Members of the Southmead community soap opera, Meadows to Meaders shared their pre and post Second World War insights with Masters Architecture students from the University of the West of England.

Focusing on their memories of Southmead Hospital before and after the creation of the NHS, cast members who collect and perform true stories from people who have lived, worked and grown up in Southmead recollected the significance of Aneurin Bevan’s health system and what it had previously really meant to be unwell.

Southmead Workhouse/Hospital by Studio Kinnect (UWE Masters Architecture student illustration)

“Southmead hospital was not friendly to people. I couldn’t see the hospital on a particular road a while back, and many couldn’t afford the hospital and had ever needed to pay for the ambulance.”

“My uncle was a bus driver and would take me to the hospital.
His uncle would change the route for all passengers to drop him
off and pick him up at the children’s ward.”

“When the new Southmead hospital opened in 1924, the facilities reverted to a workhouse in the early 1920s and were then greatly expanded to accommodate all the sick. At this point, the house prices had doubled.”

“Not everyone used a phone back in the day. They used
community phones/ pay phones, so their conversations were

“I was in for tonsilitis when I was young, everyone told me that I would get jelly and ice cream to soothe the pain. When I awoke from the anesthetics, I discovered that the doctors had run out of time to perform the procedure and I would have to wait until the next day. Once my operation was finally complete, I discovered that I would not be getting ice cream but instead I received crunchy cornflakes.”