June last year our own forum member and moderator 'backman' started
what became a popular topic named 'What was in your
postbag today'? When my
attempts to answer became too long I decided to attempt, (rather than
waste my abortive efforts to add to the forum), to write this short article based upon what was in
just one of my own postboxes. All the badge descriptions are cribbed
from backman's website - the origin of most of the book/badges I
on that occasion. So here goes....
At risk, perhaps, of laying myself open to an accusation of
cheating - by stealing a topic from our own forum - I thought that you might just like to see what was in my
mailbox today. But before I do that I think that I need to admit
that I have not just one, but two postboxes… One is in
Lincoln (UK) and the other in Crete, Greece. In some ways this gives
me a distinct advantage – one or the other will tend to fill up
whilst the other is revealing the goodies it contains while I am
between the two! Which is often!
And the last one I opened was the UK box. And what a plethora of
nursing history items fell out (not to mention the bills!) it was
like Christmas MKII…. And the first – a superb and major unexpected
surprise – what may seem to others a simple book - ‘Nottingham
General Hospital: Personal Reflections’ by John & Lowe, David Bittiner, Publisher: Special Trustees for Nottingham Date published:
1990. Binding: Paperback.
Gorgeous, superb condition and
extremely readable. In fact, I was well into the book before I had
realized that I was supposed to be checking my mailbox! I suppose
that I am severely prejudiced as my first promotion after qualifying was to
Nottingham, where I was interviewed with several other candidates
(8) for a humble D/CN post. There were only two places. The interview
was by the entire HMC. I got one of the posts! In spite of
apparently failing to answer a question from an elderly female
member about whether I liked football. It was an extremely happy time
Onward. The next item after the book was icing on the cake! The Nottingham
General Hospital badge itself..!
Nottingham General Hospital
A beautiful silver gilt and enamel Nurses badge for the
General Hospital Nottingham. One of my favourite designs
it features the 3 superimposed crowns in relief. Very
good condition with enamel in excellent state pin and
catch intact. Some staining to the rear which I haven't
attempted to clean. Hallmarked for Birmingham
1944,numbered 585,makers mark Vaughton and Son.
Code: 50128 Price
what a wonderful item it is, promise, For me, the only question
remaining was who, if anyone was the badge awarded to. I usually
only purchase badges which bear a nurse name, together with
hopefully a date on the reverse.
But exceptional badges in exceptional circumstances demand
exceptional action. This was clearly one of those times,
And then, more icing on the cake, The Nottingham City Hospital
Nurses badge described below….
Nottingham City Hospital Silver Nurses Badge 1935
A nice silver and enamel badge for Nottingham City
Hospital dating to 1935.The hospital had previously been
known as Bagthorpe Workhouse Infirmary until it became
Nottingham City Infirmary in 1930.The Nursing school
which was set up in 1929 did issue a similar badge with
NCI but altered to this design when the hospital changed
it's name again in 1934/35.The motto translates as the
end crowns the work. The badge itself is silver with
hallmarks for 1935 and makers mark JWT. There is a small
chip to the enamel at the base of the badge but
otherwise it is in a good condition with pin intact.
Code: 50149 Price
For me, another stunning item. Followed by another of my
The Prince of
Wales's General Hospital Plymouth Nurses Badge
A very nice nurses badge from The Prince of Wales's General Hospital, dating to the 1950s or 60s. The badge is in a good
condition overall with no chips or flaking to the design which
features the dove with olive branch over the Prince of Wales's
feathers. It has however lost it's pin. Makers marks for Thomas
Fattorini Ltd Regent Street Birmingham Height 32mm.
The hospital which closed around 1983 has been converted to
Prince of Wales's Hospital Plymouth Silver Nurses Badge
A nice silver and enamel Nurses badge from the Prince of
Wales's Hospital Plymouth. Good condition overall, minor
ding to enamel near to L of Hospital but otherwise
good, Pin and clasp intact. Named to rear I.L.Rickard
No.288 Greenbank Road. Hallmarks for Birmingham 1945
makers marks for Thomas Fattorini
Code: 50048 Price
But one mustn’t be
greedy – just pass (the next) package!
