Collecting Nursing History 43
Amy Rosalie Scott, 1896-1967
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Amy’s ‘V.A.D’ Autograph book was recently sold at auction; inside she had written her name, along with details of the two war hospitals in which she worked during World War One. Using this information it has been possible to find her living family, who knew her well, and who still have photographs of her, including two of her as a V.A.D.
Amy was the eldest child of five and was born at 35 Windsor Street, Nottingham on 23rd December 1896 to Mark Scott, a Baker Journeyman and his wife Isabella.5 Family Oral History recalls that Amy’s father Mark started his working life as a Baker and worked at J D Marsdons, a large bakers in Nottingham, but then began to experience respiratory problems and became an odd job man around the place. He would light the ovens for the bakers and do some paper work. Amy’s mother was a tailoress who worked from home; ‘She was a really lovely lady who would light up any room’.4
In 1911 Amy,
was living with her parents at 17 Stretton Street Nottingham; she
was aged 15 years and was working as a Gilt Binder for a Picture
Framer and her father was working as a Carter for an Ironmongers
Photograph of the Scott Family, copyright the Scott Family.
Back row; Little girl with glasses Mable, Amy, George Henry “Harry
In 1917, when she was
aged 21 and eligible to become a VAD member Amy joined the British
Red Cross as a V.A.D; Voluntary Aid Detachments were voluntary units
who provided nursing and other services during World War One. The term V.A.D.
was applied to the nurses who worked in these units, those who
worked, like Amy in a Military Hospital were given a £5 allowance
for theirs, whilst those who worked in Auxiliary Hospitals had to
buy their own.2 Amy who came from a working class family
would not have been able to afford the uniform required by VAD’s who
worked in the Auxiliary Hospitals. Following a probationary one
month period the VAD in a Military Hospital signed a six month
contract, with pay of £20/annum, at the end of which the VAD had the
option of renewing for a further six months; each renewal was linked
to a £2 10s increment in pay.3
The British Red Cross Society, were able to supply Amy’s Service card:
Amy’s British Red Cross Service Card, Copyright, BRCS.
Below: The inside cover of Amy’s Autograph Book.
Amy worked, firstly in
Catterick Military Hospital, Yorkshire from April 1916 to November
1918, and then at Stanley sailors Hospital Holyhead, from November
1918 to April 1920. These dates do not match those given on her
record card, the earlier date would have meant that she was 20 when
she joined the BRCS; this is not uncommon for someone to have been
economical with their age in order to serve. The family lived in
Stretton Street during the war, Amy’s brother Harry has this address
on his discharge papers; he served with the Northumberland Fusiliers
1917 – 1919. Harry worked for the Co-operative Society, for over 30
years, apart from his war service; below is a picture of him with
his horse and cart from which he delivered bread and milk. Harry
followed his father; he worked as Nottingham and Derby Co-op
bakeries, eventually as area manager.
Above: Amy is on the second row from the back on the right-hand
side, taken when she was working at the Stanley Sailors Hospital
The little battered
autograph book, measuring 4 inches by 3, a suitable size to fit in a
pocket is completely full in its entirety; the entries in her
autograph book, reflect soldiers concerns at the time; including a
telephone number for the Kaiser, pictures of the young pretty nurse
who cared for them, and feelings about the war. They indicate where
some of them have served: Montenegro, and show excellent artistic
talents, reflecting life skills at the time.
After the war Amy became a Nurse to two old ladies, whose surname was thought to be Lowater and it is thought that they lived in Newport, South Wales. It has not been possible to find Amy in the General Nursing Council registers; occasionally nurses were allowed to register in 1921-1923 on the basis of their former experience working as a nurses, rather than with the usual formal certificate of training. It is likely that Amy used her VAD experience and worked as an unqualified nurse.
Family oral history says that when they died they left money to Amy and shortly after that Amy, her father Mark and Mother Isabella moved from Nottingham to Blackpool to manage a hotel called The Belvedere on the south shore. After the owner died Amy bought a guest house in Blackpool, and her parents moved there to prepare meals, during World War Two they looked after 40 RAF recruits there.
history has been corroborated by the will of Miss Mabel Lowater, who
died in Gloucester in March 1954, and left £300 to Amy Rosalie
Scott, along with all her household furniture, clothing and
jewellery. Amy was living in Newport at the time. Miss Lowater also
bequeathed the rest of the estate to her sister Fanny for her
lifetime; thereafter it was to pass to Amy. Fanny died aged 93, in
Midhurst three years later.7
Amy’s parents in Blackpool.
In 1944 they moved back to College Road, Long Eaton Nottingham because Amy’s father became ill with Cancer; Amy’s mother died in 1960. Amy married age 64, an old friend John William Henry Harrison, aged 67, on 2nd December 1961 in Sawley Parish Church; John was a widower and retired Shop Manager.6 His father who was also deceased like Amy’s father, had been a Brick Maker. At the time of their marriage Amy was living in Sawley, and gave her profession as a Nurse/ companion. Amy’s sister Dora, with whom she was living prior to the marriage was one witnesses.
Amy was reputedly fit and healthy, and died during a small operation, which was a great shock for her family; so far it has not been possible to locate her death certificate.
It was said
that Amy liked the best of everything and that use to make the
family laugh! The family remember Amy as a very clever independent
lady and they recall Amy rolling her sleeves up at the Hotel and
getting stuck into the work. Perhaps her Soldier patients also saw
this in her!
Amy; Christmas 1934.
Photographs copyright The Scott family.
1. The street was knocked down in the late 60’s early 70’s when they were developing Nottingham it was by the Victoria train station. The Victoria shopping centre is built on that area now.
2. http://www.edwardianpromenade.com/war/wwi-wednesday-becoming-a-vad, accessed 19th October 2014.
3. The increments were limited to a total salary of £30/annum.
4. Oral History from Amy’s niece and great niece.
5. General Register Office, Copy of the Birth Certificate of Amy Rosalie Scott.
6. GRO, Copy of the Marriage Certificate of Amy Rosalie Scott and John Harrison.
7. HM Courts and Tribunals Service, the Will of Miss Mabel Lowater, 14th March 1954; www.freebmd.co.uk, accessed 23rd November 2014.
Many thanks to Suzy, Amy’s great niece and her mother for sharing their families history, and photographs, and to the British Red Cross Society for supplying Amy’s Service cards.
Copyright, Sarah Rogers, 23rd November 2014.
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