Joyce Woodbridge

Lewisham Hospital

Joyce Woodbridge talks about her experiences working at Lewisham Hospital.

The receiving ward

Joyce Woodbridge recalls the casualties in the receiving ward.

'How lucky I was'

Joyce Woodbridge recalls her luck during the war.

Recollections of wartime work at Lewisham Hospital.

A hospital at war

Joyce was employed at Lewisham Hospital for most part of the war. Her younger brother and sister had been evacuated at the start of the war but at the age of eighteen Joyce remained at home with her mother and father in Eltham. Employed as a secretary at the hospital Joyce had a variety of duties, ‘We dealt with correspondence and had to interview the relatives of the patients who had died and, of course, it was a big hospital. There were nine hundred beds and during the war there was two blocks, D and E Block, that got bombed.’

The casualties of war

Seeing the casualties of war soon became a part of everyday life for Joyce and it was part of her work at the hospital to ensure that the necessary practicalities were carried out.

The casualties came in, you see, these casualties – dealing with them and all that and seeing the relatives of those that had died during the night. That wasn’t very easy and sending them round to the registrars and getting them to do that.

Her home life was also affected by the aerial bombardment of the area:

We had to have a little hut in the back of the garden, you know, we had to go down there every night. And, opposite, us there weren’t any it was allotments, you see. When a bomb dropped there it didn’t make any difference, really. You just have to be careful, you know, and go down every night.

The National Health Service

Joyce left job at Lewisham Hospital at the introduction of the National Health Service, ‘It became National Health Service and it was – it was awful. They had so much money and spent it on all the wrong things so I decided that that was enough.’


Interview with Joyce Woodbridge
Interview with Joyce Woodbridge (175k)
To read the full transcript of Joyce's interview please press the above link.

Lewisham Hospital
Lewisham Hospital (93k)
Transcript of video clip with Joyce Woodbridge.

The receiving ward
The receiving ward (56k)
Transcript of video clip with Joyce Woodbridge.

'How lucky I was'
'How lucky I was' (51k)
Transcript of video clip with Joyce Woodbridge.

This page was added by Malin Lundin on 02/02/2012.