cloth banner with hospital motto 'the sick and needy shall not always be forgotten'

Salisbury Infirmary’s banner

Plans for a 25th anniversary service at Salisbury Cathedral on 9th June 2018, to commemorate the formation of Salisbury District Hospital, started discussions about having a new hospital banner, based on the historic textile held in our collection. There has been a long held tradition of processing behind the banner to the cathedral. There was a similar service held on 1st May 1993, after the Infirmary had closed, and the banner took pride of place at these celebrations. Now was the perfect opportunity to track down the history of the Salisbury Infirmary banner.

Images in our collection show various processions to Salisbury Cathedral. Pictured below are two photographs that show nurses in procession with the banner in 1970. This was during a service to celebrate the centenary of nurse training in Salisbury, presided over by the Duchess of Kent who visited the Infirmary for the occasion.

Another search into the archives uncovered several photographs from the early 1990s (below) showing the banner on display in the chapel at the Infirmary. Going a little further back in time, in the book Salisbury 200 published in 1967, there is another photograph of our banner hanging in the hospital chapel, so we know that the banner is at least 51 years old in 2018!

Three much earlier photographs of Salisbury Infirmary Chapel also exist. One dates from around 1902 and shows the bare interior of the chapel with a banner hanging in the corner. Another, has the date Easter 1913 pencilled on the reverse. Two slightly later (undated) images, by J Jarvis photography in Salisbury, show how the decoration around the altar area has changed, but the banner remains the same. However, with the aid of a magnifying glass it is noticed that the design of the banner in all these old photographs is radically different to the one that exists today.

Included in the images below is an artist impression of what the early banner, dating from around the turn of the 20th century, could have looked like. This is based on our old photographs of the Infirmary chapel. There is a leaf pattern design all over, with a ribbon scroll, a central roundel and a striped hanging cord. It was likely, as on the later version held in our collection, to include the founding date of 1766 and the motto ‘The sick and needy shall not always be forgotten’.

Finally, looking even further back, we found a receipt in the archives from 1860 that states that R Cooper received 2 shillings and 6 pence for carrying the standard during the anniversary procession to Salisbury Cathedral – maybe he carried the one seen in the photographs from the 1900s?


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