Honouring nurses at North Manchester General Hospital who gave their lives

Flu plaque web
Honouring nurses at North Manchester General Hospital who gave their lives
27 February 2018

A HISTORIC plaque honouring nurses who died in the first World War and during the Spanish ‘flu epidemic of 1918-19 has been given pride of place at North Manchester General Hospital.

The memorial which was originally displayed in the former Limbert Nurses’ Home on the hospital site was taken down for safekeeping whilst the accommodation was undergoing a huge programme of works to transform it into a suite of training facilities.

Bernard Murphy who works as a staff nurse in the critical care unit at North Manchester, as well as a Unison rep/education co-ordinator and Staff Side chair, noticed that it was missing and so undertook a mission to find its whereabouts and ensure that it went back on public display.

The plaque which names the five nurses who died – Frances Mary Hall and Louise Jordan on active service in India and Serbia, and Elizabeth Owen, Ethel Milicent Davies and Eva Hammond - acts as a timely reminder of the importance of staff being vaccinated against ‘flu as three of the ladies died from contracting Spanish influenza.

Bernard said: “I noticed the memorial plaque honouring the nursing staff who had died was no longer mounted just inside the entrance of Limbert Home.  Martin Rainsford from the estates department had the plaque in storage and so between us we decided it would be appropriate to remount the tablet next to the stained glass window from the former Ancoats hospital.

“Reading the inscription on the plaque, I believe it is so important to keep these connections with our history.   This plaque particularly resonates when we think about current ‘flu outbreaks and pandemics and it is also possible that there are relatives of these women still connected to the North Manchester area.”

Members of the infectious diseases ward staff at North Manchester General Hospital joined Bernard in admiring the new positioning of the plaque.  Ward manager Lindsey Clark commented that it was important to reflect on history and prevent further ‘flu fatalities, and so in 2018, vaccination against ‘flu is the key to this.

Clinical matron Helen Riley said:  “The plaque focuses on our colleagues who died in World War 1 and in the ‘flu epidemic and provides a valuable insight into the history of nursing at North Manchester.”

Pictured are: Bernard Murphy with ward J3/4 staff - ward manager Lindsey Clark, staff nurse Sarah Graham, healthcare assistant Nicola Burke and lead nurses Sarah Slicker and Helen Riley.

The memorial plaque can be found opposite the entrance to outpatients B at North Manchester General Hospital.