Very few hospital records exist from WW1 and so I was rather excited to discover that the Canterbury Cathedral archives hold the Dane John VAD Hospital Admissions and Discharge Book.

This rather lovely book, printed and probably bound by Burrup, Mathieson and Sprague Ltd, London. Another interest of mine is letterpress and the history of the print industry and who knows if that little piece of information might be interesting or useful at some future date.

The book holds the name, rank, regt no, age, injuries, date of transfer and other hospitals transferred from/to, of the men who were cared for at Dane John VAD Hospital from 1916 – 1918.

As an object it holds so much grief and anxiety contained within the neatly written entries, each one brief and to the point. No place for emotions.

I found I could not read it within the Cathedral’s Reading Room for fear of tears falling onto it and so I have photographed each page to read at home, in private, as I feel befits what this object represents.

I will write more about it once I have ‘opened’ it’s pages.

Ideas for work are beginning to form, but I am not rushing it. I have faith in my own process of working and know i have to do the research first. The ideas will then begin to arrive – probably at 2am!

Catalogue reference CC/W26/A/7

All images by permission of Canterbury Cathedral Archive