And there it was – another piece of total magic. The large
(perforated) London Hospital School of Nursing badge. I had been
lucky; and then I had been disappointedly unlucky; and then, almost
by magic, lucky again. All around the same badge….
The London Hospital School of Nursing Large 1st Pattern
A Nice example of the rare First Pattern badge from the
London Hospital. This large size proved too heavy for
wear weighing down the nurses aprons when attached. It
was replaced by the smaller badge in the similar design.
This comes in it's original case from John Pinches of
London, which bears the crest of the hospital upon the
lid, There slight lifting of some of the edges to the
paper cover of the box but this can be repaired.
The badge itself is in uncleaned condition and the face
is in good condition except for one small pin hole to
the red enamel in the upper arm of the cross. The rear
has lost its securing clasp and I have not replaced
this( I am able to get a professional repair done by my
jeweller however this will incur an extra cost).
The pin is intact. It is engraved to Ellen M Hazell
August 1928-August 1931 November 1932 London Hospital J
Pinches London. Weight 33 grammes Height 47mm
A desirable badge, in good condition. For your opportunity
to own this badge do please contact me if wish to
discuss reserving this badge and purchasing it over a
Code: 50165 Price:
Next came an absolutely gorgeous Plymouth SRN Medal. I have
collected Plymouth since writing the nursing history of WWII
Sister Marjorie Early...
The City Hospital Plymouth Silver Nurses Medal
A Silver Nurses medal from the City Hospital
Plymouth with original ribbon and suspension bar.Pin
and clasp intact.
Named to the rear October 1950 Beatrice Pearce S.R.N.
Hallmarked for 1950, makers mark for the Birmingham
Badge and Medal Company. Height 75mm
Code: 50037 Price
And then another surprise. A serious one...
In the same package – and a complete and utter absolute surprise – a
second Plymouth City Hospital Silver Nurses Medal – gratis…
The City Hospital Plymouth Silver Nurses Medal
A Silver Nurses medal from the City Hospital Plymouth
with original ribbon and suspension bar. Pin and clasp
Named to the rear October 1942 - S.R.N. Nurse D.
Hallmarked for xxxx, makers mark for the Birmingham
Badge and Medal Company. Height 75mm
Code: 50037 Price
Stunning! Did the Vendor mean it, or was it a mistake
during packing that I would have to return? I had to ask. And the
answer was no, it was deliberate – ‘it would be a shame to break up
what had been a pair’….. I owe the vendor a huge favour – maybe two
– maybe more…
Definitely more…. Because the vendor, knowing of my penchant for
collecting Plymouth badges had included a third Plymouth medal…
'Village Nurse'. Superb definition - almost EF (definitely
'Fine"). Unnamed - but I am not one to look gift-horses in the
mouth. Or should that be not one for looking into the mouths of
Village Nurse – Trained Plymouth Nurse
An extremely nice bronze pendant badge on a beautiful
wine coloured Ribbon and a possibly gold plated hanging
bar itself perfectly inscribed ‘Village Nurse’. Top part
of then ribbon showing serious wear, but the badge
itself (flat bronze) is in perfect condition. Face side
in relief wit a central shield bearing the legend ‘Deo
Juvante’ No nurse name. .Height 30mm.
Code: 50149 Price
Maybe more owing?…. Quite definitely. Considerably more by any
measure of generosity…
Things couldn’t improve now, could they? They did - with the very
A 1914 Nurses Cape badge – Prince of Wales’s General
These badges were worn on the outside of those superb
woolen capes issued to every nurse for at least 90
years. I don't have a description of the actual cape
worn with this badge, but at a guess it could have been
deep navy blue with a red lining, or, perhaps more
likely, that superb military grey cape of the QAIMNS.
