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About the Project

Doncaster Gate Heritage project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and supported by NHS Rotherham. The project grew out of the desire to commemorate and celebrate the 139 year history of Doncaster Gate Hospital. The project began in July 2008 and was launched to the public at the Rotherham Show in September 2008.

It was the project’s aim to involve as many schools and community groups as possible in its schemes. This has been very successful; the project has worked with primary and secondary school to introduce local history in a variety of ways. The work with primary schools has predominately been focused around the Victorian history of Rotherham and the development of the hospital in 1870. These workshops have been split between source work based in the classroom and drama workshops run in conjunction with Action Space Mobile. Meanwhile, two local secondary schools have been working on producing art pieces for the new health centre site which reflect the history of Doncaster Gate Hospital but also demonstrate their understanding of what the hospital has meant to the people of Rotherham over the last 139 years. Rotherham College have also been involved in the design and development of the sculpture which sits outside of Rotherham Community Health Centre. They have been working with Lewis Morgan, a local artist who specialises in Community based projects, to produce a piece which reflects the heritage of the hospital but also the continuation of the help and support provided by the staff of NHS Rotherham.

The project has also worked hard at training its volunteers in heritage skills which have allowed them to work affectively on the project but also to be able to use these new skills elsewhere. To this end the project has worked with The Oral History Society to provide training in this particular area of historical recording. The project has also worked closely with the Local Studies and Archives service at Rotherham Central Library to provide training in traditional archiving methods and introducing the volunteers to the documentation stored in the archives. Training has also been provided in digitisation and the historical importance of photographs. All these aspects have helped the volunteers to make a success of the project and transfer these skills into other areas of their working life.

The project gained significant support from the public through a number of different avenues. Many former employees have come forward to tell us their stories and memories of working at Doncaster Gate Hospital as well as sharing photographs of their times spent at the Hospital; these have varied from Nurses and Doctors to former porters and engineers. This has added significantly to the community history of the hospital, it has put flesh on the bones of the history. Members of the public have also come forward to share their memories of time spent at the Hospital; and the project has gathered many stories of time spent as children on Queen’s Ward.

The success of the project has been in its engagement with the local community and the desire to share their stories which has come from the people of Rotherham. All the memories and stories have been incorporated with the research from the archives to produce this interactive website which will allow everyone to engage with the history of this community hospital. If you would like to discover more or see the documents in real life they will be accessible in the Local Studies and Archive section of Rotherham Library soon.

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