Nursing in the 1920s

Miss Evelyn Witherden was a student nurse at East Sussex Hospital, Hastings in the early 1920s. Matron’s lecture, was recorded in her note book and reminds her that a nurse should ‘never give an opinion, it is untrained to give an opinion unless asked’. I’m glad a nurses opinion is valued today.

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Evelyn’s note books also contained a copy of all her exam questions. Third Preliminary Examination in 1923 is pictured below.

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Princess Helena

On 14 July 1906, Princess Helena of Great Britain came to the Sanatorium at Benenden for a formal ceremony to lay the Foundation Stone. The fifth child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and a champion for better healthcare, Princess Helena supported many great causes including a role as President of the British Nurses’ Association.

The Princess was an active participant at several meetings as the Society developed and 110 years later we remember Helena as the foundation stone is repositioned in our new hospital.

 

Memories of William

William Charlton was the first postman and member of our mutual organisation to be admitted to the Sanatorium at Benenden. William arrived on 11 March 1907 having been unable to work as a rural postman for 5 months.

Age 20 years and unmarried, he contracted TB and travelled from his home in Newcastle Upon Tyne to Benenden for treatment.

Unfortunately, William was the first patient to die at the Sanatorium on 3 April 1907.

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Benenden’s Inaugral Conference (1906)

It was good to remember our long and rich history of providing healthcare to our members and other patients. Charles Garland developed our mutual organisation over 110 years ago. During Benenden’s 2017 Conference in Birmingham this week, delegates had the opportunity to see Charles Garland’s handwritten notes from the Society’s Inaugral Conference held in London on 29 September 1906.

The 1st Annual Conference followed one year later on 28 September 1907. This event was held in the Memorial Hall, Farringdon, London.

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The First!

The first patients were admitted to the West Wing of the Sanatorium at Benenden on 4 March 1907. When Harry Moore, Walter Peris and Robert Coles arrived, all their details were recorded in a ledger that has survived for 110 years.

Harry Moore, age 36, a married Tinsmith from Grimsby was the first patient to be admitted. The notes suggest Harry hadn’t worked for 10 months and entered Bensan with a poor prognosis. Following a stay of 8 weeks and 3 days, Harry was discharged home.

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Walter Peris, age 34,  a married upholsterer from Nottingham. Unlike Harry, Walter’s prognosis was good but he stayed at Bensan for 12 weeks. Having not worked for 7 months, he was able to return to work after discharge.

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Robert Coles, age 24 a single gas company collector from Islington London. Robert’s prognosis was noted as ‘doubtful’ but he was discharged home after 21 weeks and was enjoying excellent health one year later.

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Hearts of Oak

All three patients admitted on that first day, were members of the Hearts Of Oak Benefits Society. This Society was established in 1842 to provide a means for persons to save into a mutual fund that could draw upon and provide financial protection in times of sickness much like our own organisation today.

In 1992 the Society was renamed the Hearts of Oak Friendly Society Ltd and in 1997 relocated their office from Euston Road to Leicester. The Society was taken over by the Reliance & Mutual Insurance Society in 2007.
Reference:  www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/a2a/records.aspx?cat=094-2322… (National Archives site with historical notes about the Hearts of Oak Benefit Society).