Sunday, 25 May 2008

Blue Plaques

Wandering around London, you get pretty used to seeing blue plaques on the front of buildings, commemorating the lives of famous or worthy former residents. In fact, nationwide, there seem to be a large assortment of plaques of various colours placed by a myriad of organisations, but the London ones are selected and administered by English Heritage. While I was in Chelsea a few weeks back I took a detour off the King's Road to have a look at the two houses which had been home to Dame Maud McCarthy, Matron-in-Chief, between the time of her return to England in 1919 and her death thirty years later. Although at the time it was just a 'general interest' visit, it did occur to me later that perhaps she would qualify for a blue plaque on one of those properties. So I checked out the English Heritage website, and phoned them to confirm that she had not previously been considered, and last week I sent in my proposal to be put forward to their Committee. The whole process, from application through selection to a final conclusion, can be long and tortuous, and I have no idea if she will be considered worthy of the honour, but it's been an interesting learning opportunity for me, and might possibly end in a blue plaque for Dame Maud.
Breath-holding is not recommended!

English Heritage Blue Plaques

Monday, 5 May 2008

The Second World War

Although my interests remain firmly fixed in the Great War, I get lots of enquiries from people researching their WW2 relatives. Many of them still remember their great-aunts or grandmothers who served as nurses at that time, though relatively few are still alive today.
I recently came across some Second World War documents at The National Archives; letters written by members of QAIMNS and the Territorial Army Nursing Service from various theatres of war, and have decided to add these personal accounts to the website. Half of them describe the events during the evacuation of the Casualty Clearing Stations from France in 1940, while the rest are from further afield, including Malta, Sicily, North Africa, Singapore and India.
Having just decided to give the research a break for the summer and poke my head outside, I seem to be back to slogging over new web pages again - just an addict I think! An introduction and link to the new content can be found on the following page - just a bit to start with, and it will be added to over the summer - unless 'outside' proves irresistible.

Scarletfinders - Second World War Accounts