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Dame Agnes Gwendoline Hunt DBE RRC (31 December 1866 – 24 July 1948) was a British nurse, who is generally recognised as the first orthopaedic nurse.

Dame Agnes Gwendoline Hunt
Born(1866-12-31)31 December 1866
London, England, UK
Died24 July 1948(1948-07-24) (aged 81)
EducationRoyal Alexandra Hospital, Rhyl, Wales, UK
Medical career
ProfessionNurse
InstitutionsThe Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital
Sub-specialtiesOrthopaedic nursing
AwardsDBE
Royal Red Cross

Early lifeEdit

She was born in London,[1][2] daughter and sixth of eleven children[3] of Rowland Hunt (1828-1878) of Boreatton Park, Baschurch, a village in west Shropshire, England, and his wife, Florence Marianne, eldest daughter of Richard Buckley Humfrey of Stoke Albany, Northamptonshire, England.[4] She was a cousin of the Naval officer Sir Nicholas Hunt, his son being the politician Jeremy Hunt.[5]

Hunt was brought up at Boreatton Park until 1882, then at Kibworth Hall, Leicestershire before her widowed mother took the children to Australia, where they lived on a small farmstead.[6] She was disabled from osteomyelitis of the hip that she suffered from as a child following septicaemia.[7]

Nursing careerEdit

In 1887, she returned to England and began training as a "lady pupil" nurse at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Rhyl, Wales. She opened a convalescent home, the Baschurch Children's hospital, attached to the Salop Infirmary at Shrewsbury, for crippled children at Florence House (a family property) in Baschurch in 1900 which espoused the theory of open-air treatment.[8]

In 1901, she sought treatment for her own condition from a Liverpool surgeon, Robert Jones.[9]

She invited him to visit the convalescent home and he eventually began travelling there on a regular basis to provide treatment to the children. By 1907, they had built an operating theatre and they introduced the diagnostic use of X-rays in 1913. In 1910 it was approved as a training school by the Chartered Society of Massage and during World War I, Florence House was used to treat wounded soldiers.[10]

In 1918, Hunt was awarded the Royal Red Cross for her contribution during the war.[11]

Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic HospitalEdit

In 1919, the British Red Cross Society and the Shropshire War Memorial Fund provided financing to move the facility, renamed the Shropshire Orthopaedic Hospital, to a former military hospital at Park Hall, near Gobowen, Oswestry. The hospital also provided training for nurses. Later, a school begun for the children developed into a training college for disabled adults, Derwen College. The hospital was used once again to treat wounded soldiers during World War II. Following an extensive fire in 1948,[12] the hospital underwent a period of reconstruction and expansion, developing into what is now called The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital.

HonoursEdit

DeathEdit

Hunt died in 1948 aged eighty-one. Her ashes were interred in the parish churchyard at Baschurch, where there is also a plaque inside the church, which reads: "Reared in suffering thou shalt know how to solace others' woe. The reward of pain doth lie in the gift of sympathy.".[13]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Volume 28. Oxford University Press. 2004. p. 832.
  2. ^ General Registration Officer, Register of Births England and Wales, Index for January, February and March 1867: registration district St George, Hanover Square (Middlesex)
  3. ^ Brown, Yoland (1989). Boreatton Park from Dame Agnes Hunt to PGL Adventure Holidays. Yoland Brown. p. 19. ISBN 978-0-9515015-0-4.
  4. ^ Boreatton Park from Dame Agnes Hunt to PGL Adventure Holidays. p. 9.
  5. ^ Burke's Landed Gentry 1952, 17th edition, ed. L. G. Pine, Burke's Peerage Ltd, p. 1320, Hunt of Boreatton pedigree
  6. ^ Boreatton Park, from Dame Agnes Hunt to PGL Adventure Holidays. pp. 19–24.
  7. ^ "Agnes Hunt". Shropshire Routes to Roots. Archived from the original on 29 December 2006. Retrieved 5 December 2006.
  8. ^ Boreatton Park, from Dame Agnes Hunt to PGL Adventure Holidays. pp. 25–26.
  9. ^ "History". Institute of Orthopaedics. Archived from the original on 19 November 2006. Retrieved 5 December 2006.
  10. ^ Boreatton Park, from Dame Agnes Hunt to PGL Adventure Holidays. pp. 26–29.
  11. ^ "Timeline". Shropshire Routes to Roots. Archived from the original on 29 December 2006. Retrieved 5 December 2006.
  12. ^ RJAH Historical Factsheet no. 10
  13. ^ "Family Memorial to Dame Agnes Hunt". Shrewsbury Chronicle. 29 September 1950. p. 4.

SourcesEdit

External linksEdit