Veterinary staff at the Blue Crossí Victoria Hospital got a
taste of what life would have been like when Victoria Hospital first opened in
1906, by dressing in period costume to help celebrate the hospitalís
centenary. Clad in big, full skirts or
stiff tweed suits, the staff worked all day in their restrictive outfits, and
got some idea of the difficulties early 20th century staff would
have faced. In addition to the
costumes, a mock-up of an early clinic was carefully constructed to show how it
would have looked and been run in 1906, complete with old examination equipment,
boxes of medication and test tubes from that time.
With so many years spent devoted to Londonís needy animals,
the charity has many photographs spanning back through time. Displayed proudly in the hospitalís
reception, these photos show staff at work throughout the last century and
highlight just how much the hospital has changed throughout the years. Featuring some images of working throughout
the Blitz in World War II, when staff often worked by candlelight, the staff
and visitors of today were able to see just how fortunate clients and staff are
to have the facilities available now.
In the first year of Victoria Hospitalís existence the
donkey ward was an integral department, and one of its first cases for
treatment was a mare belonging to a flower dealer from Notting Hill, which was
successfully treated for pneumonia. First into the cat ward was a grey tabby kitten, whose foot was injured
in a road traffic accident Ė some things have not changed that much after
all! In that first year, the Victoria
treated 10,957 patients, of whom 1,226 were horses and donkeys, 3750 were cats
and 4436 dogs. Last year, nearly a
century on, 81,984 animals were treated at Blue Cross hospitals across the UK.
Most of todayís Blue Cross clients are elderly pet owners,
for whom pet ownership is a vital lifeline, and their pet an important
companion. Often these elderly owners
would be unable to afford the treatments needed by their pets if the Blue Cross
did not provide the services it does. To find out more about The Blue Cross visit their website.