Over 1.5 million nursing records published on Ancestry

Thursday 18th August 2016



Three collections of nursing registers and application forms held by the Royal College of Nursing and the Wellcome Library have been published digitally for the first time by specialist family history website Ancestry.

The records span nurses’ registrations and appointments from 1891-1968, and provide a unique insight into nursing and women’s history in the UK.

Among the records is RCN founder Dame Sarah Swift.

As her record shows, she was trained in the Dundee Royal Infirmary and received her certificate in nursing in 1880.

Her extensive experience and contacts with the matrons of large and prestigious hospitals meant that she was ideally placed to successfully champion the formation of the College of Nursing.

Other famous names in nursing include Dame Joanna Margaret Cruickshank, the founder of the Royal Air Force Nursing Service, and Dame Emily Mathieson Blair, former Matron-in-Chief of the British Red Cross Society.

The new resource will give families and historians the chance to uncover previously untold stories of nurses from the UK and overseas.

Janet Davies, RCN Chief Executive and General Secretary, said: “The RCN is committed to preserving the history of the nursing profession, so it’s wonderful to see the records of so many inspiring nurses being digitised for the very first time, especially during our centenary year.

Nurses have touched the lives of so many families, and this resource gives people the chance to travel back in time to discover the real lives of their nursing relatives.

Caring for the nation for generations, often through wars and crises, these nursing staff deserve to be remembered, and this unique project will help preserve their legacy for many more years to come.”

Members wishing to view the records without subscription can visit their nearest RCN Library.


The Royal College of Nursing’s Library and Heritage Centre has won a competition to design and host a special event with contemporary British artist Peter Liversidge.

Friday 3rd June 2016



Connect! gives organisations the opportunity to ‘win’ a leading contemporary artist to create an installation during the Museums at Night festival – the UK’s annual after-hours festival of arts, culture and heritage.

Peter Liversidge is a British contemporary artist notable for his diverse artistic practice and use of proposals, written on a manual typewriter.

The RCN competed against four other venues in a public vote, and has been announced as the winner. The first nursing organisation to ever take part in the competition, the RCN will work with Peter to develop a programme of activities, based on 100 years of RCN and nursing history.

Visitors will be invited to the RCN Library and Heritage Centre in London on 29 October 2016, where they will help to develop these activities through a series of challenges set within the RCN building.

Sarah Chaney, Audience and Engagement Manager at the RCN, said: “Peter Liversidge is one of the country’s most exciting artists and we are thrilled to be working with him. Nursing and the arts often come together in unforeseen ways and it’s wonderful to have the opportunity to do so as we celebrate a hundred years of nursing.”

 


Bethlem Museum of the Mind shortlisted for Museum of the Year award

Friday 3rd June 2016



Bethlem Museum of the Mind, which was reopened by artist Grayson Perry in March 2015, has been shortlisted for the 2016 Museum of the Year award.

The museum cares for an internationally renowned collection of archives, art and historic objects, which together offer an unparalleled resource to support the history of mental healthcare and treatment.

In 2015 the museum moved from cramped accommodation to a newly refurbished art deco building at the heart of Bethlem Royal Hospital, the UK’s oldest psychiatric institution. The space provides excellent facilities for storing and presenting its collection, as well as a permanent home for the Bethlem Gallery, which showcases the work of current or former patients of the local NHS trust.

The museum is competing against the V&A, Arnolfini, York Art Gallery and Jupiter Artland Sculpture Park and Gallery for the £100,000 prize, which will be announced at a London ceremony in July.

Find out more about the museum and its work by watching this short film.


Wounded exhibition at the Science Museum to mark 100th anniversary of Battle of the Somme

Friday 3rd June 2016



On 1 July 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme, British forces sustained 57,000 casualties, creating a medical emergency of unprecedented scale and severity.

On 29 June 2016 a new exhibition will open at the Science Museum, commemorating the centenary of this momentous battle and the huge medical and human impact of wounding during and beyond the First World War.

At the centre of the exhibition will be a remarkable collection of historic objects from the Science Museum’s First World War medical collections, illustrating the stories of the wounded and those who cared for them.

From stretchers adapted for use in narrow trenches to made-to- measure artificial arms fitted back in British hospitals, medical technologies, techniques and strategies were pioneered or adapted throughout the war to help the wounded along each stage of rescue and treatment. 

Visitors will also see unique lucky charms and improvised personal protective items carried by soldiers on the frontline alongside examples of official frontline medical equipment.

Beyond the battlefields, the exhibition will also focus on the longer-term impact of the war on the soldiers who were left physically and mentally affected, and show how the medical lessons learnt still carry relevance today.