Film ID:
YFA 5274



Visitor Tabs


This is a reprint made in 1979 of a film originally made in 1932 to mark the centenary of the Royal Hospital in Sheffield.  The film presents a full day in the life of the hospital showing every aspect of hospital work, from the delivery of food to various treatments and operations.

Title - Royal Hospital Sheffield 1932-1979

The film begins with a photograph of the hospital with text that explains that the hospital was founded as a public dispensary in Tudor Place, probably the site of the Central Library.  Then it transferred to Westfield House on West Street, and founded in 1860 as Sheffield Public Hospital and Dispensary, renamed the Royal Hospital in 1895. “This silent film was made to commemorate the centenary of 1932 by Dr E F Skinner, Physician for skin diseases, and Mr Watson, the hospital radiographer, and we are indebted to them for this piece of history.”

Intertitle – This film represents the actual working of a large modern hospital.  It has been produced as part of the effort to celebrate the 100th birthday of the hospital.  Every scene is genuine and the film shows the various sides of hospital work and administration.  The hospital began in 1832 in a small house surrounded by a garden.

There follows illustrations and photographs of the hospital taken in 1832, 1862, 1882, and 1932.  A clock shows 7 o’clock.

Intertitle – Leaving the nurses home at Ranmoor.

A large number of nurses, all carrying black briefcases, leave the home.  They board a tram.

Intertitle – 15 minutes ride brings them to the hospital gates.

They enter the hospital through the gates.

Intertitle – A meeting of the Hospital Board to discuss the family “budget”

The meeting, all elderly men, is taking place in a room.

Intertitle – Every day 560 people must be housed and fed and here we see the food supply arriving at 8 am.

A lorry arrives, with ‘Challenge tea’ written on it, followed by a van for Sanderson’s & Sons, from which bags and boxes are unloaded.

Intertitle – The milk comes from a single farm in the Derbyshire hills and is chemically analysed from time to time to ensure its purity.

Milk urns are shown being delivered.

Intertitle – Vegetable, potatoes, fish and puddings of all kinds for this family of 560 are cooked in large steamers.

Two women cooks are working on the steamers in the kitchen.

Intertitle – The meat is roasted in gas ovens.

More women cooks are at work in the kitchen.

Intertitle – All meat is “boned” before cooking, to facilitate carving.

A woman cook cuts a large joint of meat.

Intertitle – Rice puddings are a standard daily food in all hospitals.

Another woman cooks pulls out two tins of rice puddings from a large oven.

Intertitle – The food is loaded into heat retaining wagons and taken by a large service lift to the various ward landings.

A woman cook loads one of the heat retaining wagons with tins and male hospital workers push them through corridors.

Intertitle – A dinner being served in the nursery.  There are very few lost appetites here.

Children are served their dinners in their caged beds.

Intertitle – Six tons of coal are used every day for heating, cooking and cleaning.

Coal is delivered from the back of a couple of trucks, Longbottom and Co., of Sheffield.

Intertitle – There are three large boilers.

A man shovels coal into one of the boilers.

Intertitle – The pumping plant which helps to feed them and circulate water through five miles of piping.

A couple of men inspect the boilers.

Intertitle – Steam is provided for washing 2000 garments every day.

Two men push a trolley loaded with sheets.  A man empties a large washing machine, and a team of women sort the clean sheets, putting them through large rollers and ironing them.

Intertitle – A corner of the sewing-room where torn garments are mended.

Three women work at sewing machines mending a large pile of garments.

Intertitle – Now let us look at some of the patients. At the out-patient department every patient registers and is given a card for the particular doctor he or she wishes to see.

Patients sit in a waiting room in front of the registration desk.

Intertitle – The orthopaedic department where fractured limbs and deformities are treated.

A small boy has his feet examined.

Intertitle – The surgeon is examining the patients and deciding on the line of treatment to be carried out.

Two boys are examined for fractures.

Intertitle – A useful method of treating fractures is by means of Plaster of Paris splints.  A Plaster splint is being removed.

Using a large cutter, a man removes a plaster from a patient’s leg.

Intertitle – Massage and manipulation forms a very important art of orthopaedic treatment.  Note how gentle are both massage and movement of the limb in the hands of the masseuse.

A female masseuse massages a woman’s arm.

Intertitle – Another little patient being treated by manipulation.

A girl is having her leg manipulated by a nurse.

Intertitle – Exercises of all kinds are used.

A man uses a fixed cycling exercise machine.

