News | Monday, 30th October 2017

Forgotten history of military hospital revealed on Armistice Day

University historians are involved in a project to discover stories from Moss Side Military Hospital

Image courtesy of Dr Rowlands

A special Armistice Day event will showcase the pioneering wartime work and legacy of the former Moss Side Military Hospital in Maghull.

Historians from Manchester Metropolitan University, archives consultant Kevin Bolton, staff from The Atkinson and local volunteers from throughout Merseyside will deliver a day of talks and activities at The Atkinson on the important but largely unknown history of the hospital.

The event will showcase the findings so far of a Heritage Lottery Fund project designed to capture memories of Moss Side, which introduced ground-breaking new treatment for soldiers with shell shock during the First World War.

Over 3,600 patients were treated between December 1914 and 1919, and Moss Side became renowned in the developing field of psychological medicine. Clinical staff at the time were described as “the brilliant band of workers who made Maghull the centre for the study of abnormal psychology”. The site closed in 1995 and buildings were later demolished.

Recent research has uncovered some of the moving stories of those who were patients, those who cared for them, and of the local community which found itself on the front-line of medical treatment in the war to end all wars.

Dr Sam Edwards, Senior Lecturer in History at Manchester Metropolitan University, said: "HLF-funded research initiated by The Atkinson, conducted by local volunteers, and supported by historians from Manchester Metropolitan University has shed new light on the fascinating history - and legacy - of Moss Side Military Hospital in Maghull.

“During and after the First World War the hospital was a pioneering treatment centre for shell shock, and recent research has uncovered some of the moving stories of those who were patients, those who cared for them, and of the local community which found itself on the front-line of medical treatment in the war to end all wars."

Visitors to The Atkinson on Armistice Day will be given a rare opportunity to see archival material from Moss Side. Liverpool Record Office will be in attendance with items such as minute books from the hospital.

Buiding prior to demolition in 2010 (image courtesy of Dr Rowlands)

Emma Anderson, Director of The Atkinson, said: “Our project has brought together community interests and made strong connections with today’s veterans’ organisations.  New stories about the ground-breaking work as well as the lives of patients and staff at this hospital are being brought to light, revealing how the whole community was involved in and impacted by the war and the hospital.

“We are delighted that Bill Esterson MP will attend the event, as he has championed this part of Sefton’s heritage for many years.  The event will involve talks, films, family activities and opportunities to learn more about local and family history connected with Maghull.”

The event is free, open to all and will run from 11am – 3pm on Saturday 11th November at The Atkinson, Southport. Booking is not required.

There will be fascinating talks, expert insights, children’s activities, documentaries, and moving tributes to the often forgotten victims of the war, and the 'brilliant band' who came to their aid.

To find out more about the Maghull and the Great War Remembered: Shell Shock - the impact and aftermath on lives and minds project, contact the project team on ww1volunteering@theatkinson.co.uk.

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