Site News
February 2009
(Vol 3 Issue 1) 

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Welcome to the eighth news page here at Schools of Nursing.
Doesn't really sound like a lot, and I am sure that everyone involved must wonder where all the time used in the site so far has gone... It would be nice if we received gold bars to distribute among the poor and needy in return... But we really do possess something much, much nicer. A free website dedicated to the history of the nursing profession - for those who made it - you!

The main site (no registration needed - enjoy) a useful research tool where you can find seriously useful links about schools of nursing and hospitals used; their badges; specialities and, via the National Archives link, their histories and present status.

The Forum (where you are very welcome - but you must register to post replies or start your own topics). We now have 89 members, although not all are active in relation to posting on the forum - some are just enjoying it - we hope... What I would personally like to see. in addition to what we have now, is a contribution from current students - but perhaps that will come in good time.

The photo galleries (Member uploadable) are moving well now. Last night (31/01/2009) there were 735 files in 32 galleries. Although that included a number of private (not open to others) collections, we now have over 700 photographs relating to several aspects of the history of our profession on display.

Note: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.

And you do need, at present, to register on the forum in order to be able to see and use the photo galleries. If you only want to see the photographs - register. It costs nothing except a (self chosen) username and a valid email address. We don't mind you just looking - you are most welcome.

'National' Photograph 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.

The new news.
A Reminder: The MSN sites are due to close down round the end of February. Peter 'backman' (an active supporter and contributor herein, plus forum moderator of our site), has moved his nursing badges site,  lock stock and members to a new site at

And a Hospitals history site:-

If you haven't already done so and don't want to lose anything you contributed to the MSN site - join the nursing badges at multiply Stat. The link to the multiply sites are above. You can use your original MSN credentials, but beware of underscores ( _ ). Maybe just avoid using them.

Collecting... 'Nurse' History! It has been something of a long haul, and perhaps a long wait for those who have been awaiting the start of our publication for our nurse-histories.  They are of course based on research and that takes time.  The researches into the history of Florence Nightingale herself are still alive and well  xx years after she herself died! And the publication of her histories were started well before that!

But here we are, at last at the point where we can make a start. We expect to publish the first history - hitherto unpublished - by Feb 8th. The current list is at the top of the next column (top right) and we are already have more to add. We look forward to receiving your comments.

The Nurse History list...
This is the current list of all the histories we have been able to progress so far - though not necessarily in the order they will be published:-

1. The first to arrive, perhaps two years ago now, was Nurse Leila M. Hyde - a Haygarth silver medalist at Chester Royal Infirmary in 1925. I was almost struck dumb when I acquired her other badges, including her Chester Royal Hospital badge! Slowly progressing. We have much background history but need more specifics...

2. A second was Nurse Blakeway - A Bristol United (Southmead) Hospital nurse - a 1932 Gold Medalist. Her nephew supplied a little information, including that she was an army nurse in WW2 an subsequently emigrated to Australia. And her photograph. What superb trace elements! Some progress made. A difficult one to progress!

3. The third was Nurse M. Brown, Beckett Miners Hospital. Her  badges; a photograph and some other paperwork provide more clues. Progressing. Tantalisingly enigmatic, but we will crack it - perhaps with your help?

4. A fourth was Miss Catherine (Katie) Roberts, a Welsh nurse whose career spanned at least 31 years. Progressing a superb history. A link with a relative; badges; photographs and historical paperwork.

5. The fifth was Miss Elsie Fletcher who ended her career as Matron of New Hall Hospital, Southport. A 1936 Medal awarded to her started the chase. Started - feels outstanding. Again we have a link with a relative who has supplied much history and photographs and historical detail.

6. The sixth was Mary Ellen Watkin  who retired as a St Bartholomew's (London) nurse after a career including also Tigne Hospital, Malta as a VAD nurse in WWI and Tower Hospital, Liverpool nursing injured soldiers in WWII. Almost ready (a few more photographs) stunning!

We are starting publication with this last - Mary Ellen (Mollie) Watkin, as the very first. The reason is simple - expediency - the one about which we know the most. We have managed to acquire the complete collection of her remaining artifacts - with the help of two of her relatives and another collector Joclyn Hetherington-Field (a nurse), who selflessly agreed to sell a small but gorgeous collection of Mollie's she had acquired, in order to help us rebuild the to the collection to as near original state as possible. Plus our helpful genealogist, Sue B, enlisting the help of archivists at then St Bartholomew's Hospital (London) and the British Red Cross, came up with absolutely sterling material. Our thanks to Sue, to whom we are seriously indebted....

