Collecting Nursing History 7
Collecting Nursing Badges - Replica Badges

Ali Costelloe 
(All photos Alicostelloe)
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Editorial: The subject of reproduction badges in the sphere of nursing badges is relatively new. Schoolsofnursing receives regular requests from nurses who no longer have the badges issued to them. Lost; stolen; mislaid; sent to the laundry still attached to their uniforms!  Precious items no longer in their possession. Replacing missing badges is an article in itself - we will be publishing ours in the near future, but meanwhile, our attention has been drawn to the possibility of replacing that missing badge with a reproduction from an independent source, Urban Explorer and ebay seller 'alicostelloe' who tells us here how he came to enter the badge reproduction field...

Ali Costelloe...
As an urban explorer, I seek to find out as much as possible about the places that I visit and photograph, and sites such as 'schoolsofnursing' can connect me to people that have experience in the nursing profession, as well as those that are interested in collecting badges.
My first dalliance with badges came in late 2007. I'd seen the design for Cane Hill Hospital's badge, on paperwork, ebay and Simon Cornwell's Urbex website, and as this particular hospital was such a Mecca for urban explorers, I decided to produce a batch of badges as a souvenir for those that had visited the hospital, or were interested in it. These were sold on various community forums, simply as a keepsake.
By the end of 2008, the majority of a large batch had been sold, either through community forums, in person to friends and associates, or a couple that I'd put on ebay as an experiment, declaring that the badge was a replica, but to test the desirability of them.  I had no intention of producing badges for collectors, to be honest I wasn't aware that there was a badge collecting scene until I placed the badge on ebay. One badge had a mistake on the listing, not making it clear that it was a modern replica, and bidding reached 80 before I informed the winning bidder that it was a replica, and the badge was sold for the same price it was available on the forums. I guess this is when I first became aware of the badge collecting community, and how competitive it can be.
Having researched badges for other hospitals I discovered that certain badges were more desirable than others, and looked into making up a badge for Severalls Mental Hospital, another popular destination for Urban Explorers, (and a hospital excellently portrayed in Diana Gittens' book "Madness in it's Place").  A small batch was made up from an image of an original that appeared on an urban exploration website, and having taken pre-orders on these, funds were raised to produce another badge.
While these badges were in production, I was contacted by Mark Davis, a historian and researcher who has sought to record the history of High Royds Hospital, in Menston. There is a memorial in the grounds of the half converted Hospital, commemorating the lives of the patients that died and were buried there, and Mark wanted to raise funds for it's upkeep. Having sourced an original Menston Hospital badge, he sent it to me and a design was made up for the most accurate replica badge yet. This large batch was divided between the two of us, with half the badges to be sold in the Hospital's social club, which is still active, and the other half online. More than 300 has been raised for the organisation so far, with more badges of a different design now planned, to increase the funds available.

Funds were made available to produce two other Hospital badges, Whittingham Asylum in Lancashire, and Denbigh Asylum in North Wales. Mid-sized batches of these were produced and sold both on ebay and via forums, with less success than the original 3 batches.

A final set of badges for West Park asylum in Epsom was made up, and less than a quarter of these have been sold.
Funds raised through the sale of my badges goes towards charity, and also towards producing more badges.
I have raised funds to produce more Cane Hill badges, due to popular demand, and I also plan to produce a set of badges for Hellingly Hospital (the East Sussex Asylum), Claybury Asylum (Middlesex), St Georges Hospital (Stafford), Horton Hospital (Epsom), Long Grove Hospital (Epsom), St Ebbas (Epsom) - (The 4 Epsom badges would be made available as a set), and potentially other Lunatic Asylums and Hospitals that the community demands.
Editorial Comment:

The badge set opposite all from 'alicostello', is available on an ebay auction with a starting price of 30 or a 'Buy it Now' Price of  75.

Plus 5.00 postage. Get it for thirty-five pounds and each badge will have cost 3.18 - at 80 that would be 7.27 a badge. Either way a lot less than the original badges... But then these are replicas...

Worth it?

I believe nursing badge collecting to be something of a niche interest, but with the internet and the interest generated from the urbex community, producing these badges will hopefully continue to be financially viable. Badges will always be sold honestly, as replicas, and I want to be able to produce badges that people are proud to own. None of the badges are marked on the back, and the vary in material between hard and soft enamel. I have had some very positive feedback from several collectors and it is their enthusiasm and encouragement that keeps me producing badges.
The following badges are currently available at 5 each - including P&P, but listing details may change without notice.

The three single badges are currently available at 5 each - including P&P, plus a 4 piece set at 15, but ebay listing details may change without notice.

West Park Hospital Pin badge
Claybury Hospital Pin badge
Cane Hill Hospital Pin badge
4 Piece set (Claybury; Hellingley; Rainhill; Cane Hill).

Ali Costelloe
Disclaimer: The opinions and ideas expressed by the author in this article are published without our acceptance of any legal liability. Nothing herein should be interpreted as a schoolsofnursing recommendation or otherwise. We will be exploring this theme further, hopefully including more from Ali Costelloe, in the near future.

Schools of Nursing.

Hospital Photograph Collections.

Nursing and Hospital badges.

Irish Nursing Badges.
Eric Wilkinson.


Nursing Organizations

Statutory Bodies.
Nursing & Midwifery Council.

Professional/Trade Unions.
Royal College of Nursing.

Badge Makers.
Thomas Fattorini.
Marple & Bradley
Brooke (Edinburg)
K&S (Edinburgh)
J.Gaunt (London)
(Stirling Scotland)
Bladon (London)
Toye&Co (London)

Collector links.

Nursing Badges.

Auction sites.
Eg.Tip: Select 'search', 'View Forthcoming Auctions' select 'Search or Browse Lots to be Sold' and enter 'hospitals' in the description field.


Hellingley Repro


Rainhill Repro
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