Almost all of the work we do involves researching individuals who served and creating biographies about them from available sources of information.
One of these sources would be something like a war hospital register and during the Great War there were hospitals all over the country being used for war purposes, from the really large General hospitals down to cottage hospitals, and country homes being used as convalescent centres. Here in Keighley there were four main hospitals, plus two at nearby Skipton which made up the local cluster of war hospitals. They were at Morton Banks, Victoria, Fell Lane and Spencer Street, plus Gargrave Road Hospital at Skipton and the Skipton and District Hospital. Their names are illustrated on the front cover of 'War Hospital Echoes' which was published as a hospital magazine during the war period.
The Register of Patients for the Keighley cluster has been preserved and is in the archives at Keighley Library. This fascinating ledger contains entries for 13,214 patients who were admitted between July 1916 and April 1919. We were given permission to photograph every page of this register in 2017 and have been using these pages to look up information on requests made by email and through our website contact forms. The page photographs have also established a benchmark of the condition of the register at that time and as the Library staff also have a full indexed copy of these photographs, they can also carry out look-ups for people without having to disturb the pages of the original register and can even let people have copies of individual page entries in the register.
One of the things we have not done yet, is to transcribe the information in the register into a computer database and this would make if so much easier to search for any individual recorded within. We are inviting people to help us transcribe the information into spreadsheet files and have placed information on our dedicated War Hospital Register page for anyone interested in contributing.
No special skills are needed, although you need to know how to use a spreadsheet program like Microsoft Excel or Open Office. This is fairly straightforward to do and of course we can help you with that.