The human connection

This flagstone is one of the best stops on the Infirmary tour.

flagstone“I shan’t be booking any time soon” I hear you say. Well, standing in the ceremonial entrance with the light cascading in through the tall Georgian windows you can see the scuffs and scrapes left by hundreds of thousands of footsteps. This was the area where the infirmary admissions office once stood.  For over 240 years people queued up to be admitted into hospital and each indentation has the potential to tell a story. Who stood there? Were they like me? Was it frightening?

Anyone who has sat in a doctor’s waiting room or been rushed to A&E can relate to this predicament. If you’ve been fortunate enough never to have needed medical attention then newspaper headlines will have filled you in on the topic of NHS waiting times I’m sure.

Looking at this spot allows us to empathise with people from the past and to wonder, just for a minute, how our lives may have been different if we were born at an earlier time. Without this nugget of information it’s a seemingly dull section of floor. What brings the flagstone to life is its human connection. It’s the people who passed through this place that is important; not its bricks and mortar.

Over the past few months we’ve attended training on a wide range of heritage skills; from tour guiding to delivering primary school workshops. Whilst the training has been varied and diverse ‘the human connection’ has been a reoccurring theme. As heritage professionals our job is to enable others to make connections and engage with the past in whichever way they wish. We’re developing the tools to bring objects, documents and buildings to life and the human connection is more often than not the ‘life’ that we are looking for.

Thanks for reading,

Etta Griffiths

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