Page 9 - HGS Suburb News 138 - Spring 2019
P. 9

The District Nurse

                                                                                      The district nurse has always   book, bring back a nostalgia for   babies in dreadful circumstances.
                                                                                      been  part  of  the  community,  nurses in crisp white starched   One  district  nurse  recorded  in
                                                                                      but when did district nursing   aprons, sky-blue dresses with   her daily notes that visits were
                                                                                      really begin? After reading and   stiff  white  collars,  black  lace-  concluded with prayer and
                                                                                      looking at Susan Cohen’s revealing   ups with thick black stockings.  bible reading. Some nurses were
                                                                                      new  pictorial  history,  we  can   A sharp contrast to the nurses’  so brave that they were awarded
                                                                                      really understand how it evolved.  scrubs of today.   the George Medal for the courage
                                                                                      Sick men, women and children   Before the National Health   and persistence with which
                                                                                      have always been cared for at   Service, raising money to cover   they managed to save lives.
                                                                                      home since time immemorial,  the cost of district nursing was a   After the war things began to
                                                                                      but  it  was  not  until  the  late   grave problem. How was the cost   improve. They received a better,
                                                                                      1800s that these dedicated   of wages, travel, accommodation,  more practical uniform. Married
                                                                                      women took on the role of the   as well as expenses for essential   woman were able to remain in
                                                                                      district nurse.            items such as medicines and   the profession. Infant mortality
                                                                                         In those days life expectancy   dressings to be provided for?   dropped to 1 in 1000. Male
              Memories of the Minsk Ghetto                                            was short, infant mortality was   There  were  the  usual  fêtes,  nurses were recruited, though
                                                                                      high and medical knowledge
                                                                                                                                            they were only permitted to
                                                                                                                 flower shows and concerts but
                                                                                      was unscientific, and there was   it was always a problem. The   nurse male patients.
      An audience of 24 gathered in   residents. She was presented with   the book, We Remember Lest
                                                                                      no professional training for nurses.  poor over-worked nurses earned
                                                                                                                                              In 1948 with the inauguration
      the Garden Suburb community   a book in Russian which she   the World Forget – Memories of   As we know Florence Nightingale   between £25 and £30 per year.  of the National Health Service
      library to listen to Debra Brunner,  brought back to England, and   the Minsk Ghetto, has now   1820-1910 was largely responsible   Getting about was another   the  provision  of  the  district
      CEO of The Together Plan Charity,  once translated she found it was   been published in English.
      talk about the work of her charity   the individual memories of the   Debra’s charity works with   for permanently changing the   difficulty. Their transport could   nurse became the responsibility
      and their latest publication.  people she had tea with, all of   Jewish communities in the region,   face of home nursing care and   be by donkey, bicycle, pony and   of the county authority. Their
                                                                                      introduced professional training
                                                                                                                 cart, or even a tractor. In bad
                                                                                                                                            services were now free to
         As part of her work Debra   whom survived the Minsk Ghetto.  revitalising them with the help
      was in Minsk and was invited to   After  much  work,  and  also   of both adults and young people   for nurses in 1860.   weather  they  had  to  walk  for   anyone and the nurses were
      have tea with a group of elderly   discovering additional survivors,  from the UK. A fascinating talk.  In 1887, when Queen Victoria   miles to remote areas to reach   paid  by the state.  Life  became
                                                                                      celebrated her golden Jubilee,  patients only to be confronted   easier. Houses had telephones,
                                                                                      district  nursing  had  been  with epidemics of children with   nurses had cars and there was
                      The Jamestown Brides                                            elevated to a new status. They   chicken-pox, influenza, blood-  an emergency squad. However
                                                                                                                 poisoning, typhoid and even
                                                                                      were provided with resplendent
                                                                                                                                            the role today of the district
                                                                                      uniforms. The wonderful black   head lice. Delivering babies was   nurse  is  still as challenging  as
                                 was sending out young women   scheme than it might seem   and white photographs in this   part of the nurse’s role, 10% were   ever. The 19th Century slums
                                 of good reputation as brides for   from a 21st century viewpoint.               home births. District nurses were   may have gone, but poverty and
                                 planters. They were the ‘maids   We get to understand what
                                 for Virginia’ of Jennifer Potter’s   the  journey  across  the  ocean           available to 75% of the population.  deprivation still exist. Many of the
                                                                                                                    During the wars, district
                                 The Jamestown Brides.      must have been like, and then                        nurses volunteered for active   diseases and ailments the early
