Site News
December 2008
(Vol 2 Issue 5) 

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Welcome to the seventh news page here at Schools of Nursing.
Well, there it is, the whole site up and running:-

   The main site (where you now are..).
   The Forum (where you are very welcome - register to post).
   The photo galleries (Member uploadable).

It would feel great if I had done it all alone - before breakfast! But it feels a lot better to have been part of a superb and supportive team without whom there would have been no real point. It really does cost time, much effort and a little money - not to mention the frustrations and heartaches when a project becomes (as this one sometimes did) a little difficult.

However, that isn't the end, rather it's just the beginning. But before going on, let me waffle just a little more and thank everyone who has helped - including every member who has joined the forum and those visitors who do just that, visit! It really does matter to us - a reason to be!  Thank you.

The original idea was provoked when I became a member of the nursing badges group run by Peter 'backman' on the MSN network. I was struck by the constant battle members seemed to have with uploading their photographs, with the lack of an associated forum (there was an occasionally truculent message board) - and nothing by way of a basic website where even a simple news-sheet could be posted on-line... The sheer determination of the active members to make it work (and make it work they did) was an inspiration.

An appeal for support (moral & photographs, not cash) for the 'schoolsofnursing' venture met with a positive response and there was no turning back... Our nurses are worth a lot more than that - and our professional history is not yet collected and collated on anything like a national scale.  The universities do seem to be spending more time on these aspects in their own areas now, and there are some outstanding individual hospital history websites.

The new news is that the trials are over! At least on the basics that are now on-line, and we are thinking actively about the way forward.

The main site is developing well and is fully functional.  The search facilities, which include National Archive links on all relevant pages, function best on geographical searches and is based on a 1974 timeline right now. New timelines will be added in the coming year. Training schools; news; articles; books and bibliography; a feature photo gallery; sections on collecting et al. All are now present and developing. Our own 'first' - collections of individual nurse histories is en-route. The other parts - Forum and Member galleries, (also complete) are further mentioned in column 2.

Note: The MSN sites are due to close down round the end of February next year. Peter 'backman' (an active supporter and forum moderator of our site), has moved the nursing badges site,  lock stock and members to a new site at

And a Hospitals history site:-

No small endeavor. We are proud of our close association with both.

Collecting... 'Nurse' History! We have now put together the first results on the history of Mary Ellen Watkin - (St Bartholomew's - London). On-line hopefully before Christmas... Certainly for the new year.

Website Photo Galleries.
Two photo galleries on this - the main site - have developed as 'news' and 'feature' galleries. The 'news' gallery features PTS/student groups. This is now extended to include prize-givings and notable individual pictures, but we do need photographs. The 'featured' gallery presently contains nursing badges - it is intended to extend this into a major, detailed, research resource. Both are our own galleries - not uploadable by members.

Member Photo Galleries.
Our third gallery - testing now complete, is fully operational. It is for registered members of the forum. Space is automatically allocated upon registration and the gallery automatically re-sizes and displays images which members upload.

Galleries can be private to a member, or made public - for other members to see - as decided by the member.  Maximum picture sizes 650px any one side and a picture file weight limit of 1072KB per photograph. Bigger than is unnecessarily large and may not upload at all...  If anyone has problems uploading please contact us immediately and we will help resolve them.  Copyright law is respected. If the copyright is not yours get permission to use the photo!  If you don't know ask us.

Photographs of - badges, hospitals, nurses, postcards, uniforms - of whatever the collector collects!

'National' Collections.
There are also 'National' collection galleries to which members can upload - People; buildings; badges; ephemera. Contributions are member-uploadable but are checked by us before display - so there may be a small time gap between upload and display.

Collecting - 'Collecting...Personal choices'... is in the left bottom column - this current issue covers two badges - personal choices ...

Bibliography. The book review section is now pending. Reviews and reviewers (No pay/holidays/pension) are sought. Contact link is at the top of the page....

The site forum - Membership and Visitors - September 2008.
In January 2007 we opened the forum for business.  I new topic; 4 replies; 2 new members; and 5 unique visitors!! The current situation at December 20th, 2008 shows continuing improvement. We now have 401 Posts in 87 Topics by 79 Members. Our aim has always been to ensure quality and more importantly, 24/7 availability. Fingers crossed, we continue to achieve that aim.

Overall site visits.. Overall our unique (individual) visitor figures have increased again to 3806 per month since the October news - 21,095 pages in November. 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... Personal choices...
One aspect of collecting nursing history has yet to be mentioned herein. Personal choice. Leaving one's more altruistic reasons for collecting any part of nursing history aside, it has to be admitted that many collectors (of anything) are magpies at heart! But being a magpie does not explain the motivation behind the collecting. Nor - I hasten to add, and probably much to the reader's relief - do I intend to try.

No. I intend to enjoy my recent acquisitions. With the festive season rapidly approaching, I thought that perhaps sharing a little of my own recent personal (because I wanted to) collecting might help explain the reasoning behind one or two of the items acquired.

Firstly, this London Hospital badge. Beautifully designed and executed , right down to the detailed engraving. Note the inclusion of the months with the date fields, and the presentation date - a year after initial training was completed!  A genuine item but with a slight (missing) pin problem - though the fixtures are intact and the situation could be easily remedied by a competent badge/jewelry maker. Not cheap but price reflecting the condition. But since I already possess one why did I buy it?  Easy - because it came with the largely unobtainable original certificate - shown alongside.
The certificate alone is an amazing piece of history, signed by all and everybody. Real signatures, real writing, real ink. Signed on completion of training, issued, like the badge, on completion of a further year of practice....

I wonder if her state (GNC) badge is out there somewhere..... Whether re-uniting is possible?... Whether I have another 'nurse' history?..... 

Another recent acquisition is what appears to be just another GNC State Registration badge:-

But not quite - correctly hallmarked sterling silver, weight, design and makers name, it seems a little special. A very early (No 610) RMN badge - from November 1922, was that before state exams I wonder.... Very early RMN... Many questions...

So what motivated the acquisition of this one?  Well, I have a chromium plated one of my own (!) issued 43 years or so later - it is but a shadow of the original design and materials. As a collector, a genuine silver piece of history from one's own side of the fence, so to speak, is nice in itself. The hallmarks, rather unusual name and engraving make for an interesting item.  But again - no. My real interest lies in the surrounding nursing history -  just when was the first RMN issued?  Was Mrs Bedford-Fenwick in the chair at the GNC? Did M.A. McNagula register automatically or did she/he have to sit the first GNC examinations?  What hospital did she/he work at?  What were the conditions like?  Was she/he a senior nurse - a matron perhaps?

And a million other questions surrounding this fine piece of English silver. If only it could talk. DNA profiling is, I believe, of absolutely no use here! So how can we ever hope to answer such questions?  Is it possible?....

Back to the London Hospital badge..

Imagine. Imagine that you were Nurse Edith Kathleen Hunt, on your one year of nursing after qualification, at The London Hospital, in order to gain that cherished badge. Imagine that you lost your memory - And missed it...  Forgive yourself?  You never would.... If you were ever to remember!

Christmas Greetings

In the absence of a particular card we offer this superb photograph of five GOSH Nurses
January 1981 Prize giving..

  Caroline Green              Karen Patrick   
  Sarah Churchill
 Julie Tibbenham            Mandy Wood 


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 Bartholemew'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).

    All Copyrights are Asserted

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