Nursing in Cherry Willingham

Here are some interesting photographs of 'Nurse Hickson's career in nursing, including her 'Midwifery and District Nurse Certificate'.

Nurse Constance Hickson
Constance Mary Hickson was born in Lincoln in October 1899 the eldest daughter of William Clipsham Hickson (1872) and Sarah Agnes (1869)(nee Pickup) who had married in September 1895.
Her sister Gertrude Agnes was christened 20/6/1901
Brother Frank was born 1905 
Brother Kenneth Charles was born 1909
The 1881 census  shows William Clipsham Hickson born in 1872 at Bardney, son of William (1841) and Louisa (1844) living at 34 Kingsley Street Lincoln and his Father's occupation being a Brickmaker. Unfortunately 1891 1901 and 1911 censuses give no occupations, so it is unsure what Constance's Father did for a living although they did continue to live in Lincoln.
Her certificate from the Lincolnshire County Nursing Associationstates she completed a twelve month course in Midwifery and District Nursing in London with The PlaistowMaternity Charity and subsequently served the Association for three years as District Nursefrom December 1922 to December 1925.
William Rathbone ( 1819 to 1902 ) a Liverpool Merchant and Philanthropist had employed a nurse to tend his sick wife and understood the lack of adequately trained nurses so under Florence Nightingale's advice started a nurse training school and home attached to the Royal Infirmary in Liverpool in the 1860's, from which basis a district nursing system was implemented and soon spread throughout the country. The Plaistow Maternity Charity was established in 1889 within Plaistow Maternity Hospital, the main aim of the charity being to instruct women in nursing work in villages and cottages. The training had to be at least one year and include nursing of mothers and infants after childbirth and nurses in country districts had to have three months midwifery training.
It is thought she was working in and around Cherry Willinghamfrom approximately 1946 to 1966.
The very poor and old age pensioners were generally nursed free unlike other members of society.
Organizers of District Nursing Associations were responsible for employing District Nurses and paying their salaries and other expenses as well as providing homes for them to live in.
Mrs Dorothy Bowman recalled in her memories of provident schemes with a Red Book and three secretaries, one for each village  Cherry Willingham, Reepham and Fiskerton. Each secretary had two or three collectors,  collecting monies from every household, some paying more than others depending on their means, to pay for the nurse's salary. The Red Book contained everyone's name and one shilling or four shillings, if they were well off and could afford to pay, was collected. Fund raising in the form of garden fetes to subsidize the monies were organized, if there had been insufficient funds paid in. Each village took it in turns to host the fete with the other two villages helping with the stalls. Cherry Willingham's was always held in the Vicarage gardens.  In the 1950's the fetes were opened by the local MP Harry Crookshank. Although Cherry Willinghamwas by far the smallest of the three villages at that time, they often raised the largest sums of money. The old vicarage was demolished to make way for New Crescent and the new vicarage built on Church Lane opposite the Church in 1965.
When the National Health Service came into being in July 1948universal healthcare became free at point of access and home nursing was paid for by everyone through National Insurance Contributions and nurses employed by local authorities. 98% of the population had become within easier reach of a district nurse.
 A talk on District Nursing by C Clarkson tells of Nurse Hickson's working life in CherryWillingham and surrounding villages. She used to ride a bicycle around the villages of Cherry Willingham, Reepham and Fiskerton. As she was rather a large lady she had the saddle replaced by either a tractor seat or a motor bike saddle. In bad weather the farmers would meet her with a horse and cart with a chair for her to sit on. She always carried a bag with fresh clothes to put the new babies in for some of her patients were very poor and did not have adequate supplies of clothing.
As seen in the photograph, later in her working life, she possibly had the use of a car.
On retiring from her nursing duties she moved to Welton and died in September 1966.


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