Sunday, 3 February 2013

Storytelling Sunday - nursing items.

Good morning and a warm welcome to the second episode of Storytelling Sunday 2013. If you want to discover more about this adventure, then please pop on over to visit Sian at From High in the Sky our dear hostess. You'll probably find her crafting away upstairs, or if the other days post is anything to go on, pretending she's a trolley dolly in her kitchen with the not so small one!

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.

16 comments:

  1. Wow, what a fantastic experience and such a brilliant photo of excellent 'proper' nurse uniforms.

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  2. What a fabulous story & photo. You all look so proper in those uniforms :)

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  3. What an amazing story Jo! I love to read about your nursing adventures and your description of your uniform is so evocative I can see it in front of me. I know nurses today seem to enjoy the ease of their uniforms, but to me you are the lucky one - a uniform like that was always something I admired even more than an air hostess hat!! TSO loves Call The Midwife, so she'll be very excited to read this too. Brilliant story.

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  4. Such a wonderful story! We don't really go in for uniforms over here so I love seeing & hearing about them elsewhere.

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  5. Do they still wear uniforms like that? You all look so well turned out and after all the hard work I can see why the badge is precious

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  6. What an amazing story. It made me think of Call the Midwife as soon as you mentioned the East End of London. :0)

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  7. Fancy Norman Hartnell having designed nurses' uniforms!
    Alison xx

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  8. I agree . . .this is a beautiful story. My mom was a nurse. Thanks for sharing,
    Rinda

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  9. Not surprised you were proud of your uniform and badge - lovely to see your class photo too :)

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  10. Great story and I love how CTM gave you another piece to it :-)

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  11. What a great story. It left me wanting more though. Are you still nursing or have you retired?

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  12. That is a really lovely story. I watched Call The Midwife and thought the uniform so striking, it would be lovely to see that back on the wards now :)

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  13. Oh my have you brought back memories! We didn't have to put our uniforms together but I can totally relate to everything else, even including sewing in labels. :)

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  14. A brilliant photo and wonderful precious item. x

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  15. I always thought that uniform looked so special. You would never know that the photo was taken in the mid 80's if you just looked at the nurses! You chose an amazing career.

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  16. In depth analysis of nursing uniforms can be an enriching experience. While it is becoming a hot topic for debate, it is yet to receive proper recognition for laying the foundations of democracy. It is an unfortunate consequence of our civilizations history that nursing scrubs is rarely given rational consideration by the aristocracy, who form the last great hope for our civilzation.

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Hello and thank you so much for stopping by. It is always a pleasure to read the comments I receive and to meet new friends. I try and reply to comments on friend's blogs as much as possible. I hope you have enjoyed reading my blog and look forward to seeing you here again soon. Love Jo xxx