We’ve retold the story of the First World War Auxiliary hospital at Kings Weston before, but a new facet of hospital life has just come into our hands: A smartly designed front cover for the Kings Weston Hospital Magazine.
The magazine would have been published for hospital patients, probably written by the patients as part of their recuperation, and to fend off boredom. There were newspapers published by servicemen in the trenches, camps, and troopships, and others are known from other military hospitals, but this is the first known from Kings Weston. Most were replicated using simple methods, whatever was to hand, and could involve carbon paper, basic duplicating machines, or even written by hand. At Kings Weston it appears that some significant resources were available, with a coloured card cover, embossed and with a professionally produced photograph of the house pasted-on as an eye-catching centrepiece. On the inside cover an advert for Lennards Boot & Shoe Co suggests that they were one of the sponsors of the magazine.
Marked by hand, a date of June 1917 appears on the cover. The house had been turned over for hospital use by Philip Napier Miles and his wife Sybil in 1915 so would have been familiar to recovering servicemen for a couple of years. Was the magazine a one-off, or was it a regular publication? The date suggests it could have been monthly journal, or was it one-off?
There’s one more major puzzle; where is the rest of the magazine, and what did it contain? Frustratingly everything but the front cover is missing, the cover sliced off, perhaps as a souvenir. It would have been fascinating to read the contents, but no other copy is known to exist. If you know different please get in touch!