Welcome to the UK Association for the History of Nursing (UKAHN)

The Association is autonomous and self-governing, and a constituent member of the European Association for the History of Nursing (EAHN). The membership comprises individuals who are historians of nursing.

As well as information about the association you fill find other resources on the site to help researchers and others, interested in the history of nursing.


UKAHN Colloquium: 5 July 2022

Save the date:The 2022 UKAHN colloquium is being held at the Portico Library in the centre of Manchester on 5 July. Please join us to celebrate the history of nursing in this iconic space. Call for papers: There is no theme for this colloquium.Scholars of the history of nursing are invited to submit abstracts on any theme related to nursing history, from any era. Papers submitted for the Colloquium will also be considered for publication in the 2022 issue of UKAHN’s annual online journal, The UKAHN Bulletin. Please submit abstracts of 250 words to jane.brooks@manchester.ac.uk by Monday 11 April 2022. All abstracts will be peer reviewed by members of the Committee. The Portico Library boasts a 215-year history, having been established in 1806 by 400 founding subscribers. As its website states, early readers included future prime ministers, leading scientists and educators and world-famous authors, including Mrs Gaskell. A truly stunning setting for a colloquium. [Please note that the library is accessible by stairs or a stair lift only.  There are no lifts.https://www.theportico.org.uk/about] Lunch is included in the colloquium fee, so please apply via Eventbrite by 10 June 2022 [Registration and further details will be on this website soon]. The Portico needs delegate numbers for catering purposes – late bookings may not be possible.Waged £40Unwaged/students £30 The last UKAHN colloquium was in 2019, so the Committee very much look forward to welcoming old friends and new to this year’s colloquium. Come and celebrate with  us in Manchester –  ‘the first industrial city’.

From the RCN:

A facinating Blog:

One hundred years of insulin and the role of the Diabetes Specialist Nurse, by Theresa Smyth. Thanks Theresa, and the RCN for this potted history of Diabetes nursing and the development of the specialist nurse

And thanks to Rachael Healy and the RCN Magazine for highlighting ongoing biographical work into the life of Molly Murphy:  Molly Murphy: the life of an activist nurse 

Bulletin Volume 9 2021

To coincide with Black History Month, the UK Association for the History of Nursing is excited to announce the publication of its 2021 issue of the UKAHN Bulletin, which focuses entirely on the history of race in nursing.

We believe this is the first such collection to be published and more than anything we want it to encourage others to continue to reveal this history. We have been particularly fortunate to have Karen Flynn, a leading historian in the US in Gender, Women’s and African-American Studies as Guest Editor. Her Editorial highlights the good work which has been done, but also raises penetrating questions about the gaps and oversights in the existing historiography.

The idea arose out of events which followed the killing of George Floyd in 2020:  popular uprisings against racial discrimination, manifested globally through the actions of the Black Lives Matter movement. In the UK the events of 2020 renewed public interest in the appropriateness of some public statues, culminating in the upturning of the statue of the Edward Colston statue in Bristol. Black British historians, such as David Olusoga, have used the events of 2020 to highlight the lack of attention to Black history in British history. In turn, we want this issue of the Bulletin to stimulate academic engagement with the history of racism and nursing in Britain. We want to encourage more historians, and following the lead of one group of contributors to this Issue, The Young Historians Project (www.younghistoriansproject.org.uk), more young historians in particular, to take up the challenge – we need more work on the history of Black, Asian and other minority-group nurses and nursing in the UK.

But this Issue does not focus just on Britain: the 2021 Bulletin brings together a collection of new and reproduced work from authors as far afield as India, Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), Australia, USA and the Caribbean, each writing about history of nursing in their own regions from their own perspectives.

We hope you get as much enjoyment, challenge and stimulation from reading these papers as we have from working with the authors and producing this year’s Bulletin.


Did you take part in the 1988 strikes?

We have received a request for participants in what looks like an interesting and valuable feature – if this is you, please do get in touch with Moira who says:

I’m a freelance journalist, and until last month was a senior editor at Stylist, one of the UK’s biggest women’s magazines – specialising in feminism and politics.

I’m currently in the early stages of researching a feature on the history of nursing strikes in the UK – inspired by the possible industrial action currently being considered by the RCN and Unison. I’m planning on pitching this feature to national publications once I’ve got a few details firmed up.

I am keen to speak to a nurse who was involved in the strike action of 1988. I was wondering if there was anyone involved in UKAHN who took part in this strike and would be happy to speak with me about their memories of the event?

Kind regards,

Moya Crockett moyacrockettfreelance@gmail.com


Congratulations to The Young Historians Project on the launch of: A Hidden History: African Women and the British Health Service in the 20th Century 

Great to see this excellent and long -awaited project reach its publication phase: If you missed it, the launch of the e-book and podcast which can be accessed via there website here.

Her War:  What does nursing do to nurses?

Her War, a new opera for soprano and trumpet about WWI nurses’ experiences of nursing trauma and PTSD, premiered at the Tête-à-Tête Festival 2021. Following the live premiere at the Cockpit Theatre, Gateforth, an Interactive Broadcast was recorded on 29 July. It was great to see our own Amanda Gwinnup, whose PhD is investigating  the post-war experiences of Britain’s nurse veterans who were left disabled due to their war service, speaking alongside the cast and developers about her role in advising on the script. Great also to hear nurses’ voices represented in this creative medium. Amanda’s blog explains more and can be found here.

The RCN History of Nursing Forum is seeking suggestions of nurses to nominate for inclusion in  the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography:
Nurses are under represented in this important dictionary, and those included are not representative of our wide and varied profession. Do you have a nurse in mind who might be included? Teresa Doherty, Joint Head, Library and Archive Service at Royal College of Nursing offers more detail, and how to nominate, here.
The RCN Library and Archive: Past Caring

This is a new podcast series about the history of nursing. Each episode takes inspiration from RCN Library and Archive exhibitions exploring topics such as women’s health, myths about nursing, and learning disability nursing.

Past Caring is available on most podcast platforms. Listen to the first episode on Soundcloud here or subscribe to the series on Apple Podcasts.





‘People are curiously incredulous of a danger they cannot see’. In her blog,  Sarah Rogers [PhD student University of Huddersfield] expands on this quote, From Eva Luckes, Matron of the London over 100 years ago, which sums up the problem, then as now, of people’s inability to understand infection














Her War

Her War by  Amanda Lynn Gwinnup I am a PhD student in my final year at the University of Huddersfield, my thesis, provisionally titled Invisible Illnesses and Hidden Disabilities due to be submitted in 2022, Read more…