A timeline mural for Barts Hospital
On a site near St Paul’s Cathedral and Smithfield Market, stands St Bartholomew’s Hospital. This place of care and healing has served the people of London for nine hundred years – making it the longest-established hospital in England. It is now an international centre for cardiac and cancer treatment, and recently the hospital has added new buildings and refurbished a grand square known to Charles Dickens.
Archivist Kate Jarman is in charge of the hospital’s archive, which contains material from the 12th century to the present. Although the hospital has its own museum, Kate was keen to create some interpretation in the new hospital circulation space, to link old and new.
Designer Julie Nelson Rhodes asked me to work with her to pitch for the project. We had worked before on Brent Museum’s new displays, together with 3D designer Neill Richardson. This time Julie and I suggested ideas for a timeline that would draw creatively on the archives, sharing stories from nine centuries of care and cures.
I spent a fascinating day with Kate, exploring the treasury of maps, medical formularies, housekeeping records, deeds and seals that the archive holds, and developing themes. Julie then took the project through from concept to completion, designing a colourful and uplifting wall display that groups stories and images from centuries marked on the handrail.