Intertitle – An ambulance brings to the orthopaedic and x-ray department those patients who are temporary or permanently cripples.

Several ambulances arrive and a patient is taken inside.

Intertitle – Ear, nose and throat department.  Examining a patient.

A man has his throat examined.

Intertitle – A beam of light from a lamp behind a patient is caught by a mirror on the forehead of the surgeon’s forehead and reflected into the nose, ear, or throat.

The man then has his ears examined.

Intertitle – During the “rush hours” the dispensers are probably amongst the hardest people in the hospital.  Every day 700 prescriptions are prepared.

Two men and a woman make up prescriptions, taking ingredients from a great collection of jars on shelves, with one man making a paste and putting it into a container.

Intertitle – Another hard-worked member of the staff.  Every hour of the day is a “rush hour” for her and her colleagues.

The telephone receptionist is busy taking calls, plugging in the caller to the appropriate place.

Intertitle – Radiography (x-rays) has become an essential method of examination and gives invaluable help in diagnosing all kinds of disease.  A simple fracture being “X-rayed”.

A boy has his arm x-rayed.

Intertitle – The radiograph taken in the last scene.

The x-ray shows a broken Ulna bone.

Intertitle – In serious fractures the limb is often “set” under the X-rays.  The surgeon can see the broken bones on a special screen and is able to readjust their position by sight.

A surgeon manipulates the plaster cast of a patient, showing an ex-ray of the bones.

Intertitle – Examination of stomach and bowels, an opaque mixture of barium sulphate is swallowed.

A woman stands behind the x-ray machine and drinks from a cup while a man in a plastic overall takes an x-ray of her stomach.  She goes off and notes are made by the nurse.

Intertitle – The presence of stone dust (silicosis) in lungs is easily discovered by x-ray.  This mottled appearance is due to the presence of silica dust.

An x-ray shows a large black area in the lung.

Intertitle – Another use of X-ray is the treatment of such diseases as Cancer and Lupus.

A man laid out on a bed is x-rayed.

Intertitle – Let us see how x-rays help the eye department.  A very common accident at all metal works – a small piece of steel in the eye.  The patient is first examined in the casualty room where the tiny wound can be seen.

A man has his eye examined and has a patch attached.

Intertitle – The fragment is next located by the Sweet localiser.

A man lies under a metal contraption which goes over his head.

Intertitle – Having localised it an attempt is made to extract the piece of steel by means of a large and powerful magnet.

A man manoeuvres a large magnet.

Intertitle – Testing the magnet.

The magnet is tested using a pair of scissors and then lowered over the patient’s head.  Then a cloth is placed over that before the doctor extracts the piece of metal using tweezers.  The magnet is removed, and the eye is bandaged.

Intertitle – About 300 x-ray examinations are made every day and 40 films are used and the daily cost of this department in films alone is £3. Many patients too ill to be moved are X-rayed in The wards.  A “Portable X-ray” machine in use.

A man brings a portable x-ray machine to a ward and uses it on a patient’s leg.

Intertitle – A large number of minor injuries are treated daily in the Casualty room.  This “minor” surgery is always liable to interruption by serious accidents and emergencies.

An ambulance pulls up at the hospital and a man is carried in on a stretcher.  A girl is having treatment done to her hand.

Intertitle – The casualty work is so important that one of the most senior Resident Medical Officers always acts as casualty officer.

The work on the girl continues, followed by a man having his ankle bandaged.

Intertitle – The “case” is often brought in from a pit or works, having been given “first aid” by qualified ambulance workers.  The bearers are trained ambulance men though they may not look like it.

Two workmen bring in a fellow workman on a stretcher and place him on a bed.

Intertitle – Let us go to one of the medical wards.  Great strides have been made during the last twenty years in the methods of examination and diagnosis.

A patient is lying in bed with various breathing tubes going into his mouth.

Intertitle – Here we see a doctor collecting a sample of air from a patient’s lungs.

The patient’s tubes are attached to a metal cylinder which is going up and down.

Intertitle – The patient breathes into the small spirometer which can be seen to move up and down with his respiration, and the air so collected is then chemically analysed.

The spirometer is seen going up and down.

Intertitle – Many heart disease patients are examined by means of Electrocardiograph apparatus.  Here is the patient being arranged in circuit with the apparatus.

The patient sits down, takes off his shoe and sock on his left foot and puts it into a bucket of water while placing both his hands into containers of water.  Meanwhile a technician adjusts various knobs on a machine.

