Lecturer turns life at sanitorium into play

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The former Stannington Sanatorium is soon to be featured in a play on BBC Radio 4 by Newcastle University’s senior lecturer in Creative Writing Margaret Wilkinson.

She has been working with The Northumberland Archives, who hold the records of the sanatorium.

Established in 1907 by the Poor Children’s Holiday Association, now known as Children North East, it was the first purpose built Tuberculosis sanatorium for children in Britain, and provided the children with an airy, light hospital that had its own X-ray department, operating theatre and school.

The Northumberland Archives hold a large collection of the Stannington Sanatorium’s records, including the patients’ medical files from 1937 to 1966, which have been conserved and digitised in a two-year Wellcome Trust funded project.

Letters from these patient files, matron’s report books, and other records from the Stannington Sanatorium collection have helped playwright Margaret Wilkinson in writing the play. She has also used recorded interviews from the archives and spoken to former staff from the sanatorium, to create new characters inspired by real people and events.

The play will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 today and tomorrow at 10.45am, with a repeat at 7.45pm. For more see www.experiencewoodhorn.com/sanatorium-play.