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The University of Chester Riverside Museum, based at Wheeler (formerly County Hall and the Riverside Campus) on Castle Drive, contains a permanent collection of curiosities from the world of medicine, nursing, midwifery and social work which features an original letter from Florence Nightingale, written from the Crimea in 1856. The First World War: Returning Home exhibition commemorates the 100-year anniversary of the conflict and provides an insight into what a soldier invalided back from the Front would have found on his return to Cheshire. Using local examples wherever possible, the exhibition covers aspects such as medical advances, the psychological effects of war, volunteering and volunteer nurses, a doctor’s country practice, home life, food and recipes, rural life and social welfare. This exhibition has been refurbished with the generous help of the Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Heritage and the volunteers are in the process of expanding the exhibition to cover more about the inter-war years, particularly the 1918-19 flu pandemic as a comparison with the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Faculty of Health, Medicine and Society (FHMS) Historical Society is pleased to confirm that the Museum is now open on the first Wednesday afternoon in the month from 1-4pm  for pre-booked external visitors and students and staff and this will be followed by a free talk during term time. External visitors need to pre-book by contacting: or 01244 512126. See the dates when the Museum will be open, together with the programme of talks and further updates will be posted here.  Please note that visitors are encouraged to maintain social distancing and regularly use alcohol-based hand rub/wash hands when coming into contact with surfaces. Group bookings for six or more people can also be made at other times by prior arrangement by using the contact details above. 

Visitors should go to the main Wheeler reception opposite the River Dee where they will be directed. There is no car parking available and visitors are advised to use city centre car parks or public transport. For all the latest programme details, please visit:

Here is a flavour of what the Museum contains:

Background to the Museum collection by Colin Jones

Chester has provided mental health care services since 1829 in the then named County Lunatic Asylum. The hospital has over the years had a number of names including Deva Hospital and West Cheshire Hospital. Moston Hospital, a former military hospital, was offered for civilian use in 1960 and some services from Deva Hospital moved there. The first collection of items was saved from The County Lunatic Asylum and was housed in Moston Hospital Nurse Training School in the late 1960s and early 1970s. With the impending closure of Moston Hospital, the objects were moved to West Cheshire Hospital and featured in the Chester Chronicle’s review of the 150th Anniversary of West Cheshire Hospital. The collection remained in the hospital for a number of years and was moved from room to room as the hospital developed and changed. It was available for staff to view and became of particular interest to nursing students, who had planned visits to the museum. Inevitably the collection shrank in size as some items were lost over the years. In 2005, with the closure of West Cheshire Hospital and the opening of Bowmere Hospital, the collection was stored in the basement of the 1829 building, the current home of Western Cheshire Primary Care Trust, as there was no suitable room to display the items. The sixtieth anniversary of the National Health Service was celebrated in 2008 and the Faculty of Health and Social Care at the University of Chester appealed for healthcare items to form a display. The ‘West Cheshire Collection’ came out of storage and a number of further items were acquired by the University of Chester. In 2009 the ‘Historical Society’ was founded and the development of a museum became a core feature of the society. The collection was then expanded to include items from Social Work and Social Care. With the move of the Faculty from the Main University Campus to Wheeler in 2011 came an offer of a room in the basement, and this has allowed further development of the museum. The two exhibition rooms are now open on a regular basis and we welcome visitors to share and enjoy this collection with the enthusiastic volunteers. 


If you have any queries about the Museum and its related programme of talks, or would be interested in becoming a volunteer, please contact us:


Tel: 01244 512126

University of Chester
Castle Drive

Contact Information

Faculty of Health, Medicine and Society Historical Society