                                                                                                                                            patients suffered from have been
                                    Local author Jennifer Potter   what confronted the women
                                 was born in Devon, and spent   once they arrived. Jamestown                     service. They helped in air raid   replaced by more complex illnesses
                                 time in Malaysia, Jordan and   must  have  seemed  a  dismal,                   shelters and first aid posts.  and medical conditions, which
                                 Indonesia, reading French at   small and poor place. The                        Some joined the armed forces   make the job of the district
                                                                                                                 and civilian defence forces.  nurse even more challenging.
                                 Bristol University. She worked in   women’s story is not, for the               They were very brave, refusing
                                 journalism  before  turning  her   most part, one of triumph. Not                                                      STEPHANIE HURST
                                 hand to writing. The Jamestown   all of them found men willing                  to give up on their patients
                                 Brides is one of four novels and   to pay the bride price – though              even when caught up in air   Images of the Past: The District
                                                                                                                 raids. Babies were born under
                                                                                                                                            Nurse, Susan Cohen. Pen & Sword,
                                 five non-fiction works. It traces   women were scarce, there were
                                 – as much as it can, given the   other,  cheaper,  ways  to  find  a            bombardment. Mothers delivered   £14.99.
                                 paucity of surviving records –  wife. And their fates are almost
                                 the lives of 56 young women   impossible to track, partially                      Become part of the community
                                 shipped to Virginia to become   because relevant records were
      In 1607 three English ships   planters’ wives in exchange for   destroyed. Many of the 56 simply              Complete and return the form below, join online, or download a standing
      landed in Chesapeake Bay in   tobacco, the profits from which   disappear from any records;                    order form from Alternatively, if you own a
      Virginia. The men aboard were   were to line the coffers of   Potter is only able to trace with   The book is a compelling   smart phone, scan the QR code.
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      not fleeing poverty or religious   Virginia Company speculators.   some certainty the fates of four   read  – meticulously researched
      persecution. Instead they risked   The book searches for the   of them. Some will have been   and well written. Like Potter
      life and limb in the perilous   women’s motivation for leaving   killed or taken captive in the   herself, I longed to know more
      ocean voyage in order to find   what was doubtless a less than   Indian uprising that took place   about the individual lives of the
      gold  and a  passage  to the Far   idyllic life in England for an   a mere three months after the   women who willingly left one
      East. They were not the first to   unknown, but certainly dangerous   women arrived – this is the book’s   fairly stable if not particularly
      try  to  settle  the  area  –  two   land across the Atlantic, as well   most harrowing incident. Many   happy life for another undoubtedly
      attempts had failed – but this   as for what befell them after they   must have succumbed to the   unstable and probably perilous
      time they succeeded in building   arrived. First-hand information   diseases and hard living that early   one. In lieu of these stories, Potter   MEMBERSHIP FORM
      a lasting colony on the James   on the women is scarce – they  17th century Jamestown offered.  provides the reader with interesting   one subscription covers everyone at the address
      River and a settlement they   were not the type to write letters   The reader is left amazed that   and evocative contextual stories,   I would like to join the HGS Residents Association.
      called  Jamestown.  Ill-prepared,  and memoirs and probably could   the colony actually survived.  vivid descriptions and insightful
      they had to rely on the area’s   not write at all. Instead, Potter   Certainly the people who settled   legal proceedings.   PLEASE USE CAPITALS THROUGHOUT
      indigenous people and almost   starts from lists of their names,  in Virginia seemed less prepared to   TINA ISAACS  Name
      all starved to death in the winter   parentage, age, birthplace and   face New World circumstances           Address
      of 1609-1610. Mortality remained   testimonials from trusted sources,  than their contemporary fellow   The Jamestown Brides: the untold    Postcode
      extremely high in the early years   and  then  finds  what  she  can   exiles in Massachusetts (founded   story of England’s ‘maids for Virginia’,
      – of the first 10,000 settlers only   about them and their families   in 1620), not that New Englanders   Jennifer  Potter  (2018).  London:   Email
                                                                                                                   (Giving your email address helps us keep in touch and reduce costs )
      2,000 survived.            in parish and court records.   had it easy, either.  Atlantic Books, £20.
         Still, more people came to   While little can be learned                                                  Phone

      Jamestown; gentlemen, craftsmen,  directly about the women, Potter                                           Subscription amount:  £    (Minimum payment £15)
      labourers, indentured servants   ably describes their general circum-  WORDSEARCH
      and a handful of women. And   stances, gives us insight into                                                 Fellowship donation:  £    (To support Fellowship, a Suburb charity,
      while no one found gold, they   the men who ran – and ran into   In the first of our new series of Wordsearch in 2019 we have   (Optional)       in its work for Suburb senior citizens)
                                                             included the names of 20 modes of transport. One of them is
      did ‘discover’ tobacco, which   the ground – the Virginia   highlighted to start you off, Names may be read in all directions,    Total:  £   (Total amount for cheque, standing
      became a profitable crop. Much   Company, and the environment   straight or diagonally. Please send your entries by email to          order, PayPal or credit card via
      of  the  settling  was  bankrolled   in England that would make with your name and contact details. The   SN138
      by the Virginia Company, which   the  notion  of embarking  on   closing date is June 17. All correct entries go into a draw to win   Standing order is best – it stays unchanged unless you alter/cancel it!
      propounded numerous for-profit   such a perilous journey into the   a £20 book token. Good luck!             * I declare by making this donation that I want to Gift Aid my donations to
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