Tuesday, 3 January 2012

In Conversation with Professor John Ashton Regional Director of Public Health 2005 L1 Oral History Chinatown Moira Kenny

Florence Nightingale and Agnes Jones was an interesting partnership and also with William Rathbone, I think maybe the second or third, the men in the Rathbone family all went into Parliament, they had a family tradition of looking after the family business which was timber import into Liverpool until they were in their forties and then they went into their social responsibility and of course they were on the Liberal wing of the Liberal party and broke off to form the Labour party later on. 

But William Rathbone was very much of an innovator socially and established community nursing in Liverpool with Florence Nightingale. Now Florence had been bought up by her father in a very political way and I do not think he had any sons and so his daughter was treated as perhaps a son would have done. She was bought up on the blue books of Parliament which are statistical manuals of finance in the House of Commons and so she was very familiar with statistics and she was the first person to use indicators for hospital outcomes in the Crimea to demonstrate mortality rates in different clinical situations in the Crimea so she was also very much involved with the promotion of circular wards. We still have circular wards in the old Royal Infirmary, we managed to save, I think two of the old wards, that is now part of the University, but the thing about these particular wards, they were a Belgian idea and she picked it up in the Crimean war and bought it back.

The circular ward had the stove in the centre and the beds were laid out radially from the stove so the patients heads were by the wall by the window so that they could be open and they got ventilation and fresh air and so on and she believed this was more hygienic for the patient to have fresh air near where their heads were and she was very influential on that. There are books on Florence Nightingale and Liverpool but suffice to say... TO BE CONTINUED PROEJCT CHINATOWN PUBLICATION