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.

The UKAHN Bulletin gets a new editor

We are delighted to announce that Professor Alannah Tomkins has agreed to take on the role of Editor for the Bulletin.

Handing over the baton is our current editor, Dr Sue Hawkins, who has produced three excellent collections. Keeping the momentum going through the pandemic and lockdown was a challenge, particularly as the Colloquium did not meet for two years. But she did it, including a special edition co-edited with Associate Professor Karen Flynn, showcasing scholarship in the history of nursing through the lens of ‘people of colour’.  Sue’s determination and skill and Karen’s expertise led to this unique and truly diverse, international collection of new and reproduced papers. As outgoing editor, Sue and the editorial team, are confident that the Bulletin will be in good hands under Alannah’s editorship.

Alannah Tomkins is Professor of Social History at Keele University, she has been working in the period of the ‘long’ eighteenth century for over twenty-five years.  Her research has focussed on the history of the English poor laws and the social history of medicine, her most recent book being Medical Misadventure in an Age of Professionalisation, c.1780-1890 (2017).   We are very excited that she has agreed to take this role on and we are looking forward to a stimulating 2023 edition, drawing on current and new research, including we hope, papers from the 2023 Chichester Colloquium. Alannah says:

The Bulletin has proved a vital resource for me in becoming a historian of nursing, and I’m privileged to take up the post of editor.  I hope to maintain and promote its role in providing information and publishing opportunities to people across the span of careers, among nurses and historians, students and academics alike.

More information regarding submitting a paper for the 2023 Bulletin can be found here:

The call for papers for the 2023 Colloquium is still open! More information regarding this, and the colloquium itself can be found here:

The UKAHN Bulletin Volume 10 (1) 2022

The editorial team are very please to announce the publication of the 2022 edition of the Bulletin. Thank you to all our enthusiastic and skilled authors for their scholarship and for taking the time to share their work with us all. The scope of papers is international, and spans several centuries, indicating that nursing history is far from dead!

We hope you will enjoy reading the papers, and that all of you scholars – young and old, from aspiring PhD students, to academics and to retired nurses ready to dive into that bit of nursing history they have always wanted to explore – will be encouraged to research, to write, and to submit papers for the 2023 Colloquium and the next Bulletin.

Congratulations to University of Huddersfield Graduates

The 9th November 2022 was a special day for the history of nursing and allied fields when three of Professor Christine Hallet’s students Dr Sarah Rogers Joseph Mellodrew and Beth Richardson-Smith graduated. Read more here.

Update on progress:

Dear friends, over the past few months we have been starting to plan for the future of UKAHN, but have also been managing some changes to communication. In summary:

We are pleased to say we are now able to be back in touch with a new Mailchimp  account. The email clearly says that its from UKAHN, and the Mailchimp address is ‘Nursing History’. As this has changed, if you are on our list, please do just check in your spam folder that a message from us has not been blocked. We are not yet thinking of formally changing our name, this is simply a way of starting afresh with Mailchimp. The website and twitter account remain the same for the time being.

The Bulletin editorial team are enthusiastically working on the 2022 edition, there will be updates as we get closer to a publication date.

And – we are delighted to give advanced notice that we do intend to hold a colloquium in 2023. It will be in Chichester, with Dr Claire Chatterton taking the lead. More on date and venue will follow.

Amanda, Claire, Janet, Sarah and Sue


Latest from the blog:

‘THE MOST SENSATIONAL STRIKE OF MODERN TIMES.’ REMEMBERING THE RADCLIFFE STRIKERS. Thanks to Dr. Caire Chatterton for this thought provoking and timely rememberance from 100 years ago.


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…