Site News
June 2010
(Vol 4 Issue 3) 

Home Schools Region  Forum  Collecting  Galleries History  Bibliography  News Archive  Contact
Welcome to our fifteenth news page here at Schools of Nursing.
Still chasing my own tail... But hopefully bringing a little more of our news to ensure that you know that the site news is actually edited and checked by people and not by our computers. But then if it was computer generated  the news might just be published on time...

First, a failure - Missing Badges.
In the last news I was able to report that Ruth Coulter had set a record - acquiring a replacement for her missing badge
within 24 hours of applying our method. 'Surely thatís a record'  I gloated (a little) somewhat unwisely. As shortly after that another success turned into a disaster when another nurse who had also successfully acquired a replacement lost it to burglars!  And shortly after that I created my own personal failure, (so far), being persuaded by another nurse's husband to attempt to replace his wife's missing badge. Effectively putting my money on my own words. I am still persisting, still persevering - the hardest part I thought - and still unsuccessful. I am finding my own failure to be difficult to accept.... Can it really be this hard? But I will continue to seek this particular badge.

After which it is back to the rules, which I personally broke with the best of intention, and even if I eventually find the badge I seek -  and I quote - "There is one thing that we cannot do however.......we cannot
obtain the badge for you. Sorry."

Nurse Histories.
Our second overdue project - the history of a nurse/midwife, Marjorie Earley, who trained at St Mary's Hospital, Portsmouth in the late 1930's, and who served during WWII with the QARANC territorial army, is still not ready for opening. It is moving to completion though, and the basic history is already on our servers, but it is in need of more work before I will be happy to publish. I can say that it will be on-line fairly soon now, so please don't go away. A good nurse history is well worth any delay.

Our last published article, the first of several detailed/illustrated articles about State Registration badges, went on-line in April. The first is on the topic of GNC for England & Wales Registration badges. It will be followed by further articles on Registration and Enrolment badges - including those Issued by the GNC's for both Scotland and Ireland. You can read the present article right here.

There are of course several articles available. Almost all are about collecting nursing badges. What they are; Why they were issued; badge design; replica badges; how to collect, and so on. Nursing belt-buckles are also presented in an article by Edelweiss James. All articles are illustrated and well worth reading, but there are so many other aspects of nursing history which would be welcome additions and about which articles would be very welcome. Individual hospitals; nurse uniforms; examinations; personal recollections, nursing in the armed forces - in individual services et al.. The list seems endless but we do need more contributions. All ideas are welcome.

The link list of current articles is here.

Member Photograph Galleries.
Are still  accumulating at a very reasonable pace. The 'National' galleries now contain 2662 nursing/hospital badge photographs encompassing all areas of the UK; 319 photographs (buildings/people/ephemera); and 48 photographs of nurse uniforms, both civilian and military; and 2295 badge photographs. Have a quick glimpse of the two latest badges:-
(Logged-in members can click images to enlarge - or login first)

Riverside College of Health

National Galleries -
Latest Member Uploads

All photographic rights

Harefield Hospital

The galleries are becoming a small on-line museum and are adding to our knowledge of nursing history quite nicely, thanks to our contributors. It is available to anyone who cares to register as a member - a very simple process. All is free...

Welcome to the Forum and Member Galleries - Register Here.
Please be aware, our site is rated on Google by Norton Internet Security as being absolutely safe. We intend to keep it that way. You can help by using a reasonable ID and your own genuine email address. Anything that appears dubious may result in failed registration. Whilst our site is free to users, it is hosted by the largest ISP in Europe at commercial rates - with highly professional back-up. Safe and secure!

The site forum - Membership and Visitors.
In January 2007 we opened the forum for business.  I new topic; 4 replies; 2 new members; and 5 unique visitors!! The current situation is just a little different. At June 2010 we now have 168 topics'; and 854 posts from 191 members. Not too bad for a history site, but since this one deals with nurses, nursing and hospitals we still have some way to go. We have that in hand. So far we have still not sought to openly promote the site. Our preference has always been to ensure quality and more importantly, 24/7 availability. We seem to have achieved that...

Our June visitors. 8,127 (unique) visits. 19,508 pages served up. A year on year increase in visits of over 55.32% compared with the same period last year (2009). Nice.

Worldwide.. Certainly our visitors are wide ranging - from 44 countries worldwide... Australia & New Zealand and Canada are well represented in addition to the UK and USA. There are also some more esoteric sounding countries - China; Russia; Cayman Islands; Japan; Malaysia; plus Romania and Spain.

E-Mail Contact - the 'contact' link (above and throughout the site) arrives directly on the webmaster's desk. Use it to communicate directly with the site. All mail is considered confidential unless the contents are stated to be otherwise. Stated to be for public consumption by you. Publication itself is an editorial decision.
Collecting... Certificates - paper evidence!
Ubiquitous. Certificates that is. I cannot speak for nations other than the British, but I can say that for a so-called nation of shopkeepers, we are most certainly a nation of paper chasers and hoarders. Births; deaths; marriages; christenings; baptisms; qualifications; divorces; presentations; achievements; 'O' levels; 'A' Levels; Pre and post levels - there is even a post-doctoral level degree certificate. Certificates for all ages and all reasons. We certainly love paper...

