Fascinating blog brings Benenden’s history alive

When Leslie Carter entered the Benenden sanatorium in Kent with tuberculosis in the 1920s, he was told he had three months to live. Fifty three years later, Carter left the hospital for the last time – as a member of staff.

Although he recovered from TB two years after he was admitted, Carter was so grateful for the help that Benenden had given him he stayed on as a postmaster, shop manager and radiographer – eventually earning the British Empire Medal for services to the hospital.

Carter’s story is one of many fascinating snippets of history that are being highlighted in a new Benenden heritage blog. It’s the labour of love of Denise Telford, the Hospital Trust’s Business Development and Performance Director.

“I felt that there were lots of stories that had to be shared,” says Telford, who has been an employee at the hospital for nearly 30 years, since she started as a nurse. “So I decided to pull together some of these into the blog to tell our story”

Telford started the blog in May, in her spare time, after a wealth of artefacts, photographs and documents from the Benenden Hospital museum had been carefully catalogued by artist Hugh Turvey in preparation for the redevelopment.  Although the museum has had to close due to the upgrade, Benenden’s 111-year history is being kept alive in the hospital’s new design.

Telford has been overseeing plans for the interior of the atrium, which will form the hospital’s new patient and visitor entrance. As part of this work, she and Turvey have been working to create an interactive display that will celebrate the hospital’s heritage.

“We’ve got an app that we are working on. Hugh has photographed all the items from the museum and we’re putting our heritage on a timeline which we’re aiming to make available on the website. As you come into the hospital atrium, there will also be some tablets on which people can see the app,” says Telford.

“People tend to like the stories that they can relate to,” she says. “I did one on the hospital’s old swimming pool, which has had more interest than any.”

She explains that the audience seems to be people who are either still involved with the hospital or who have memories of things they see on the blog.

Benenden member branches are also enjoying the connection, says Telford. “I was visited by two branch members this week. They value the heritage yet they understand that people no longer come to look around a museum, and this is a modern way of keeping the stories alive.”

Eventually, says Telford, the aim is for the blog to be up to date and have stories about people now working for Benenden.

“I’m also taking a stand to a Benenden society event in November in Manchester and to conference – as soon as you talk to branches about the artefacts and stories they want to see them,” adds Telford.

“I want to continue to develop the blog and a future timeline app and bring our story right up to date. Celebrating our achievements should help all those involved in the society develop a huge sense of pride. Being associated with this successful organisation is something to celebrate, and certainly something I am very proud of.”

To view Denise Telford’s blog visit: https://benendenheritageproject.wordpress.com/author/benendenheritageproject/

twitter icon facebook icon youtube icon linkedin icon googleplus icon

Contact us - We would love to hear from you

New members

Send us a message

Benenden Personal Healthcare
Holgate Park Drive
York
YO26 4GG
0800 414 8001 * (Lines open 8am-5pm, Mon-Fri excluding Bank Holidays)

Existing members

Send us a message

Benenden Personal Healthcare
Holgate Park Drive
York
YO26 4GG
0800 414 8100 * (Lines open 8am - 8pm, Mon-Fri excluding Bank Holidays)

Please note that your call may be recorded for our mutual security and also for training and quality purposes.

Health cash plans

Policies beginning with BEN1
Benenden Health Cash Plan (Bupa)
Anchorage 3, Anchorage Quays
Salford Quays
Manchester
M50 3XL
0800 970 6517*

Lines are open 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday, 8am - 1pm Saturday.

Policies beginning with BEN2
Benenden Health Cash Plan (BHSF)
2 Darnley Road,
Birmingham,
B16 8TE
0800 414 8071

Lines are open 8.45am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday.

Self-pay orthopaedic surgery

Send us a message

Benenden Hospital Trust
Goddard's Green Road
Benenden
Cranbrook
Kent
TN17 4AX
01580 242 521 (Lines open 9am-5pm Mon-Fri)

Health assessments

Send us a message

Health assessments
Unit 1, Cameron Court
Cameron Street
Hillington Park
Glasgow
G52 4JH
0800 414 8486*

Travel insurance

Send us a message

Travel insurance
2nd Floor Maitland House
Warrior Square
Southend-on-Sea
Essex
SS1 2JY
0800 414 8301*

Lines open for Sales
9am-8pm Monday to Friday 
9am-5pm Saturday
10am-5pm Sunday

Lines open for Customer Services
9am-8pm Monday to Friday
9am-5pm Saturday
10am-5pm Sunday

Benenden business healthcare

Send us a message

Benenden Business Healthcare
Holgate Park Drive
York
YO26 4GG
0800 414 8179* (Lines open 9am-5pm Mon-Fri)

Home insurance

Send us a message

Benenden Home Insurance
1st Floor Maitland House
Warrior Square
Southend on Sea
Essex
SS1 2JY
0800 414 8556* (Lines open Monday to Friday 9am – 7pm, Saturday 9am – 5pm, excludes Bank Holidays)

Home Emergency
0800 294 2851* (Lines open 24 hours a day)

Legal Expenses
0330 100 9618* (Lines open 24 hours a day)

Charitable trust

Send us a message

Find out more

Charitable Trust
Holgate Park Drive
York
YO26 4GG
0800 414 8450* (Lines open 8am - 4pm Mon-Fri)