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Messages - LewishamArtist

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Hello Everyone,
I never really explained what I do as an artist in Resident at the hospital. I was invited by the Arts Committee to engage with the staff, patients and visitors of the hospital and then make a piece of work as response to my experience. It was a bit of a tall order to do in 20 days allotted....  but that is of course another story.

Thank you all so very much for your stories about the Matron Bell, they have really helped to make her a more rounded figure in my mind and hopefully the work which, is being launched tomorrow night. The finished pieces are based around Matron Bell -a bit of a challenge as there was surprisingly little information in the archives apart from a few pictures most of which are not captioned and hardly anyone I encountered knew anything about her. Shame as she had dedicated her whole life to nursing and a great deal of that at Lewisham.

If you would like to see some of the things I did during the residency please look at the blog:

I will post the final images over the weekend and the installation when it is complete. They are still building the link between the Outpatients Dept and Riverside.

There is more information about me and my practice at the following website:


PS: Does anyone know when Matron Bell retired and what she did next?? Please help....
Many thanks :)

Hello Brenda,
I have found a few photographs of Matron Bell in the hospital archives which I am using for a piece of work to go in the yet to be built link between 'Outpatients and the new Riverside building. Although the residency is coming to an end I would still like to collect more stories to do something more substantial. If possible it would be great to interview you about Matron Bell and your time at Lewisham Hospital.

There is going to be an open event on the 12th February to launch the new work from both myself and the poet in residence Gale  Burns. Everyone is welcome. I will post more details in a few days.


Hallo there,

I knew Matron Bell when I was a student nurse at Lewisham Hospital 1963-65.  It was she who interviewed me when I applied to move from Edgeware Hospital after my father's death. She was very helpful and understanding at a time when I was feeling very fragile.

I must say, we nurses were in awe of her and when it was she who did 'the rounds' rather than one of the Deputy Matrons, a hush really came over the ward and a collective sigh of relief went out when she left and we knew we'd come up to scratch.  She did always look rather severe but then, that was the way of things in those days. It didn't do for senior staff to be too familiar with the underlings.  Nursing was still run on quite military lines in those days.

Have you found any photographs of her? I'd love to see if she was as I remember her. 

She had been awarded the MBE for the part Lewisham Hospital took after the Hither Green train crash which was before my time.  I've googled her name  in the past but never come up with anything. Yes, a shame that these people fade from sight, as you say.  Good to know someone is trying to rectify this.

What does a 'artist in residence' do at Lewisham Hospital? 


 I am currently the 'artist in residence' at Lewisham Hospital and trying to find out as much as I can about this much loved and respected woman who has almost faded from sight.  Marjorie Bell was the Matron of Lewisham Hospital from 1948 to about 1970 and was quite a notable figure at one time.

Any stories, anecdotes or information greatly appreciated. Hope you can help
Many many thanks


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