Sunday, March 27, 2011

Westminster Veterans Hospital

In response to an e-mail request I had a look at what was available on the Westminster Veterans Hospital in London, Ontario. Online there is very little. Most of what is online is on the services that veterans receive today. My father is there today, and he and mother met at the old Westminster Hospital when he was undergoing physiotherapy in 1946.  There were good reasons for me that made the e-mail request very intriguing to follow up.

As the hospital looked in 1977.
Information available in archives in London is another story. A great deal is available to hunt through. The London Room at the London Public Library has copies of two reports done for the London Health Sciences Center in September, 2000.

“Historical Documentation of the Veterans Psychiatric Institute, London Health Sciences Center, London, Ontario, September., 2000. Prepared by Historica Research Ltd.”
“Historical Documentation of Western Counties Wing Buildings, London Health Sciences Center, September, 2000. Prepared by Historica Research Ltd.”

Both reports are in binder form, and available in the archives section of the London Room. As well, the London room has a complete collection of the “London Free Press”. “The Free Press” seems to have taken an interest in the hospital, and devoted considerable space through the years to coverage.

In book form there is several available. It looked at two.

Jennifer L. Granger (ed.), “Delaware and Westminster Townships: Honouring Our Roots”, (2 vol.’s) The Aylmer Express Ltd. 2006.
John R. Sullivan, Norman R. Ball, “Growing To Serve: A History of Victoria Hospital, London, Ontario”, The Victoria Hospital Corporation, 1985.

Library and Archives Canada has the blueprints of the original buildings that comprised Westminster Hospital. If you are looking for names of residents, and staff, I suspect that that information is now held by the University of Western Ontario. When Parkwood Hospital took over the running of the veterans’ programs, files, documents etc., were handed over to the university’s archives. How far the university has gone in cataloguing this information is the big question.

I will follow up with more information as I have it. What struck me in the little research that I did was some unique stories that emerged. I will double check the sources, and then post a few of them in the future.

1 comment:

  1. My Grandmother worked at this hospital when I was a child. I remember going there to pick her up for Sun.dinners. I don't know why but at a young child I remember the beautiful trees and lush lawns. My Grandmother was a dietition and so proud to serve the veterans. Christine Oliver