Collecting Nursing History 59
Amy Ann Braddick
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I was dumbstruck!
A complete set of memorabilia. GNC and hospital badges, certificates (GNC; training school; midwifery training school; receipts from the GNC for the Annual Retention fee of 2s for 1936 to1940; the Victory Medal of a brother 45507 A.CPL G. Braddick; letters - even a signed card from WWII Field Marshall Montgomery); photographs; birth certificate et al - of Amy Ann Braddick - a hospital Matron, no less!
Miss Amy Ann Braddick - The History.
Amy Ann Braddick was born on 13th January 1906 in Martock, Somerset and was named after her mother, who was also 'Amy Ann'. Her father, George Braddick was an Agricultural Labourer. When George Braddick married Amy Gaylard in 1884 they moved into 24 North Street Martock.
Their daughter Amy was the 11th of 13 children born over a period of 24 years, with the final child being born when Amy senior was 46 years old. The 1911 census shows that the parents and 11 of their children, aged between 1 and 23, were still living at 24 North Street Martock, in a house with 4 rooms. George and Amy celebrated their diamond wedding there in 1944. The house remained in the family until 1998.
By the age of 24 years Amy had become known as 'Ann' and was an active member of the Martock Women's Institute. She won awards for her jam, jelly, marmalade and bottled fruit in 1930 and by 1933 she won a gold medal for her soft fruit in water, soft fruit in juice, hard fruit in water, seed cake and coconut ice!
At age 26 Ann began a 3 year Nursing Certification training at Southmead Hospital Bristol, completing the Final State Examination for the General Register of Nurses in 1935. The old Southmead Hospital was demolished in 2010 to make way for the new one. Carillion (a modern-day construction company) apparently used much of the stone from the old buildings to create the new hospital, which opened in 2014.
The Hospital Training Certificate granted to Ann by Southmead Hospital on 10th December 1935 states that she studied Anatomy and Physiology, Medical Nursing and Surgical Nursing. She was rated as having an 'excellent character and conduct'.
On 22nd November 1935 Ann was granted the title of 'Registered Nurse' by the General Nursing Council for England and Wales, Registration Number 80508.
Ann's GNC badge is engraved on the reverse A.A. Braddick, S.R.N., 80508, 22-11-35. It was produced by the well-known Birmingham firm of Thomas Fattorini and Sons and is hallmarked for 1935.
The certificate was produced by the General Nursing Council for England and Wales. Both Badge and certificate were highly prized - and highly respected by the community at large. They could only be obtained from the General Nursing Council directly to the registrant.
And of course in those days Registration as a nurse was not free -
and an annual fee was required in order to remain on the register.
From 1936 to 1940 Ann paid the GNC an annual retention fee of 2/- (2
shillings in 1935 = the equivalent of £5 today).
1939 saw the outbreak of WW2 and Ann was nursing at Minehead Hospital in Somerset. In 1941 she was appointed 'Sister' in Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service. The London Gazette of 16th December 1941 records her service number as 206738. QAIMNS was established by Royal Warrant in 1902,
It was incorporated as a corps in the British Army in
1949 and rrenamed Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps. Prior
to 1941 nursing sisters had officer status but no distinction of
rank and they were not permitted to wear badges.
By 1942 Ann was serving in Ceylon. Her personal effects included a hand carved box marked 'Ceylon 1942' with the QAIMNS badge carved into the top and 'Sister Braddick property' written on the bottom in pencil. There is also a photograph of Ann in her QAIMNS uniform with the studio mark "Colonial Photo Company, Ceylon'. At some point Ann left Ceylon and joined the 21st Army Group in Europe.
The 21st Army Group was a British Headquarters consisting primarily of British and Canadian forces. The Army Group was an important Allied Force in the European Theatre of War in WW2. It was established in London in July 1943 under the command of Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force and was assigned to Operation Overlord, the invasion of Europe. It operated in Northern France, Luxembourg, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany from June 1944 until the end of the war in Europe in 1945, after which it was designated the British Army of the Rhine. In 1946 Ann (along with many others) received thanks from Field Marshall Montgomery for service with the 21st Army Group.
