Sunday, July 12, 2015

Famous nurses (3): Edith Cavell

Edith Cavell (according to the first site mentioned below, her name rhymes with "travel" and does not have the stress on the second syllable) appears (today, at any rate) next to a Google search for Mary Seacole, as someone people also looked for. But I have been aware of her for ages.  Boyhood trips to Norwich went past the memorial to her near the Anglican Cathedral, and her tomb in the Cathedral, and when I lived in London, I quite often went near the memorial to her near St Martin in the Fields.  

Edith Cavell was born near Norwich in 1865, and was executed by firing squad in 1915 for helping allied soldiers escape from Belgium.   She had been in Belgium for some time at this point, and is viewed by at least some as one of the founders of modern nursing there. 

There is a pub named after her in Norwich, hospital wards and schools in all sorts of places, and the University of East Anglia has named the administrative building that deals with its nursing and health courses the "Edith Cavell Hub". This year is the centenary of her death, and there is to be a coin with her portrait on it.

Here are some sites about Edith Cavell:

This one is based on a booklet published in 1985 by the Parochial Church Council of the Anglican parish church in Swardeston, near Norwich, where she was born and where her father was vicar.  

The Royal Norfolk Regimental Museum, in Norwich Castle, has an exhibition about Cavell

There is film of her funeral in Norwich (following the repatriation of her body) in 1919 in the East Anglian Film Archive.  

A search for Belgian sites shows how many clinics and hospitals have been named after her, and also that there is a road named after her in Brussels.  But there is this site in this site in Flemish from RoSa in Brussels.  RoSa is a library and archive dedicated to feminism and gender.  There is also this site in French, on a website about "Medecins de la Grande Guerre".  There is a long page about "Infirmieres", which lists the page about Cavell. 

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