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Support for Restoring Part of Hospital History

Tuesday 22 January 2008

Southlanders Show Support for Restoring Unique Part of Hospital History

Nine newly restored sets of historic 1937 children’s ward nursery rhyme tiles will be unveiled at Southland Hospital this Friday afternoon, whilst a tenth set will the subject of discussion at a museum talk by conservator, Robert Clendon, following community donations to restore a unique part of hospital history.

The Hereford nursery rhyme tiles are part of a total 38 sets, originally donated by 'The Little Southlanders’ ( a regular feature with "Cousin Betty" in the Southland Times), when the hospital first opened in 1937. The tiles were later removed from the walls and put into storage, when the children's ward closed during the 1990s A project to restore the tiles was initiated in 2004 by the Inner Wheel Club of Invercargill South, whose fundraising enabled the first seven sets to be successfully restored and returned for display in the hospital in December 2006.

“When we unveiled the first seven sets of restored tiles, there was a significant amount of community interest which prompted a number of new donations to restore further sets of tiles,” said Lexie O’Shea, Interim Deputy CEO “One year later and we’re ready to return the next ten sets to Southland Hospital’s walls.”

The ten sets of newly restored nursery rhyme tiles include favourites such as “Baa Baa Black Sheep”, “Little Miss Muffet,” “This Little Pig” and “Jack and Jill.”

“The restoration of these historic tiles is an exciting project to be a part of and we’re hopeful that this Friday’s unveiling will generate further community interest and support to help us restore the remaining 18 Sets," Mrs O'Shea said.

Experienced conservator, Robert Clendon of Heritage Conservation, who undertook the detailed restoration work, will be giving a talk to members of the public keen to hear more about his restoration work on the historic tiles at 7.30pm, Friday evening.

Southland Museum and Art Gallery manager, Gael Ramsay, said that Mr Clendon would also speak about his work with the late Sir Edmund Hillary on the conservation of historical huts in Antarctica.

“Having Robert here to give a talk to the community about the tiles’ restoration work, as well as his work with the late Sir Edmund Hillary, is a unique opportunity for Southlanders to hear more about the role of a conservator and preserving our history,” said Mrs Ramsay. “We welcome and encourage members of the public to join us for this event.”

Southland Hospital Nursery Rhyme Tiles Unveiling
Friday 25 January 2008 at 4.00pm, Ground Floor, Southland Hospital corridor (near the Children’s Ward). Open to the public.

Museum Talk by Robert Clendon
Friday 25 January 2008 at 7.30pm, Southland Museum and Art Gallery. Open to the public, no entry fee.


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