Welcome to the Hospice History Programme website.
The Programme carries out historical work in hospice and palliative care, and related areas. It began in 1995 when Professor David Clark first initiated the Hospice History Project at the University of Sheffield. In the years since, the Programme has developed and built on expertise in recording and documenting history, and safeguarding and cataloguing archival records. The current history team consists of staff from the University and collaborating colleagues from elsewhere and is located within the International Observatory on End of Life Care, at Lancaster University.
The Programme Aims
To undertake and to foster academic study in the history of hospices, palliative care and related fields
To catalogue and help safeguard archival records relevant to hospice
and related developments in Britain and Ireland.
To establish a hospice and palliative care digital archive
Why Study Hospice History?
Hospices and the palliative care movement to which they gave rise have helped to transform
ideas and practice relating to the care of seriously ill and dying people
and those close to them.
The work of hospice and palliative care is still developing rapidly and we take the view
that understanding the past can lead to a better awareness of current
issues and dilemmas. We characterise our approach to our subject matter
as that of a 'critical friend'.
We also believe that it is important to capture the voices and stories of the modern hospice founders. The Programme has an extensive collection of oral history interviews with people involved in the growth of the hospice and palliative care movement worldwide. These interviews record personal experiences and perspectives that cannot be found in documentary sources. The Programme also seeks to preserve hospice records that may otherwise be lost to posterity by means of careful and secure archival procedures.