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Dementia patients given a taste of the past with new photo installation

PUBLISHED: 12:25 23 November 2017

Ian Cutting and staff from the ward where the photos have been hung. Pictures: Ipswich Hospital

Ian Cutting and staff from the ward where the photos have been hung. Pictures: Ipswich Hospital

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A ward at Ipswich Hospital has been adorned with a unique collection of photography.

Ian Cutting and sister Tracey Boon look at the photos which have been donated to the ward. Picture: Ipswich HospitalIan Cutting and sister Tracey Boon look at the photos which have been donated to the ward. Picture: Ipswich Hospital

Pictures documenting the changing face of Ipswich have been donated to the recently refurbished Stradbroke Ward to help dementia patients think about the past.

The 22 then and now photos were donated by photographer Ian Cutting, who is based in Newmarket.

Ian was inspired to take pictures of the landmarks after seeing the Victorian stills taken by his great-great-grandfather, Harry.

“Walking in my great-great-grandfather’s footsteps was really interesting, and it was fascinating to see how things have changed over the past 120 years,” said Ian.

“I tried to work out exactly where he would have stood to take the images, which was a bit of a challenge at times as some of the places have changed dramatically, although others have remained largely the same.

“I was amazed at how far he travelled on a horse and cart, especially as his camera would have been much larger than the one I was using!

“I was delighted when Ipswich Hospital contacted me and asked about the photos as my grandmother passed away from dementia so it is something which is close to our hearts.

“It’s great that we can do something as a family to help others while also honouring Harry’s work.”

It is hoped that the pictures will help the patients at the hospital to talk about and consider the past.

Julie Sadler, a senior nurse for dementia care at the hospital, came up with the idea for the installation after seeing Ian’s project on social media.

“We are so grateful to Ian for donating these fantastic pictures to the hospital,” she said.

“We’ve included some very familiar scenes that people will recognise, such as Christchurch Park and Great Blakenham Church, and were fascinated to see that many of the iconic buildings have not really changed in 120 years.

“The photographs will help to provoke memories and trigger conversations to make people’s hospital stays more interesting while helping them feel more secure and comfortable.

“We are very grateful to Ian and his family for their generosity and helping us to further improve the range of support we provide to patients with dementia.”

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