It was quite a sobering moment when I saw a uniform I once wore displayed in a museum. I had returned to the City of London to catch up with an old friend or two and spent the day exploring the places I once knew. There was my uniform displayed in the hospital museum.
I once lived right in the heart of London. Each time I go back I notice things that were oblivious to me when I worked in St Bartholomews Hospital. This is the oldest hospital in England and was founded in 1123 by Rahere the Monk. When I rushed round it as a student I barely noticed some of the historical aspects of the place. This year my visit was to catch up with old friends- something that is always in my January Journeys list for the year and to me it is so important to spend time renewing and nurturing friendships. And catching up on the news of course.
In Barts Square the fountain is the main feature and it is always a delight to sit on one of the seats with the sound of the water. I always find this part of London so peaceful. Today I noticed a small plaque on the East Wing. During World War One 5406 troops were nursed here. And in the entrance the Poor Box stood, once used for donations.
Just outside the hospital the telephone box is now known for its appearance in Sherlock Holmes. A few steps down the road is the memorial to William Wallace who was executed just outside the gates. There is so much history here.This is where the circulation of the blood was discovered by William Harvey and where Sir John Betjeman once lived in the nearby street.
The nurses homes are now demolished to make way for luxury city dwellers apartments, and just one underground tunnel is left. A moment for a nostalgic walk perhaps. There are many memories here- of parties that lasted all night and of revision into the early hours.Whilst buildings come and go the friendships I made there will always live on.
The museum at St Bartholomews Hospital London is free but donations are welcome.