Yesterday was the final step of the journey - the unveiling ceremony at her former home, 47 Markham Square, London, S.W.3, where she lived between 1919 and 1945. As might be expected, all the arrangements were beautifully organised by the Blue Plaques team at English Heritage, and even the weather was smiling. There were a number of speakers and the proceedings started off by Professor Ronald Hutton on behalf of English Heritage. Professor Christine Hallett talked about Dame Maud's professional life and her work during the Great War, and a great-niece, Jennie Newman, related some family memories of a purposeful and unique lady. There was a very strong military presence in Chelsea yesterday evening, with many current day members of Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps and the Territorial Army, the two sister services of which Dame Maud McCarthy was so influential in her time. The Plaque was unveiled by Colonel David Bates, ARRC, the current Director of Army Nursing Services and Matron-in-Chief. When I spoke to him afterwards, we both rolled our eyes at the thought of how Dame Maud would have regarded the prospect of a man ever doing her job - presumably inconceivable in her time.
After the ceremony we were all invited to join the residents of Markham Square at their annual summer gathering, and I must extend grateful thanks to Penelope Russell, who has allowed her home to become subject to a round of upheavals in the long and arduous Plaque process, and also for her hospitality to a raggle-taggle group of guests and visitors - except of course for members of the British Army, who were definitely not 'raggle-taggle'.
|Professor Ronald Hutton starts the proceedings|
|Colonel David Bates before the unveiling|
|Colonel Bates pulls the string ...|
|The Photo-Sergeant - didn't look a man to mess with|
|Thanks from the Chairman of the Markham Square Residents Association|
|Me and my daughter Hannah with Colonel Bates on her head!|