The Watford Observer was a major supporter of the appeal to build the Peace Memorial Hospital. Mr CH Peacock, the owner of the newspaper, was one of the most influential people in Watford in the 1920s. Through his influence the newspaper first presented the idea of a Memorial Hospital to the people of Watford in the first week before the Armistice in November 1918. In January 1919, the newspaper launched the ‘Observer Shilling Fund’ asking people and firms to set aside their shillings to aid the appeal. The appeal raised 60,000 shillings. The observer continued to support the appeal over the next 7 years by printing lists of donations and publicising fundraising events. There were reports of committee meetings, plans and drawings of the new Hospital as well as full page advertisements encouraging readers to give more.
“When a few years hence an ex-soldier breaks down in health, it will be to our everlasting pride that we have the means at hand to give him every comfort and attention.”
Watford Observer, circa 1917 (Source David Wellings, display text, 1996 Peace Hospice Opening)
This post is part of information gathered during Peace Hospice Care’s oral histories project 2014-16. The project captured 25 years of Peace Hospice Care and explored the legacy of the Peace Memorial Hospital. It was funded by the Heritage Lottery Foundation.
Find out more about Peace Hospice Care by visiting www.peacehospicecare.org.uk or the online project archive http://ourview.peacehospicecare.org.uk/ Oral histories from the project will be deposited with Hertfordshire Archive and Local Studies by end 2016.