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The Knittingale Hospital at The Workhouse and Infirmary

A view of the front of the NHS Knittingale Hospital with the knitted rainbow arching over the building
The NHS Knittingale Hospital is on display at The Workhouse | © National Trust

Margaret Seaman has found worldwide recognition for her textile creations that have raised over £100,000 for charitable causes. The Workhouse and Infirmary is proud to present the Knittingale Hospital, which is one of her latest designs created during the COVID lockdown and offered as a tribute to the National Health Service.

Firbeck Infirmary has a history going back to the days before the National Health Service (NHS) was introduced to the nation. It evolved over time as it recognised the changing policies and procedures that the NHS put into place. It is a fitting building to display Knittingale Hospital and show how healthcare institutions have changed over time.

A picture of Margaret Seaman, the creator of Knittingale Hospital, with the piece in the background and some Workhouse staff smiling at the back.
Margaret Seaman (front) created Knittingale Hospital and worked alongside Workhouse staff (back) to get it displayed in Firbeck Infirmary | © National Trust

Margaret has already found worlwide fame for her creations, which include a knitted Buckingham Palace and a knitted Great Yarmouth. All the creative aspects of its production are needled by Margaret's skillful hands. Because of her dedication and passion, she was awarded the British Empire Medal in the Jubilee honours.

A zoomed in view of the inside of the Knittingale Hospital with beds and knitted patients
Some of the finer detail of what you can see inside the hospital | © National Trust

The display was created over the Covid lockdown at a time when the NHS was our crucial foundation for weathering the storms of this difficult period in all our lives. The Knittingale Hospital, which tooks hours upon hours to complete, has been dedicated to the NHS as a symbol of respect for the organisations importance and for everyone involved in its running.

A close-up of a knitted nurse holding a needle. The sign in front days 'Get Your Jab Here'.
The hospital is relevant to what we expect at a hospital today. | © National Trust

Florence Nightingale had an interest, and was influential in, nursing in Workhouses across the country. The name 'Knittingale' is a playful reference to Florence Nightingale and the hospitals that benefited from her actions as a nursing pioneer.

A quote by Fiona LewinNational Trust (The Workhouse and Infirmary) Senior Collections and House Officer

The display is raising vital funds for Addenbrooks Hospital in Cambridge. You can make a donation while in Firbeck Infirmary by scanning a QR code. Alternatively, you can donate using the link below.

The hospital will be available to view until the end of October when the Workhouse and Infirmary closes for the season. It is on the first floor of Firbeck Infirmary, and viewing the piece is included in your normal site admission fee. For those with accessibility requirements, a lift is available.