Intertitle – The Hospital Laboratory, one of the most important departments.  The Bacteriologist at work.

The Bacteriologist sits at a desk using a Bunsen burner and microscope.

Intertitle – Lister revolutionised surgery by showing how bacteria were responsible for infection.  He evolved anti-sepsis.

The Bacteriologist continues peering through a microscope.

Intertitle – A-sepsis by sterilisation has replaced anti-sepsis.

A surgical assistant lowers a tray of instruments into a sterilising container.

Intertitle – A Bio-chemical laboratory plays a most important part in the diagnosis of many “medical” cases.

A technician places a sample into a test tube.

Intertitle – Estimating the quantity of sugar in a sample of blood taken from a patient.  As many as 100 such examinations are done in a week.

A technician places a sample of blood into two test tubes.

Intertitle – Now let us have a peep at a surgical case for operation, coming from the ward to the theatre lift accompanied by a nurse.

A patient laid on a bed is taken in a lift.

Intertitle – He is taken up to the operating theatre in a lift and is kept warm by hot-water bottles etc.  Having arrived at the theatre he is wheeled into the anaesthetic room.

We see the floors pass by as the patient travels up the lift, and is then wheeled out at the appropriate floor.

Intertitle – All kinds of anaesthetics are used – the one here shown is ether – being given by the “open” method.

Two women, both wearing breathing masks, administer ether to a patient by holding a mask over his face.

Intertitle – When completely anaesthetised he is taken to the theatre.  An actual abdominal operation in progress.

A group of men and women are stood over a patient in the operating room.

Intertitle – On a busy operating day the theatre lift is in constant use.

Each floor is shown as the lift passes back down.

Intertitle – Visiting day.  Patient’s friends entering the hospital.

A large crowd of people are gathered outside the hospital entrance, and then make their way through the hospital corridors.

Intertitle – Finding their relatives.

The visitors arrive in a ward and are helped by nurses to find their relatives.

Intertitle – Many patients cannot go straight home from the hospital.  They are sent to a convalescent home at Fulwood – a miniature hospital in a beautiful valley.

An ambulance pulls up outside the convalescent home and the patients are carried in.

Intertitle – The front of the Fulwood Annexe – note the open-air wards.

Some patients are in beds in a room with open sliding doors, others walk around the grounds, some on crutches.

Intertitle – Patients who are seriously ill or collapse after operations are given blood transfusions. Blood from the “donor” is examined to make sure it will “mix” with that of the patient.

A doctor, or male nurse, takes a sample of blood from the donor and examines it on a glass plate.

Intertitle – The syringe with which the transfusion is done is filled with a solution of sodium nitrate to prevent the blood clotting whilst the needles are being inserted into the veins.

The doctor / male nurse passes the sodium nitrate through a syringe.

Intertitle – The arms of the patient and “donor” are placed side by side.

The patient and donor both lie on beds next to each other with their arms resting on a table between the beds.  A nurse ties a cord around each of their arms.

Intertitle – The doctor inserts a needle connected with the syringe into a vein in each arm and blood is pumped from the “donor” to the patient.

The pumping process is performed by turning the syringe at each pumping action.

Intertitle – Every day and all day students are being taught some aspect of medicine.  A clinical class in one of the wards.

A group of trainee doctors stand around a patient as the consultant checks the medical records.

Intertitle – One of the most important aspects of medical life is the training of medical students and probationer nurses.

The consultant checks the chest and back of the patient as the trainees look on.

Intertitle – The Sister Tutor is responsible for most of the teaching to nurses.  Lectures, to different classes, go on almost all day.

The Sister writes on a blackboard and points at an illustration of human anatomy as a room full of nurses sit at desks taking notes.  The clock then shows 8 o’clock,

Intertitle – Perhaps it has seemed a long day, but every day in hospital is full of interest and romance, aye, and humour, without which the many tragedies would be unbearable.

A nurse watches as a small girl kneels in her beds and says prayers.  The nurse then tucks her in and gives her a peck on the cheek before putting the metal side bar back in place on the bed, and turns off the side light.

Intertitle – And the longest day must come to an end.

The night nurse sits at her desk on the ward and makes her notes.

Intertitle – Good night

End Note:  In 1978 Patients and staff were transferred to the Hallamshire Hospital, and finally the entire structure, with the exception of the out-patient department in Mount Zion, was phased to the ground.

End Credit: This film has been reprinted thanks to a grant from the residue of the Royal Hospital Consultant Staff fund.

Title – The End