View Day 2023: what is it and how can I get involved?
View Day is back at St Bartholomew’s on Wednesday 10 May and the celebrations are extra special for our 900th anniversary year.
But what is View is View Day and why is it so important?
Held on the second Wednesday in May every year, View Day has been part of the ‘Barts’ calendar for nearly 500 years and has possibly existed in some form since our foundation in 1123.
Traditionally, View Day has two parts – sharing the work of the hospital with the community and a more formal inspection of its properties.
The origins of presenting the hospital to the community date back to the Easter ‘Spital services’ of the Middle Ages. Patients were walked through the streets to encourage Londoners to donate.
Inspecting property dates back to our re-foundation by King Henry VIII. The medieval buildings were in a state of disrepair and an annual inspection arranged by the new board of governors.
When the hospital was rebuilt in the 18th century, the focus shifted to the wards and, by the 19th century, prizes were awarded for the best one.
From the 1970s a church service was reinstated which this year takes place at the world famous St Paul’s Cathedral just around the corner.
How can I get involved?
At 11.30am Will Palin, chief executive of Barts Heritage, will give a talk in our Great Hall about the project to rescue and repair our Grade I listed North Wing.
The event is free to attend and there is no need to sign up.
From 12pm until 3pm there will be activities in the square including ice creams and stalls.
From 5pm is our 900th anniversary View Day service begins at St Paul’s. This event is now sold out. If you were unable to secure a spot in the ballot earlier this year, you can still watch the event live on the Barts Charity YouTube channel.
I can’t make it – what else is happening?
A free outdoor exhibition featuring previously untold stories from across nine centuries of St Bartholomew’s Hospital will begin a tour of the capital in May.
The exhibition (pictured), curated by our Barts Health Archives service, goes on display in Guildhall Yard from 10 May. It will move to Aldgate Square from 7 June before completing its tour in the iconic square at St Bartholomew’s between 6 July and 1 August.
The exhibition draws on more than 15,000 items that make up our hospital’s historic collection, including ancient account books, maps, art, diaries and photographs.
A smaller version of the exhibition can be seen on the ground floor of our King George V (KGV) wing close to the main reception throughout the summer.
Earlier this month our chief executive Charles Knight gave a Gresham College lecture recounting some of the people, places and events that have shaped St Bartholomew’s over the past nine centuries.
Watch again below.