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Leeds General Infirmary


The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust


Tonic, the arts and environments programme for the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (ULTH) began in 1992 as Arts in Healthcare, when an Arts Co-ordinator, Gail Bolland, was appointed to join the capital redevelopment team. The Trust, then called the United Leeds Teaching Hospitals, was embarking on major capital projects for Chapel Allerton Hospital and the Leeds General Infirmary (LGI). There was no dedicated project budget and funding was initially secured on an ad hoc basis from a percentage from major capital works and fundraising from other sources. The Chief Executive of the Trust and the Divisional Director responsible for the appointment provided essential support and status for the programme in the early stages. This encouragement helped win wider support , especially that of the Special Trustees, who have since played a major funding role for the programme.


Over the last seven years, Arts in Healthcare has achieved an impressive range of commissions within the Leeds General Infirmary especially in the public corridors, lift foyers and reception areas. Commissions include stained glass, wood and brick carvings, linoleum flooring, sculpture, textiles, seating, photographic works and ceramics. The project is increasingly reaching out into the community in Leeds by working in partnership with schools and arts organisations in the city on projects within the hospital. Funding has been received from a wide variety of sources including capital funds from the Trust itself, the National Lottery Arts Fund, local authorities, public and private companies and trusts and foundations. Significant sponsorship in materials and kind has also been received from manufacturers and suppliers in connection with particular commissions.

Jubilee Wing

A major commissioning programme accompanied the building of the LGI’s new Jubilee Wing which was opened in 1997, supported by a percentage of the capital budget and an award from the National Lottery Arts Fund, managed by the Arts Council of England. These commissions include a roof garden by Susan Trangmar, a monumental photographic image on the hospital car park by Pierre d’Avoine and Catherine Elwes, an installation of illuminated photographs by Janet Hodgson and landscaping around the new main entrance by Tess Jaray.

Wider Remit

The Special Trustees were won over by the clear benefits and support within the hospital and from the public for the work of Arts in Healthcare. With the completion of the Jubilee Wing and the merger of ULTH and St James’s University Hospital and Seacroft NHS Trust, the funding of the Arts Co-ordinator’s post was taken over by the Special Trustees, and two further posts to cover fundraising (Josie Aston) and performance arts (Clare Pope) were also funded in this way. Tonic now serves eight sites, St James’s University Hospital (the subject of ‘Jimmy’s’, the first TV hospital documentary series), LGI, Chapel Allerton Hospital, Seacroft Hospital, Cookridge Hospital, Wharfedale Hospital, the Leeds Dental Institute and the Leeds Chest Clinic. The programme is fully integrated into the Trust’s day to day delivery of health services and, in having responsibility for the Trust’s interior design, is able to influence the entire environment and atmosphere of the Trust’s sites by developing a co-ordinated approach to lighting, colour schemes, textures and fabrics used.

© Copyright Joanna Morland 2000