Title ID 7497Collection ID720
TitleAshford Hospital Appeal
CollectionThe Victor Don Film Collection
ThemeWorking Life Public Services
KeywordsAccidents Buildings Children Clothing Health Services Uniforms Workers Roads Motor Vehicles
NationalEngland United Kingdom
ProductionDr. Victor Don
CameraDr. Victor Don
FormatBlack & White Silent
Duration17 min. 15 sec.
Copyright & AccessCopyright restrictions apply, contact Screen Archive South East for details


A film by amateur film-maker Dr. Victor Don, advocating the important and costly work carried out by ambulance attendants, doctors, chemists, anesthetists and nurses at Ashford Hospital in Kent during 1937. A short narrative sequence opens the film, during which a man is taken to hospital after being hit by a car.


A stone being laid by His Royal Highness The Duke of York on October 20, 1926 at Ashford Hospital is shown, before panning views of the hospital buildings are seen. 'The beauty of Kent.' Views of country lanes, tranquil lakes and rivers follow. 'You may enjoy it as a motorist... Or as a pedestrian...' A car drives along a road, seen in footage shot from the front of the vehicle, and a man walks along a lane. 'Careless motoring or walking lead to trouble.' A car veers wildly down country roads, knocking over the pedestrian. 'A passing cyclist...' hurriedly cycles to get help as the motorist tends to the man. The cyclist finds an AA telephone by the road and 'organised assistance now takes over.' The ambulance service takes the call and logs the information. An Ashford Corps. St. John Ambulance vehicle emerges from a garage and drives out of the town to reach the injured pedestrian. The attendants assist the man, retrieving a medical bag and stretcher from the vehicle. They tie his leg to a stiff calliper and lift the stretcher into the back of the ambulance before driving away. Scenes at Ashford Hospital follow, highlighting the importance and costly work carried out by doctors, chemists, anaesthetists and nurses.

The ambulance reaches the Casualty Department. The doors of the vehicle are opened and the man brought out on the stretcher, before he is wheeled inside where nurses and doctors are waiting. A nurse positions X-ray apparatus over his knee and a plate underneath. The resulting X-ray is seen. An anaesthetist drips liquid onto a mask, held over the patient's mouth and nose. Surgeons ready their equipment. They are seen at work, standing over the patient wearing white clothes and caps. 'DIATHERMY. This machine stops bleeding and cuts tissues electronically.' The diathermy machine is shown in close up. 'Special anaesthetising machine for your safety.' A patient lies by the anaesthetising machine, where a nurse holds a mask over their mouth and nose. Patients recovering after surgery are seen in the ward. 'And there you are - skilled attention nursing you back to health.'

A sign reads 'Be proud of your hospital! It is always ready to help YOU, but YOU must help IT. You may become very seriously ill, or your child be admitted like this.' A skeletal baby is seen, distressed and crying. 'A month later,' the baby is a healthy weight and looks around calmly. 'On the children's ward' cots line the walls of a room. Flowers in vases are seen around the ward. Young children wear knitted jumpers and have crisp white sheets on their cots. They are fed from a bottle and look healthy and happy. 'Massage & Electrical Departments.' A nurse massaging foot of man and electrotherapy is performed on paralysed limbs. 'Do you realise the heavy increasing expenses incurred over Drugs, Dressings and Equipment, Laundry, Massage, X-ray films and development materials?' 'Expensive items must not be spared when a life is at stake.' Equipment is seen, displayed for the camera on a table. Medicines in glass bottles line the shelves of the store. A chemist is seen, working at a sink. 'Special Serums. Some injections costing 25/- are given thrice daily.' Anaesthetics in packets are shown. A nurse operates a steriliser, putting metal containers into the large machine before locking it tightly by turning its wheels. She opens the machine half an hour later.

'The Boiler House.' The camera pans, taking in the industrial boilers. A door is opened and the coal fire tended to. 'The Laundry, where over 5,000 articles are washed weekly.' The laundry is seen from the outside. Inside, sheets lie in piles waiting to be cleaned. Aprons a put into an industrial spinning washing machine. A man pulls them out when clean, and a woman feeds them through the steamer. Women iron with laundry with electric irons. 'The Voluntary Sewing Party who do all the mending.' Women are seen at Singer sewing machines or darning by hand. 'Matron and the Nursing Staff, whose care gives you what money cannot.' Nurses in caps, aprons, and shirts have lined up outside hospital in sun. Several facts concerning the year 1937, encouraging public support of the hospital's work, close the film; 1,341 patients were admitted, 1,083 operations were performed, 1,447 x-ray investigations were performed, at the cost of £10,074. The End.