A Burnham-On-Sea author has unveiled a new book this week exploring life in several Derby hospitals from his experience as a nurse.
Dave Eldergill’s new publication is called ‘The Nightingale Quarter’ is now available on Amazon here.
He told Burnham-On-Sea.com why he’s written it: “The genesis of this book grew from my visual arts practice. I had been working on a project which explored my experiences training as a nurse in Derby.”
“The closure and subsequent fall into disrepair of the Royal Infirmary made me question my own relationship with the place where my personal artistic journey intersected with a wider cultural narrative.”
“The hospital existed as a location where the great and meaningful personal events of life’s great journey were played out, a place of wondrous joy and a place of deep painful sorrow.”
“It was an institution central to the life of the city, needed at those pivotal times. Some of us are born in hospital, we come into the world amidst its hullabaloo, secure that within it’s walls expert help is on hand to ease any trauma of the experience.”
“Sometimes it is there that we first encounter the frailties of the journey, maybe a childhood injury or the ill health of a relative. For some of us it is the place where we first realise the inevitable destination of the journey and face our own mortality.”
“The art project necessitated a period of extensive research. I visited the site and explored the empty decaying corridors which still existed in my mind as the busy environment I remembered. I met with members of the Derby nurses League and talked with former nurses who had trained as far back as the 1940s. The result of this was an installation of paintings, drawings and a video projection which was exhibited in Bridgwater in 2015.”
“In my time as a nurse I was fortunate to meet and talk to so many people. People whose lives had traversed the 20th century and been impacted by the unfolding of its history. People who experienced circumstances I would not have been able to bear, and others who could recount memories which seemed to be the stuff of fiction. I was able to be with people at some of these times, at the extremes of life’s rich and varied patterns of experience. I wanted to try to recall that time and recount some of my own narrative, how I grew and changed as a person through the things I learned and the encounters I had.”
“Nurses can tell some compelling stories and I hope some of my experiences as a student and whilst working in the profession may be interesting and perhaps even a little entertaining. But more than that, I want to be able to retell some of the many, many stories I was privileged to have had shared with me, those brief glimpses into the lives of others.”
“This text is of course a fictionalised re-membering, so I have changed names, I have combined things from different people and made new stories. There are places and events I have been told of, that I have swapped around, that I have added to, or deliberately decided to leave out.”
“Mostly I am telling people’s stories because nobody exists in a vacuum, all of our individual journeys intersect with those around us and in those meetings history is made.”