The others will follow regularly unfinished/updated as we progress. There are already other names to add to the list. Perhaps we will make unexpected gains from readers who discover something that they themselves can add to a history...

The site forum - Membership and Visitors - February 2009.
In January 2007 we opened the forum for business. 1 new topic; 4 replies; 2 new members; and 5 unique visitors!! At February 1st 2009 we now have 437 Posts in 94 Topics by 89 Members. Our aim has always been to ensure quality and, equally importantly, 24/7 availability. Fingers crossed, we continue to achieve that aim.

Overall site visits.. Overall our unique (individual) visitor figures have increased to 3806 per month since the October news - 11,592 pages in January 2009. 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... A little research... And a competition! Three prizes!
Research is an integral aspect of collecting. The 'what?', the 'where?', the 'when?', the 'how?' and the seemingly all important 'why?' are the basis, I believe, of the human motivation to collect anything. No doubt exponents of the study of human behaviour could offer plausible explanations, perhaps even correct ones. But for me those five small questions have it all. Again, the sum of the whole (again for me) is much greater than the sum of the parts. Or at least equal to it...  In common terms, the thrill of the chase - what, where, when, why and how, is great. Savoring the result is absolute magic! And, the more difficult the chase the more exquisite the result tastes.

So what about the competition, what about the prize (and all the other questions one might ask). Well, here is the start of a chase for anyone who would like to collect a free DVD of the film 'Atonement' - (the prize) - with it's short but magnificent sequences of St Thomas hospital, nurses and probationers...  The badges below are not prizes!
Rules: Any member of this website (SoN); nursingbadges; or hospitalhistory websites may enter. There is only one prize - as stated above. The prize has no monetary value. Winner will be notified by email. Only winner ID name will be published. Proof of posting discharges all obligations. First entry with all correct answers is the winner. Closing date February 28th 2009.

Entry constitutes acceptance of rules. All entries to webmaster at -

First, consider these two London Hospital badges. Beautifully designed and produced, right down to the detailed engraving. The differences between the two, both very sought after collector items, is obvious. Isn't it?...


Second, answers the following questions in an entry email:-

1.  What hospital do these badges represent?
2.  Who is depicted on each badge?
3.  When was each first issued?
4.  Why are the designs different?
5.  When was the nurse training school first opened?

As ever, our objective is to stimulate interest in nursing history. In this case by stimulating an interest in seeking a few answers to the inevitable questions which any study of the history of our profession will inevitably raise. In research as a tool which can be used to discover the troth of the researcher to the search for the buried treasure of our profession... Ask yourself - that badge you have just acquired - who designed it; chose the materials; selected the manufacturer. Why? To whom was it presented (if it was); why? And what of the person, his or her history? The institution - where was it? when did it open? to fulfill what need? Does it still exist?

The who, what, where, when, why - and yes, the how of research...

And a million other questions surrounding that badge - itself a symbol of combined effort aimed at helping others. There are so many questions - but each answer is a valuable grain of knowledge. Can we ever hope to answer all questions?  Probably not, but every grain of knowledge gained makes the mountain more accessible to others. The same ends - helping others..

Imagine. Imagine that you had just acquired one of the badges illustrated above, didn't know what it was, but were offered 5 pounds for it  - And you sold it...  Forgive yourself?  You never would when you found out the real worth. Best do that first....

First Nurse-History   
Opens on Feb 8th 2009
(The photograph will become the link)

Mary Ellen (Mollie) Watkin
During her service as a WWI VAD Nurse
(Previous photo in our October 2008 news)

  Mollie Watkin is the subject of our first 'Nurse History' here on

We believe that we are the first to feature the building of these histories. The previously unpublished histories of Nurses who have  come to our attention and whose careers not only merit publication. but whose histories have not been lost.

We will (and are doing so) attempt to reconstruct any history which appears to be traceable, however remote the initial possibility, particularly where there is legitimate support for doing so.

A list of the immediate/forthcoming histories is in the top right column above.


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. 'Mollie' Watkin (All) Ruth & Ted Watkin-Jones

    All Copyrights are Asserted

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