Faculty of Health and Social Care 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 is welcome to attend. 

Stan Murphy, Colin Jones and Professor Elizabeth Mason-Whitehead at the collection launch
Stan Murphy, Colin Jones and Professor Elizabeth Mason-Whitehead at the collection launch

2013-2014 Programme of events

The Faculty of Health and Social Care Historical Society are commemorating 100 years since the outbreak of the First World War with a series of talks on the effects of the conflict, together with a new Museum exhibition to be opened later in 2014. The first talk was on the extraordinary life of Edith Appleton who nursed close to the Western Front in France for the whole of the First World War and received the Military OBE, the Royal Red Cross and the Belgian Queen Elisabeth medal for her dedication and bravery. More information on Edith Appleton.

The December speaker will be Professor Christine Hallett Director of the UK Centre for the History of Nursing and Midwifery and Chair of the UK Association for the History of Nursing. She was also the Founding Chair of the European Association for the History of Nursing. Christine trained as a nurse and health visitor in the 1980s and holds first degrees and PhDs in both Nursing and History. She practised as a community nurse before becoming a lecturer at the University of Manchester in 1993. During her career at Manchester, she has published in the fields of nursing education, clinical practice, and history. She is a co-editor for the academic book series, Nursing History and Humanities at Manchester University Press. Christine holds Fellowships of both the Royal Society of Medicine and the Royal Society for the Arts.

Christine has undertaken numerous consultancies. She was a Historical Advisor and Script Consultant to the BBC drama series 'The Crimson Field', and a consultant to the BBC's First World War Centenary website project. She has advised on the refurbishment of the Florence Nightingale Museum, London (2010) and the redevelopment of the Medical Galleries at the Science Museum, London (2013). She was project-lead and series editor to a Nursing and Midwifery Council project: 'Historical Investigations into the Professional Self-Regulation of Nursing and Midwifery' (2012).

Forthcoming talks and museum opening dates:

* 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.

The FHSC Historical Society and the Riverside Museum

The FHSC Historical Society has also 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.