On Easter Sunday 2020, while the College and country endured the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, a call for urgent support in the production of PPE (personal protective equipment) came from the Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Trust.
Rapidly converting empty classrooms, halls and this gallery into a pop-up factory, Morley College London staff and NHS volunteers secured equipment and materials and began producing gowns for use in NHS hospitals, all quality-tested and certified for safe use on the COVID-19 front lines.
Thanks to the efforts of volunteers and Morley College London, more than 30,000 gowns were dispatched to hospitals for use on COVID-19 wards, making a material contribution to the local effort to support the NHS in the face of the disease.
This exhibition is hosted in gratitude to those who worked so hard and sacrificed for the national effort against the COVID-19 pandemic, and Morley College London’s part in that effort.
Joe Newman and Hold Still
Joe Newman is a London and Belfast based photographer who worked as an NHS volunteer at Chelsea during the effort to supply PPE gowns to the NHS front line services.
During his time working at the Chelsea Centre, he took a series of photographs of volunteers producing PPE at the pop-up factory, which was set-up in Chelsea’s classrooms and galleries.
Newman then entered one of these Photographs into the National Portrait Gallery’s “Hold Still” contest for pictures, which depicted a collective portrait of the UK under lockdown, judged by a panel led by Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.
The photograph was not only selected for this online exhibition, it was chosen as one of the Director’s personal favourites, a bold and beautiful portrayal of Morley College London in lockdown, supporting the national effort.