Published on: 6th May 2020

Searching for the Grey Lady is a Pegleg Productions project funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund ‘First World War Then and Now’ grant, exploring the RNOH’s First World War heritage and the founding and evolution of this world-renowned orthopaedic hospital. Nicola Lane from Pegleg Productions is looking for help to complete the project and is asking patients, staff and friends of the RNOH to contribute to keep the project alive during the Coronavirus lockdown:

"Through the process of searching for the ‘Grey Lady’, Pegleg Productions proposed enabling  access to archives, research and documentation, including surviving First World War era traces and objects on the Stanmore site, with talks by historians, events, and a final film to reveal and share the RNOH’s legacy of rehabilitation and renewal from the perspective of people whose lives continue to be shaped by that heritage.

But since the arrival of Covid-19 and its traumatic effect on all our lives, Pegleg Productions had to stop contact with participants and stop filming on the RNOH site. So in response to ‘Stay At Home’ and ‘Lockdown’ creativity, we have decided to create a podcast that shares the remarkable story of the RNOH through an atmospheric audio narrative.

To create this narrative, we are inviting RNOH staff, clinicians, patients, the whole spectrum of those involved with the hospital, to take part in the creation of the podcast by reading excerpts from the archives and recording their readings at home on their phone. The texts would be sent via email.

The content would be constructed into an atmospheric narrative by me and my sound designer. Each episode would last around 20 mins and I estimate there would be around 6-8 episodes. Each episode could be ‘premiered’ on Radio Brockley and subsequently available for download. It could then be disseminated by the Lottery and other platforms."

We hope this is useful and that it will encourage you to participate in Searching for the Grey Lady: A Ghost from WW1 at the RNOH podcast project!

Podcast project:

Searching for the Grey Lady: A Ghost From WW1 at the RNOH

Suggestions for recording:  

If you do have better quality microphones, headsets, etc. we encourage you to use them. If you do not, then do record on your phone and try to follow these guidelines from Radio Brockley’s Keith Reeve, to help you record with maximum quality.

The human ear filters out a lot of “noise”, but a microphone doesn’t, so you’d be surprised how many humming fridges, buzzing lights, children playing outside (or inside), TVs, traffic, etc is picked up by the unwitting recording artists’ microphone/phone. 

The acoustics of your surroundings are very important. A kitchen is usually far too lively, a bathroom an absolute no-no for the same reasons, a bedroom is much better as it usually has a lot of soft furnishings which absorb resonance and makes the room acoustically dead.  A cushion placed behind the phone can also work wonders by toning down the acoustic. (Radio 4’s Science Correspondent described recording his piece underneath a duvet!)

When recording from your phone, it is also recommended that you do not hold it in your hand, but rest it on something. This keeps the recording levels steady.

Follow these simple guidelines and it will make a big difference to your recordings!

If you can access the audio settings on your phone, please select 48kz as that is best for my editing programme.

When you have finished recording your piece, save it under your name and send it as an attachment to

Advice on reading text:

Here are some suggestions for reading text aloud, from my husband Tim Morand, veteran actor in radio, TV, film and Voice Over.

He says it is important to read the text AS YOURSELF, with clarity. 

Think of it as storytelling; you want the listener to hear your story.

Before you start, read it through and observe the punctuation.

If there are any words or phrases you don’t understand, familiarise yourself with them before you record.

It is YOUR VOICE that we want. Don’t be shy!

If you have any worries or questions, do email me. I am happy to help!

Nicola Lane

Mobile: 07519028866