British Nursing certificates, like all others, are a printed record of achievement. Most were (still are) issued to individuals to mark the nature and date of the achievement. The most important to any nurse are perhaps those marking statutory achievement - state registration and equally importantly, those certificates issued by individual hospitals. All dated. All Individually named. All, in the case of the latter, meant to be presented to the intended recipient at an official presentation. The public acknowledging of both the individual nurse and of the achievement of the hospital as a whole - all of whom would be present at the regularly recurring ceremony. Marking the achievement of all concerned. Recording it for posterity! History as it happens!

The ceremony is emotive. It is meant to be. An expression of sincere recognition of the achievements of all involved for the good of everyone - including the ones who are rarely present - the patients... Well motivated hospitals. Well motivated staff. High standards. Greater good! No wonder then that hospital certificates were intended to impress the emotive aspects of becoming a qualified nurse, often elaborate in all respects, whereas state registration certificates intended to record an official status and tend to be functional to the point of being an official statement - almost rudimentary. Which are the more collectible? It depends whose name is on them, but given the shortage of those of historic figures, my money is on hospital certificates - they seem to say much more historically and are well worth collecting.

From a purely mercenary point of view It would seem that the older and better known the hospital issuing the certificates the better. Whilst this may be true, it is also the case that they may be much more difficult to find and command a much higher price than the less esoteric, though prices are still low. Good news for collectors. I have managed to acquire several superb examples - The London Hospital; Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children; Bethlam Royal & Maudsley hospital; The Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh School of Midwifery; The Glasgow Royal Maternity and Women's Hospital (Headed by a print of the original hospital building - 1834); Addenbrooke's Hospital (Cambridge). They are all large - some easily A3 size. Printed on superb quality papers. Often with the most ornate type and almost always with gaps left for the insertion of the recipients details handwritten in ink. Again often in calligraphic styles - but always handwritten with genuine signatures. Different colored papers, designs and  motifs set off some of these more magnificent examples. Click image to enlarge.

But perhaps the real value was emotive. For the newly qualified to receive such a superbly prepared document must surely have made the recipients feel good - feel the recognition of their achievement - the more so that the certificates were often presented by a prestigious personage along with a highly prestigious and very well made hospital badge - more often than not in enameled silver...

The real value historically is that all this says something about the esteem in which nurses had come to be held. On another level these certificates say a lot about the people involved in nurse training at the various dates. The London Hospital certificate illustrated was signed personally by the matron and chairman of the hospital (twice) and also by a physician, a surgeon and an examiner. All of whom were therefore named, had stated positions, and were known to have been involved in the training of nurses at the hospital at the time the nurse qualified. The certificate states the broad outline of the areas of theory and practice and also an overall judgment of her performance. Signed; sealed; and delivered. Publicly!

I have several other certificates in my collection - I am sure that many collectors have. Each is a treasure in itself. So many different sizes; different colours; papers/cards; some embossed; some carrying seals; some watermarked; some not. All with a story to tell. Sometimes, as in this case, several stories. All have one main thing in common - the difficulty in obtaining, and then the difficulty in storing them... A little more research - and a future article perhaps...

Imagine that you possessed the first certificate ever issued at the London Hospital - but one of your children had pasted it to a bedroom wall because you hadn't kept it securely... Forgive yourself? you never would.... A serious practical in rescue and conservation might help - but whatever, don't let anyone paint over it!
Another Photograph from the past...
West Suffolk Hospital May 1921
West Suffolk Hospital Nurse Group (Unnamed)
*Training Hospitals/Details Here
This photograph of an unnamed group of nurses originates from West Suffolk Hospital, Bury St Edmunds, in 1921. The hospital which could later, in the 1970s  as West Suffolk General Hospital, claim fame when the Principal Nursing Officer (Teaching) Zena Oxlade, became Chairman of the General Nursing Council for England and Wales.
(Photo: SoN Archives - backman)                                                                         
Photo Gallery Here.


Well, another lot of missing names, one never knows, perhaps someone will recognize an ancestor and tell us! Once again that seems yet another very pleasant note upon which to end the Site News, so for now all the very best - smile and we all prosper!

Would you like to see your PTS or training group featured here? We desperately need more photographs to feature. Can you help?  If so please Contact us.

We express our grateful appreciation to those people
who have contributed the original photographs
used to produce the News Pages.

1. News heading photo (all dates) - John Reeves
2. Bristol Southmead Gold (April) - John Reeves
3. St Bartholomew's Gold (April) - Ruth Watkin-Jones
4. Haygarth Silver (April) - 'ukhistory' (ebay)
5. Newcastle LS (April) - Peter Backman (Nursing badges)
6. RRC Medal (April)  photo's- 'Caulgisbo' (ebay)
8. 'catandfrog' (July) - (ebay).
9. bokojnr (Dec) - (ebay).
10. blue.bottle (Dec) - (ebay).
11. 'backman' - (ebay).*
12. Hotminicooper (Jun) - (ebay).
13. Right-one50 (Oct - (ebay).
14. jcollinsmedals (Dec - (ebay).
15. Brittania Medals (Dec 2009).
16. elaine3080 (Feb 2010) - (ebay).
17. Fran Biley (Feb 2010) - schoolsofnursing.
18. St Andrews Children's Hospice - Grimbsby.
19.themedalcentre - (ebay).
All Copyrights are Asserted

*11. -  'backman' is also creator and webmaster of the 'nursingbadges'
'historyofhospitals' websites.


Home  Schools   Region   Forum   Collecting   Galleries   History   Bibliography   News Archive  Contact   National Archives