FHSC Historical Society

The University’s Faculty of Health and Social Care (FHSC) Historical Society aims to unite individuals with an interest in medicine, nursing, midwifery and social work across the University and the wider community. The Society meets regularly for a range of talks and discussion and anyone with an interest in health and social care or social history is welcome to attend.

2016 Programme

Details of other speakers and museum opening dates will be posted here as soon as they have been confirmed. We also welcome those who are interested in becoming a volunteer and please contact Roger Whiteley.

* These dates may be subject to change and please check this site for updates. There is no car parking available at the Riverside Campus (formerly County Hall) and access to the lecture rooms is through the main entrance, opposite the River Dee. The address is: University of Chester, Riverside Campus, Castle Drive, Chester CH1 1SL.

Message to all volunteers, speakers, supporters and visitors 

2015 has been another successful year for the Faculty of Health and Social Care Historical Society with a variety of fascinating speakers and more visitors than ever to the FHSC Riverside Museum, including community groups of all kinds, tourists, conference delegates and students.

None of this activity would be possible without the constant support of the University, the community and the dedicated band of volunteers. We are immensely grateful to all who have helped with the development of the Society and Museum from its foundation in 2008 to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the foundation of the NHS, to its established status today.

A big thank you to our invited speakers in 2015 who gave us insights into a range of interesting topics: Dr Jane Brooks, University of Manchester (nursing the liberated inmates of Bergen-Belsen); Dr Stuart Wildman (nursing on the home front in the First World War); Dr Janette Allotey, University of Manchester (the history of midwifery); Dr Christine Hallett, University of Manchester (lecture on Edith Cavell on the 100th anniversary of her death); Alison and Keiron Spires (Nursing in the Boer War); and Professor Linda de Cossart (women in surgery). We are so fortunate to benefit from their extensive knowledge and experience.

We look forward to another exciting year in 2016 and always welcome anyone who would like to come along to listen to the free talks, visit the Museum or get more involved with the FHSC Historical Society and the Riverside Museum in any way. Please contact Roger Whiteley (r.whiteley@chester.ac.uk or 01244 511619) if you would like find out more.

The FHSC Historical Society and the Riverside Museum

The FHSC Historical Society has gathered a selection of curiosities from the world of medicine, nursing, midwifery and social work for display in the Riverside Museum at the University of Chester. The everyday and unusual objects from these fields of study and practice forms a permanent collection based at the Riverside Campus.

Society members Stan Murphy and Colin Jones brought the majority of the collection from the former Deva Hospital to its new home at the institution and have been the driving force behind the development of the collection since then, inspiring volunteers with their infectious dedication and enthusiasm. Dr Lisa Peters and Ian McKay from Learning and Information Systems, both librarians with expertise in museum development, have ensured that the collection was developed according to museum protocol and their support has been invaluable. They, and other volunteers, including Anne Naylor, Claire Chatterton, Professor Dorothy Marriss and Penny Davies were thanked by the University’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Tim Wheeler at a private launch for their efforts. The collection will also provide a forum for teaching and research and there are plans for themed exhibitions to take place. It is also continuing to grow and develop with generous donations from Chester and further afield.

The collection was originally set up in the University’s Westminster Building before being transferred to Riverside. Barbara Holliday, in the Faculty of Health and Social Care’s administration team, Professor Mike Thomas and Professor Elizabeth Mason Whitehead developed the Historical Society to bring together interested parties, originally from across the University, to become involved with the collection.

Professor Mason Whitehead said: "The Society would like to expand its membership to include the community and enable the collection to be used for research and learning. We will be looking to do this throughout the year as well as inviting guest speakers to our meetings. Particular thanks should go to Barbara for her hard work – she has been integral in enabling the collection to become established within the Faculty.

"We are interested in hearing from anyone who would like to get involved in the Society – not just those from a health background."

Dr Emma Rees, Senior Lecturer in the English Department who has been involved in the Historical Society since its inception, said: "The opening of the collection marks the culmination of years of hard work by Society members. The project has brought together individuals not only from different Faculties in the University but from the wider Chester community too."

One of the highlights of the collection is a letter penned by Florence Nightingale to a sister grieving for news of her brother missing in action in the Crimea. More than 150 years after it was written, the autographed, four-sided letter was recently purchased by the University.

Professor Tim Wheeler, Vice-Chancellor of the University said: "The project has been entirely reliant on the goodwill of donors, volunteers and those with an interest in the subject. I would like to thank everyone involved for the huge efforts involved."

Anyone interested in joining the Historical Society or for more information about the collection should contact Roger Whiteley: r.whiteley@chester.ac.uk, 01244 513169.

Some of the previous talks are available to view in the Society's online archive.