Collecting Nursing History 53
Eva Summers 1878- 1923
Sarah Rogers
Early Nightingale School of Nursing Badge   Please Note: Whilst every care is taken in checking promoted links, we cannot accept responsibility for your use of third party web links.

Eva Summers 1878- 1923


Born in West Hartlepool in May 1878, Eva was the fourth of nine children born to John Summers and his wife Margaret.(1)  Eva trained at the London Temperance Hospital from 1910-1913 and left in February 1914.(2)

  Above: Eva’s (brass) London Temperance Hospital badge.

She moved to St Peter’s Hospital for three months and then moved to St Mary’s Nursing Home in Ashton-on-Mersey, Cheshire. In December 1914 was promoted to Sister.(3) The home became a Military hospital in February 1915, in response to the devastating
number of soldiers being repatriated home requiring hospitalisation.  Eva applied to the Territorial Force Nursing Service in February 1917. In her reference by the home matron, where she had worked as a sister for over two years Eva was described rather unfortunately as ‘...plodding and not brilliant...’, although the rest of it was positive, and described her as ‘…kind and attentive…(4) Consequently Eva was appointed as a Staff Nurse in the T.F.N.S. at the 4th London General Hospital, which was based in the Maudsley Hospital, Denmark Hill. From 1915 it had a neurological department and was the clearing Hospital for these casualties of war.(5)  By her demobilisation she had been promoted to sister.

Eva was demobbed in 1919 with a glowing reference …'has a good professional ability and is a very capable and sensible person. She is particularly tactful in dealing with difficult patients and is very kind and attentive to the patients'.(6)  Working with soldiers who had been maimed by war and many with neurological injuries must have taken great nursing skill and professionalism.

In 1920 Eva communicated with the T.F.N.S. management about her reference which had unfortunately been despatched to her with the wrong name on. In June 1923 the Joint Nursing and V.A.D. Services Committee wrote to Dame Maud McCarthy, Matron–in–Chief of the TANS to say that Eva, who had been suffering from cancer for some …'considerable'… time had died, aged 45 years.(7) The committee had been allowing her a grant of £2 per week up until her death and decided to show compassion and allow her mother to keep Eva’s T.F.N.S. medal.(8)  Her mother appears to have died that autumn following Eva’s death.

The London Temperance Hospital:

Known as the National Temperance Hospital from 1939 it was originally located in Gower Street, Bloomsbury. It was part of an initiate by the National Temperance League, and the board of governors were all teetotal. Many hospitals believed in the beneficial properties of alcohol which was used in clinical practice. The L.T.H. hoped to prove that they could save money and improve staff productivity by encouraging abstinence. In 1885 the hospital relocated to a site at the back of Euston Station. The N.T.H. became part of the N.H.S. in 1948 and was taken over by University Colle Hospital in 1968. It was finally closed in 1990, and looks likely to be demolished as part of the HS2’s construction plans.(9)

Various badges have been awarded to nurses who trained at the hospital:

Above: variations of the hospital nurses badge.

All the above images copyright



 1., accessed 1January 2016.

 2. Nursing records for 1892-1948 are held by University College NHS Trust.

 3.The National Archives, WO399/14818,Eva Summers accessed 1 January 2016.

 4.The National Archives, WO399/14818,Eva Summers, form II, accessed 1 January 2016.

 5., accessed 1 January  2016.

 6. The National Archives, WO399/14818,Eva Summers, accessed 1 January 2016.

 7. The National Archives, WO399/14818,Eva Summers, June 29.1923, accessed 1 January 2016.

 8. The TFNS were usually very strict about the return of medals to them.


© Sarah Rogers 1st January 2016.


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