Dr Sue Hawkins, Voluntary Researcher Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children (GOSH) was Britain’s first hospital dedicated to the treatment of children. Known simply as The Hospital for Sick Children (HSC) when it opened in 1852 with only a handful of beds, it grew rapidly in both size and reputation to become the famous institution it is today.

In this talk Sue will explore the first 50 years of this famous hospital’s life, as seen through the experiences of its nurses, and its young patients. To provide some context, she will start with a quick review of historical attitudes to children’s hospitals in the 150 years prior to the opening of the HSC, ask why there was a reluctance in Britain to embrace the idea of a hospital specially for children, and how this mindset was changed.

She will then move on to the main focus of the talk: the hospital, its nurses and its patients. Using its extensive archives, and drawing on the experiences of the nurses and patients themselves, she will show how the new specialism of pediatric nursing gradually began to emerge.

Sue Hawkins is an independent historical researcher. She gained her doctorate at Kingston University on nursing in Victorian London in 2007, and taught 19th century social history, among other topics, at the University.

She published her thesis under the title Nursing and Women’s Labour in the Nineteenth Century in 2010. Other publications include work on the history of women’s involvement in science, the development of early children’s hospitals in the UK and edited collections on colonial nursing and women in magazines.

Sue is keen on using technology to improve access to archives and has led a number of digitization projects including the admissions records for several 19th century children’s hospitals (www.hharp.org), the registers of the Royal British Nurses Association (Pioneering Nurses; https://kingscollections.org/nurses/home).

Her current research interests are varied, but focus mainly on topics related to the history of medicine and women’s role in society, although recently, she has been working at The National Archives on the Poor Law project, ‘In Their Own Write’ (https://intheirownwriteblog.wordpress.com/about/).

This talk will take place in CRV016 (the Music Room) at the Wheeler Building – all welcome. Host: Faculty of Health, Medicine and Society (FHMS) Historical Society. Admission free, but booking encouraged for refreshment and seating purposes. Please contact fhsc.histsoc@chester.ac.uk or call 01244 512126 to confirm your place.

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