BBC Radio 4 Open Country

The Haslar Heritage Group  and Shore Leave at Haslar featured in a recorded programme in the BBC Radio 4 series ‘Open Country’

Broadcasted on Thursday 19th December 2013 at 3pm and and available to listen again here>

The Open Country team visited Haslar on the 22nd November and spent the whole morning interviewing members of the Heritage Group, QARNNS and VAD Archive and Shore Leave at Haslar.

Anne-Marie Bullock Producer was on her first visit to Haslar amazed at the historical background of the hospital and those who cared for the sick and injured of the Navy. She wrote back to me after completing the programme ready for transmission… ‘I’ve just mixed the programme and it sounds good. It was pretty heart breaking to have to lose so much recorded material, of what I know could have been in the programme had we an hour but hopefully what makes it into the programme should make a good listen and get others interested in Haslar. The programme runs for 24 minutes.
All who took part hope that many who have a love for Haslar and even more both nationally and internationally will enjoy listening.

Eric C Birbeck MVO

A Rose betwixt two thorns - Eric Birbeck and Peter Derby with Felicity Evans of BBC Radio 4’s Open Country at the front of Haslar.

Standing on a peninsula overlooking the Solent, ‘Royal Haslar’ is a prestigious and historic site that over three centuries from 1753 was the first Naval Hospital that provided a proud and continuous service of care to the sick and injured of the Navy and Army returning from 18th and 19th century areas of conflict and battle. Throughout the 20th Century Haslar served those injured in both World Wars and many campaigns and conflicts, whilst in later years from 1948 caring for the people of Gosport and the surrounding area and over the centuries Haslar’s gates were never shut to friend, or foe.
Some of the historic London hospitals have earlier foundations, but Haslar’s story of British military and clinical history is unique. The 8,000 – 12,000 bodies which lie buried in the Paddock and grounds bear testimony to Britain’s global reach since the 1750’s.
Haslar Heritage GroupHaslar as a hospital and the clinicians and staff made considerable contribution to medical advances over the centuries covering medicine, science and geographic exploration with many famous men from Haslar being active in all aspects of research.
The Haslar Heritage Group was founded in 2001 to promote the hospital’s 250th anniversary in 2003 the highlight of which was the recording of the BBC’s ‘Antiques Road show’. The group is now very active in promoting Haslar’s rich history, through publications, talks and lectures. The group also co-operates with the production of historical documentaries and in answering the many global enquiries regarding Haslar’s history.
The groups aim in working with the new owner of Haslar is the formation of a ‘Visitor’s centre’ in order to present Haslar’s history and that of the Royal Naval Medical and Dental Branches, including the Queen Alexandra’s Royal Naval Nursing Service and the Voluntary Aid Detachment.
We hope that whatever your interest that your visit to this site is an enjoyable one.
Please feel free to comment on our face book page.
Read the touching story of this young girl who travelled with her family from Rugby to Gosport in 1818. The Niece of Rev. A Lawrence, the Rector of St. Lukes, died suddenly on the 28th November 1818 while residing in Haslar for treatment and is now buried in the grounds.
Captain Scott’s ill fated ‘Terra Nova’ Expedition to the South Pole the Heritage Group remembers those who served at Haslar and bravely ventured into the frozen wastes of the Northern Arctic and to the Antarctica in the name of exploration.
In 1808 and 1809, a large number of Russian sailors, along with some Russian cavalrymen, passed through the naval hospital at Haslar near Portsmouth.  The story of how they got there and how they eventually returned to Russia constitutes a fascinating and little-known chapter in the Napoleonic wars...
The story of the Mutiny on the Bounty that took place in 1789 has been portrayed on screen, in plays and many books. Little is well known about the trial and the outcome in which only three of the accused mutineers were executed.  Until now...

To those who...

This web site is dedicated to all Sick Berth Staff, Queen Alexandra’s Royal Naval Nursing Service, RN Medical Branch Staff, Wren SBA’s and the Ladies of the Voluntary Aid Detachment who served at Haslar this includes service men and women of all branches who acted in support of the hospital and staff.

The Future of Haslar

We are pleased to announce that we are working with Our Enterprise Haslar on taking the hospital into the future.
Please visit to keep up with the plans.

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The Royal Hospital Haslar was the first of three hospitals built in the 18th century for sick and wounded sailors and marines and was the last to remain in service
Do you recognise a family member in any of the images throughout the site? We'd love to hear from you. Please Contact Haslar Heritage Group.
If you were once a patient or member of staff and would like to share your experiences we'd love to hear from you. Please Contact Haslar Heritage Group.
All information contained within this site was researched and compiled by Eric Birbeck
Photography by Derek Sykes, Peter Young, John Rudgley, Eric Birbeck & Nicola Smith
Information taken from original Graphic Design by Alain Holcroft
Historical Data: 'William Tait MD - A History of Haslar'
Copyright on all photo's remain the property of MoD, Haslar Heritage Group, Eric Birbeck and Nicola Smith and are not to be reproduced without prior permission.
Site Design by Nicola Smith in conjunction with Ann Ryder
Background image reproduced by kind permission of John Pounds
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