So without further ado, I would love to tell you the story of these small but important and precious items. Oh sorry, forgot to say this year Sian has challenged us to tell stories about some of our precious things. So back to my items. To look at they don't look like very much but to me they are cemented into the fabric of the tales of me leaving home to train to be a nurse. I remember buying my collar stud in a local menswear shop in the town we lived in prior to the family upping sticks and moving all the way from Sussex down here to Somerset. That was 1984. I spent the next 2 weeks sewing labels into my underwear, don't ask, and buying other necessary items that all young ladies about London Town need. Come the day of August 15th 1984 we all drove up to the East End of London, the place I would live for the next 3 years and three months.
So why the collar stud you might ask, well I'll tell you. When we were first shown the uniform for The London Hospital it was all in various pieces in a big plastic bag. It consisted of several pale purple check-lined dress in Irish linen, 4 buttons with big shanks on the back, several white starched collars with purple stitching, and a starched white pinafore with a bib and cross over straps. Plus another bag with our hats in. So the first thing we had to learn was how to put our uniforms together. The buttons on the dress were individually pinned in places, as were two buttons on the pinafore. For the colour, we needed 2 tiny safety pins to pin it into place and then the collar stud to close it. Neat. Once the uniform was all put together, and we had learnt how to make our hats, we all looked like this..................
I am right at the back between the girls with blonde hair and red hair!
Now during the past week, there has been much excitement in my house because if you watch the BBC TV programme ''Call the Midwife'' you will know Jenny is about to go to work at The London and wear THAT uniform. So whilst reading The Radio Times I discovered the uniform was designed by none other than Norman Hartnell, designer to The Queen no less. So to say I am proud to have worn my uniform is a bit of an understatement.
Now fast forward 4 years, and we are all lining up to collect our nursing certificates and The London Hospital badges from Claire Raynor. The badges were designed by Sir Gerald Woods Wollastan. You can read more about the design here. To be given that badge meant joining a group of amazing people who have made the decision to train and work as nurses and also the historical ranks of amazing nurses who trained and worked at The London Hospital. I will always treasure it along with my time at The London.