We are very excited to be able to tell you about our latest project for NHS Redcar and Cleveland and the Stead Memorial Hospitals League of Friends. We are creating a unique heritage mural for the new hospital, to enable visitors to discover more about the now closed Stead Hospitals history.

The display will include a written history, photos, memorabilia, documents and artefacts. Hospital staff, former patients and local families, are being encouraged to play their part in the history project by sharing memories dating right back to when the Stead first opened in 1929. Shown above is the approved design visualisation as it might appear; one of four options shown at the very well attended public meeting held at the hospital on the 6th October 2010.

Dr John Stead was not a doctor of medicine but a highly qualified and distinguished Doctor of Science, specialising in metallurgy and specifically in the extraction of iron from its ore. After he died, in 1923, his family bequeathed his home to the local council to turn into a Cottage Hospital.

The landscape of Redcar and its surroundings are dominated by the stunning coastline, with its 8 mile long beach backed with dunes and nature reserve wetlands. This natural beauty contrasts with the dramatic silhouettes on the horizon of the steelworks and blast furnace, the Tees estuary teeming with cargo vessels, and the industrial complex at Wilton.

To do justice to the history of the Stead Memorial Hospital we aim to show its role at the heart of the Redcar community, set within its dramatic industrial and natural surroundings. We also aim to emphasize the impact and importance of the steel industry, without which the hospital would not have existed.

Local history and heritage should be made accessible to all ages and one of the projects aims is to encourage children, both in school parties and individually with their parents, to look at the display, to ask questions and find answers both about the hospital and the local environment. With this in mind we are working with local schools to devise a history project about the Stead Hospital allowing them to find the answers in the mural.

Coatham Marsh is a 134 acre nature reserve which attracts a diverse and important range of wildlife and birds. We are working with Tees Valley Wildlife Trust to include silhouette illustrations of the flora and fauna at the wildlife sanctuary as a border to the mural. The aim being to create a booklet, as a downloadable online resource, in which children can match the silhouettes with full colour illustrations and descriptive text. The digital booklet could also be made available at the hospital, local schools and from the Wildlife Trust.

With the link between the steel industry and the founding of the hospital being so strong, we have designed a polished steel frame incorporating a frieze depicting the dramatic skyline of both the steelworks and industrial complex.

The combination of steel framed frieze, nature reserve silhouette border and the detailed historical mural will, we believe, answer the challenges of creating a dramatic and unique heritage display for Redcar Community Hospital.

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