculous patients until the mass availability of effective antibiotic therapies at which point the sanatorium began to be used as a general children’s hospital. Stannington Children’s Hospital closed in 1984.
In the same year 120 linear feet of records of the Sanatorium were deposited with Northumberland Archives. The bulk of these records are patient records but included in the deposit were c.15,000 radiographic plates for the period 1937-1952. We believe the radiographs to be unique and an important part of our project was to digitise these. The records have been little used since deposit and one of our project aims was to promote the collection, particularly within the academic community.
In 2015 we were awarded a further grant by the Wellcome Trust for a second phase. This allowed us to repackage and fully digitise the Stannington Sanatorium patient files and make selected redacted pages from each one publicly accessible via our online catalogue. We set up the project blog to tell you about the work that was undertaken within the project and reveal some of the fascinating stories that we discovered about the important work that was undertaken at the sanatorium.
As a result of the first phase of the project an online exhibition was produced which tells the story of the sanatorium; it can be viewed by clicking here.
The records we hold relating to the sanatorium can be found by searching our online catalogue. Flickr sets of images digitised during the first phase of the project and redacted examples of complete patient case files can be viewed here.
We have also an exhibition of banner stands, which has toured venues, including a local church and libraries, across Northumberland, and is available for loan.
You can see the project’s blog posts here.
If you would like more information contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org