NHS at 70: The Story of our Lives

In 2017, NHS at 70 was granted £199,100 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) towards the Development Phase for a national programme of work to capture and preserve the heritage of the UK’s National Health Service (NHS).

The overarching goal of the NHS at 70 project was to capture the heritage of the NHS by recording the memories and reflections of patients, staff and communities over the more than 70-year history of the institution. The task was particularly urgent because the generations who remembered the establishment of the NHS were already in their 80s and 90s.

We piloted the project in South Wales and Greater Manchester, developing a volunteer and stakeholder model to capture oral histories of the NHS to form part of an accessible digital archive.

In 2018, the project was awarded a further £585,900 for the two-year Delivery Phase project, and we expanded and developed the project across a further 8 regions of the UK.

Between 2018 and 2020, we worked across the 10 regions, training over 160 volunteers to record oral histories from participants. By March 2020, we had collected almost 800 oral history testimonies and had developed a travelling exhibition.

NHS at 70: Volunteer and Engagement (2019)

Take a look at our volunteer and engagement programme in action in Glasgow, Liverpool and Bristol.

NHS at 70: Volunteers and Engagement on Vimeo.

Copyright: The University of Manchester

NHS at 70: Voices From the First NHS Hospital (2018)

Local people, patients and staff tell their stories of Trafford General Hospital, birthplace of the NHS.

NHS at 70: Voices From the First NHS Hospital on Vimeo.

Copyright: The University of Manchester