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A group of women taking part in an exercise class at the Pioneer Health Centre, St Mary’s Road, London

‘Peckham mothers can indulge in “keep fit” exercises, swimming, fencing, badminton, or any other of the various diversions afforded by the Centre. To join a family the cost is a mere shilling per week and it entitles every member of the family to the many facilities afforded.’ (Historic England)

Fascinating recently discovered photos reveal new insight into pre-NHS healthcare working life

Incredible images taken more than 70 years ago depicting the lives of pre-NHS healthcare workers have been discovered by Historic England.

Staff found 4,050 black and white photographic prints documenting medical life in Britain between 1938 and 1943.

Capturing hospital staff, patients, procedures and practices, the images show the trials and tribulations of pre-NHS working life. 

Many of the photos discovered include authentic captions, explaining where each shot was taken and exactly what was going on.

Thanks to grant funding from the Wellcome Trust, 2,100 images have been digitised as part of the year-long project to conserve, catalogue and digitise the entire collection.

Duncan Wilson, Historic England’s Chief Executive, said: ‘The Historic England Archive is full of countless gems but the Topical Press Agency images are particularly striking.

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