Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford
In the early 90s I approached the Radcliffe Infirmary Hospital in Oxford with a proposal for a project. Based in the centre of Oxford, it had long been an important part of the city.
A new hospital had opened two miles away in 1972, and was gradually taking away the areas of care. Everyone knew it was only a few years until it would be closed. I had a personal connection as I was born there.
From 1993 to 1995, I captured the hospital’s daily workings. Having researched the local archives I had found that there were few images of the care given and work done within the Infirmary, and far more of each new wing that had been built. My interest is people and so I wanted to capture the human elements rather than the material fabric of the Infirmary. I looked to capture every aspect of hospital life. Not only do I include the operating theatres and wards, but also staff in the kitchen and café, the records room, the church and other spaces that go beyond just medical care. It takes extensive backroom organisation to support any health care centre. Every part of the ‘machine’ is important and was of interest to me.
These images have recently been published by Café Royal Books and it’s given me a chance to look at the images with a fresh perspective. Sometimes we do need photographs to remind us of these times and so looking at these photographs again, all these years later, has been a meaningful experience.