Author Topic: St Thomas's Hospital, Central London  (Read 488 times)

Offline Apiarist

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St Thomas's Hospital, Central London
« on: Wednesday 22 July 20 09:25 BST (UK) »
I have an ancestor, Grace ALLEN, listed in the 1911 Census as a Superintendent Laundress in the Edmonton Union Workhouse and yet a family portrait photo dated about 1911-12 shows her in a nurses uniform. Another group photo includes Grace with 45 other medical staff (23 men, 23 women) in front of a two storied Victorian building - supposedly St Thomas's Hospital.

Grace emigrated to NZ with her husband Lewis GILES on 26 Oct 1912 and the nurses uniform remained in the family's possession for many years.

My question is how likely is it that a 31 year old senior laundress could change occupation to nursing ? Presumably training was on-the-job. Would a student nurse normally be included in a staff photograph in Edwardian times ? Did St Thomas's have less than 50 staff at the time (1911-12) ?  I understand St Thomas's was a training hospital.

Any ideas or suggestions much appreciated.

Online PaulineJ

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Re: St Thomas's Hospital, Central London
« Reply #1 on: Wednesday 22 July 20 09:30 BST (UK) »
I wouldn't have been surprised to see her in a uniform.
Superintendent laundress is a reasonably responsible job.
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Offline rosie99

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Re: St Thomas's Hospital, Central London
« Reply #2 on: Wednesday 22 July 20 12:44 BST (UK) »
What was her occupation when she married
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Offline Enumerated

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Re: St Thomas's Hospital, Central London
« Reply #3 on: Wednesday 22 July 20 12:54 BST (UK) »
Could it be the other way round - that she did her nursing training before she became Superintendent Laundress? 31 is a bit old to start nursing training.

What was she doing in the 1901 census?

Offline jonw65

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Re: St Thomas's Hospital, Central London
« Reply #4 on: Wednesday 22 July 20 14:24 BST (UK) »
What was she doing in the 1901 census?

She was a laundry maid at the Forest Gate District School
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:X9N8-M39

Earlier thread on this couple
https://www.rootschat.com/forum/index.php?topic=832317.0

Edmonton workhouse, should be a photo or two
http://www.workhouses.org.uk/Edmonton/

Offline JenB

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Re: St Thomas's Hospital, Central London
« Reply #5 on: Wednesday 22 July 20 14:44 BST (UK) »
Did St Thomas's have less than 50 staff at the time (1911-12) ?  I understand St Thomas's was a training hospital.

Looking at the 1911 census for St Thomas's there were over 200 nurses, let alone medical practitioners and other staff.
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Offline JenB

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Re: St Thomas's Hospital, Central London
« Reply #6 on: Wednesday 22 July 20 14:55 BST (UK) »
Another group photo includes Grace with 45 other medical staff (23 men, 23 women) in front of a two storied Victorian building - supposedly St Thomas's Hospital.

Was there anything particular about the building which led it to be identified as St Thomas's?
Old image of St T here https://www.antiquemapsandprints.com/london-st-thomass-hospital-1926-old-vintage-print-picture-240485-p.asp
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Offline Apiarist

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Re: St Thomas's Hospital, Central London
« Reply #7 on: Thursday 23 July 20 09:58 BST (UK) »
Thanks everyone for your helpful comments.
I have a group photo showing my ancestor Grace ALLEN (too big to attach to this post). On closer examination I think this is a photo taken at Edmonton Workhouse about 1911 when Grace was the Superintendent Laundress (not St Thomas's Hospital). Staff numbers in the photo, presence of children, variation in adult clothing and background building facade all tend to support this.

Either Grace went on to become a nurse at St Thomas's Hospital in the following few months or more likely this was a family myth.

Unfortunately there is no evidence of a marriage to Lewis GILES prior to their emigration to NZ in Oct 1912 (probably due to divorce complications) so there is no marriage record showing Grace's occupation. Couple traveled to NZ as Mr & Mrs Lewis Giles and no-one was any the wiser ! 

Offline Biggles50

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Re: St Thomas's Hospital, Central London
« Reply #8 on: Thursday 23 July 20 15:07 BST (UK) »
All Staff would have worn some sort of uniform.

The other Laundy staff would also have worn a uniform but as Superintendent hers would have been more elaborate to signify her status which probably would have been on a par to a Nursing Sister.

Is there any difference in the shading of the uniforms or in their hats, belts and badges?
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