Far less is known, as Fissell also points out, about how far men ‘cared’ in the
early modern household.2 This chapter will explore the issue of domestic care
for the sick, with particular emphasis on gender healing roles within the family
unit. It will also highlight the important medical relationships between parents
and children, such as that of father and daughter, and foreground the important
role of men in collating and recording household medical knowledge. Further,
as evidence in Welsh sources demonstrates, care for the sick, and especially for
The nurses’ role in wound management in civilian hospitals during the Second World War
sources are a group of 19 interviews, collected by the author
during 2008–10. These former nurses trained in UK hospitals during the
‘Those maggots – they did a wonderful job’
1930s and 1940s. Pseudonyms are used to preserve their confidentiality.
Sound recordings are located at the United Kingdom Centre for the History
of Nursing and Midwifery (UKCHNM).
2 Jocalyn Lawler, Behind the Screens: Nursing, Somology, and the Problem of
the Body (Melbourne, Churchill Livingstone, 1991).
3 See, for example, V. R. Yow, Recording Oral History: A Practical Guide for
newspapers have informed a variety of research topics include their value in tracing family histories, displaying attitudes to disadvantaged community groups,
recording the impact of sporting events on sections of society, and in providing
insights into the views and opinions expressed by letter writers to newspapers
from earlier periods. 4 Another reason why printed materials such as newspapers are becoming increasingly important for academic research is that ‘they
are an important creator and transmitter of cultural values and ideas, and sociopolitical ideologies’.5
but they mean that we must approach the quantification of both sickness and medical welfare with caution.
A third question, meanwhile, is that of the recording of sickness
when it did become visible to parochial officers. John Brooker’s rent
was paid by Tilehurst. We might not have guessed the transaction to be
sickness-related had his letter not survived. At least there was a record
of the payment. As a young male pauper on outdoor relief, Brooker
was always likely to be visible in the parochial sources given the moral
hazards he posed. Payments
Officer Commanding No. 91 (Composite) Wing, Iwakuni, ‘Formation of
Air Evacuation Team at K16, “British Commonwealth Casualty Evacuation
Flight Proposed Formation – Information”’, National Archives of Australia,
A12124: 3/8/Air Pt 1, dated 2 April 1953, 1.
4 Interview with Cathie Thompson (nee Daniel), by Maxine Dahl at Wagga
Wagga on 13 June 1997. Recording held by RAAF Museum.
5 Gay Halstead, Story of the RAAF Nursing Service 1940–1990 (Metung,
Victoria, Nungurner Press Pty Ltd, 1994), 288.
6 Janette Bomford, Soldiers of the Queen: Women of
Medical personnel and the invasion of Europe in the Second World War
Carol Acton and Jane Potter
strain. For doctors
and nurses who in civilian life operate under a code of silence, forbidden
to breach patient confidentiality, to record and later to make that recording public (including the donation of diaries and letters to an archive)
confounds the issue, even more so in wartime service when the private
recording of events in diaries may be forbidden. Thus, while articulating
the experience was often psychologically necessary to the recording individual, to keep them, therefore, and to speak from them can be considered subversive. Like First World War medical
monitoring, often after service reviews revealed deficiencies. For instance, one early and influential study conducted by a trainee GP remarked how the notes in one general practice suggested that ‘biochemical investigations relied completely on the patients’ own recordings, with no supervised check being carried out’. 69 Some tests were erratically performed. Blood sugar examinations, for example, were seemingly carried out inequitably – ‘recorded more often for diet and diet plus oral hypoglycaemic controlled diabetics than in insulin-controlled cases’ – and the general
Relax and Be Successful (1951) and its sequel The Art of Relaxed Living: A Guide to Health, Happiness and Success in an Age of Stress (1955) by journalist and health writer James Hewitt. Many relaxation books underwent successive reprints and new editions, and relaxation advice was included in widely popular series such as Tandem publishing house's ‘Do Something’ series, and Hodder and Stoughton's ‘Teach Yourself’ series in the 1960s and 1970s.
As with Madders's book Relax , audio recordings often accompanied relaxation books as supplementary
exclusion a considered omission, not inherent in the nature of the burial register.
Barbara Donagan’s alternative explanation for the absence of soldiers –
that normal procedures of burial and recording were overwhelmed by major
battles – can also be dismissed.64 The war certainly caused many problems
of registration, but those cannot explain all the missing war dead. While a
major battle no doubt made naming the dead impossible, it did not preclude
counting them, and it is clear that parish clerks and others regularly totted up
the numbers killed locally. Indeed the best
were managed in the case study institutions. Finally,
the concluding chapter assesses the ways the construction of nurses’
health reflected wider debates about disease in society rather than
identifying exactly what it was about the work that produced a risk
1 Pall Mall Gazette (11, 17 September 1890).
2 Ibid. (7 September 1890).
3 Health and Safety Executive, A Pilot Study into Improving Sickness Absence
Recording in National Health Service Acute Trusts (2007). www.hse.gov.uk/
research/rrpdf/rr531.pdf. Accessed 1 May 2012.
4 S. Boorman