After spending most of WW2 nursing in Ceylon and on the Western
Front, Ann returned to the South West of England. From February
to June 1946 she undertook and completed 4 months training in Medical Housekeeping at
Bristol Royal Infirmary. Her training included management of Nurse's
Home, Laundry and Linen Room, Stores, Hospital Kitchen and Matron's
Matron Ann Braddick quickly set to work, although it appears she still had some difficulty recruiting nurses. The Wiltshire Times 10th March 1951 reported 'The Bradford-on-Avon District Hospital is now functioning satisfactorily under the new Matron (Miss A A Braddick) and that when additional staff are secured it should be working to full capacity.'
There is much evidence that Ann was concerned for the welfare of her patients and was involved in the local community. She appears many times in the local press and in June 1951 is mentioned judging First Aid Skills at Bradford-on-Avon Red Cross Cadets. In April 1955 she was elected onto the Bradford-on-Avon Parochial Church Council. She also remained a member of the Women's Institute. In December 1955 she applied to the League of Friends for financial support towards the cost of Christmas festivities and cubicle curtains for the women's and men's wards. The 14th July 1956 saw Matron Braddick inviting 70 members of the Bradford 60+ Club to spend the afternoon in 'the pleasant grounds of Bradford District Hospital'.
For those patients unfortunate enough to be in hospital over Christmas Matron Braddick pulled out all the stops to make it as pleasurable as possible. The Wiltshire Times 28th December 1956 reports 'Celebrations at Bradford District Hospital began with the visit on Christmas Eve of Christ Church Choir, and on Christmas morning patients awoke to find that Father Christmas had paid a visit during the night and left each of them a stocking. The turkey was carved in the ward by Dr Beale Gibson and nurses acted as waitresses. In the afternoon each patient was allowed two visitors and in the evening Father Christmas returned to present the patients and members of the staff with a gift, bought from donations from the town's League of Hospital Friends. Decorations included two Christmas trees and two crib scenes. Today members of the nursing staff are having their Christmas dinner after which they will make a trip to the pantomime 'Cinderella' at the Theatre Royal, Bath.'
Ann was highly respected by staff and patients alike. On November 28th 1966 she was left £1000 (the equivalent of about £13000 today) in the Will of Nellie Ganderton, who died at Bradford-on Avon District Hospital on 26 September.
On 7th March 1967 the Bradford-on-Avon Hospitals House Committee discussed Matron Braddick's pending retirement. Mr Barrow reported that she had rendered excellent service. The Chairman of the Management Committee acknowledged her 16 years service at the hospital and 3 years previously at Melksham (both hospitals were in the same group). The Minutes state 'The Chairman in wishing Miss Braddick a long and happy retirement paid tribute to the wonderful service she had rendered to the Hospital and the residents of the area it serves. Mr Barrow also spoke in appreciation of the cooperation he had received from Miss Braddick at all times. Miss Braddick thanked the Committee for the generous gift and thanked the members for their loyal support and help at all times. She had been most happy in her work.'
The Minutes of the League of Friends at Bradford-on-Avon also demonstrate how highly Ann was regarded at the time of her retirement. The £50 collected for her leaving gift would have been the equivalent of at least £850 today. At her last meeting with them on 20th March 1967 the Minutes record the following 'Mr President then turned to the subject of Matron's retirement and said there was a great deal of sorrow felt.... He had not had any experience of Matron's professional service but from hearsay he had heard how wonderfully she had served the public. Mr Chrystal said he had not been unfortunate to have been a patient but as a member of the Sub-Committee and its Chairman, he could not speak too highly of Miss Braddick's calm and practical sense. She had done a wonderful job - we are very much the poorer for her going' Mrs Thomas reminded the Committee that 'when the Hospital was on fire Matron did everything she could for the patients' welfare and also that she had an Outpatients department working by 4pm. Having listened to the warm words from the committee Ann received her leaving gifts of a crocodile skin handbag and a cheque. She thanked everyone and said that it was just what she wanted.'
Ann Braddick returned to North Street Martock and lived there with
her sisters Beatrice and Florence.
Copyright Sue Barker Schoolsofnursing 2018
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