The launch of the National Health Service was felt in every walk of life, from churches and factories to garden parties and carnivals.

A vicar in Nunhead in south London urged his congregation to pray for the success of the NHS.

In Leeds, three doctors hired the Kingsway Cinema for an afternoon and invited residents to come along and get their questions answered. Every seat was taken.

Often it was down to ordinary citizens to educate each other about the new service.

Branches of the Women’s Institute and Rotary Club held meetings, while managers of factories and businesses spoke to their workers.

The PA news agency has examined newspaper archives from 1948 to see how the population prepared for the National Health Service.

There are reports of local residents hosting question-and-answer sessions in the village hall of Great Cornard in Suffolk and at a cafe in Paignton in Devon.

In some parts of the country, doctors became unofficial postmen and helped deliver registration forms to people living in remote areas.

In an attempt to recruit nurses – an extra 30,000 were needed – a publicity van toured northern England, handing out application forms and showing off the latest medical gadgets.

Great British Life: Photo dated 27/09/1948 of the new uniform for State Registered Nurses (left), and on the right is the new uniform for State Enrolled Assistant Nurses.Photo dated 27/09/1948 of the new uniform for State Registered Nurses (left), and on the right is the new uniform for State Enrolled Assistant Nurses. (Image: PA/PA Wire)

Another travelling exhibit was launched at the Three Counties’ Agricultural Show in Gloucester.

In the Stage newspaper, actors, musicians and other performers were advised that they would be able to use the health service while they were on tour in the UK, providing they found a doctor who had enrolled.

As the launch date of July 5 1948 neared, many events were held to mark the passing of local hospitals from the control of charities and voluntary groups into the National Health Service.

There was a carnival on the beach in Torquay, a garden party in Northampton and church services in Manchester and Salford.

Fountain pens were presented to the matron and the cook of the Newhills Convalescent Home in Aberdeenshire to mark the end of 75 years of private management.

A nurse in Braunston in Northamptonshire was given an eight-horsepower car in appreciation of her long service, while patients at the Children’s Heart Home in Lancing, West Sussex, were given a film projector for their ward.

The Kilmallie District Nursing Association, in the Highlands of Scotland, held its final meeting after 56 years in existence.

The board of the Royal East Sussex Hospital dissolved itself after 107 years of operation.

And in Gloucester, the Committee of Visitors of the County Mental Hospitals met for the last time after 125 years of service.

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