.Badge height 30mm.
it was not this angle that excited me most. And I may be quite wrong
about this - but there was an Agnes E. Pavey who was once a Sister
Tutor at several hospitals - the Middlesex County Hospital, London;
the East-Suffolk Hospital, Ipswich; Queen Mary's for the East-End;
and the Government Hospital, Southern Rhodesia. That lady wrote "The
Story of the Growth of Nursing, as an art, a vocation, and a
profession". (Faber & Faber, London. (1937). I have a copy. Mine
was printed on wartime 'economy paper' in 1944. The first edition
was published in 1938. But my excitement (possibly misplaced) goes
much deeper than those facts....
If this badge was once
owned by such a distinguished lady then I owe her my very belated
and utterly sincere thanks. She would be one reason that for the
last twenty years or so much of my life has been spent at our second
home - here on Crete! To explain. I became besotted right at the
beginning of my nurse teaching career when I first read chapter II -
(2) of this book. It is the real beginning of the book (the first
chapter being an overall introduction) and is headed, quite simply,
“There is a long narrow island to
the south of the Aegean Sea which sixty centuries ago was
then the centre of a civilisation…. This is the island
of Crete, undoubtedly the cradle of a civilisation…It’s
wonders undreamed of by any recorders of history until,
in the first years of this century… uncovered the
….palaces of Knossos and Phaistos”…. Agnes E. Pavey.
I was hooked! I still am, line and sinker - so much so that my
wife and I bought and renovated a ruined house on Crete for our
retirement - now 21 years ago. The thought of my
possibly owning the cape badge of Agnes Pavey (E. Agnes Pavey), and
a copy of her superb book, is almost overwhelming. I think that Pavey
was hooked too, which is probably why she wrote the book….
next – could anything improve on what had gone before? Well,
allowing for the relationship between hearts and minds, for me, yes,
A QARANC sweetheart brooch – unspeakably gorgeous! The photograph
simply cannot do justice to the reality of this beautiful
brooch – promise. This piece certainly retains its popularity as the
most prized example in my QARANC badge collection!
'Barrysutton' one of our members and a veritable font of knowledge -
especially on military items – had already identified the metal as
Marcasite, (an iron disulphide. A metal Pyrite very popular in the
Art Deco period). Barry says that they 'used to sell them in the
R.A.M.C./Q.A.R.A.N.C. museum, around the 1970's - marasite on
silver, they cost about £20 each'... No doubt any QARANC ladies
among us (and many others) will have recognized this before well
Ask.com says 'During its heyday, Art Deco represented luxury,
glamour, exuberance, and faith in social and technological
progress'. Certainly very popular during the 20's, '30's, and 40's
for jewelry among other things Art Deco lost much of its popularity
after the 1960’s’. Perhaps so, but beauty, as the saying goes, is
in the eye of the beholder. In my eye, and by any standards this
badge is simply beautiful. And exquisitely made.
And there I was, at the end of my own magical mystery tour of my
mailbox – or at least my English mailbox. Eight superb
badges and the cream on the cake? Well, that’s a very difficult
question. So many superb items….. I want to say ‘all of them’ – but
if my arm were being twisted I would have to say:-
‘Nottingham General Hospital: Personal Reflections’ by John & Lowe,
David Bittiner, Publisher: Special Trustees for Nottingham Date
published: 1990. Binding: Paperback.
For myself, this book is its own complete ‘Magical Mystery Tour’.
Nottingham - where I gained my first promotion after qualifying (as
an RMN) all those years ago; the first time away from home; my first
bank account; my first introduction to the real world of nursing;
and where, after many years of experience and courses, (including a
Nottingham University M.Ed.,) I finally returned as a Senior Tutor
when the school I was working in (Lincoln) was absorbed by the
Mid-Trent College of Nursing and Midwifery (aka Nottingham School of
Nursing). Where my own career in nursing and nurse teaching was
Almost a return home....
Appreciation & Acknowledgements
1. Peter Maleczek -
http://www.petersnursingcollectables.com/ for copyright
permissions. Photos 1-7
2. Barry Sutton - Contribution
3. Photos 8/9/10. Kind permission.
copyright 'mandacollectables' - (hotmail.co.uk).
4. Photos 11 & 12. Kind permission.
copyright 'Anotherluckyb' - (ebay).