17/08/2018 Share this story Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

Nursing ancestors during history's deadliest pandemic, Spanish Flu

037526a1-db79-47b8-9628-682859f4542a

An exhibition marking 100 years since the deadliest pandemic in human history is opening at London’s Florence Nightingale Museum.

 

The exhibition highlights the devastating impact of the Spanish flu pandemic, and the role of both professional nurses in military field hospitals and ordinary women at home in caring for victims. Spanish flu struck in the autumn of 1918, just as World War I drew to a close. It is estimated to have infected half a billion people globally and killed 50-100 million, significantly more than the war itself.

 

Healthy young adults were particularly vulnerable. Victims suffered gruesome symptoms, including explosive nosebleeds and distinctive blue tinged skin caused by lack of oxygen in their fluid-filled lungs.

 

The scale of the pandemic was so vast that key public services broke down worldwide, hospitals were overwhelmed with patients, and a shortage of coffins and gravediggers meant victims’ bodies could remain unburied for weeks.

 

Nursing ancestors? These stories may interest you too:

• Service Scrapbooks: Nursing and storytelling in the First World War – new website from the Royal College of Nursing

• Records of 1.5m nursing ancestors online for the first time

 

Florence Nightingale’s pioneering nursing work during the Crimean War revolutionised the way nurses were viewed. With the outbreak of the First World War, four years after her death, thousands of women followed her lead and volunteered as nurses. Following the Spanish flu outbreak, doctors were at a loss to treat or prevent it. Only good nursing seemed to help, so it often fell to women to care for victims.

 

Using its expertise, collections and knowledge of nursing, the Florence Nightingale Museum has developed an exhibition offering a variety of interpretations, interactives, films

and object displays about this global tragedy.

 

The exhibition, which is free with paid museum admission, runs from 21 September 2018 until 16 June 2019 and will be supported by a diverse events programme, a free downloadable resource pack and a pop-up touring exhibition.

 

Find out more here.

 

 

Image: American Red Cross production workers making flu masks in 1918, courtesy of the American Red Cross Archives.

News

17/08/2018 Share this story Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

Recent Updates

Rare Peterloo 1819 family heirloom to go on display

A 'very rare' Peterloo artefact is now on display in public for the first time, at the People's History ...


Combat Stress partners with Age Exchange to interview 100 war veterans

The charity Combat Stress is to partner with reminisence arts charity Age Exchange to create Combat Stress ...


Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe to appear in episode 1 of the new series of Who Do You Think You Are on 22 July.

Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe will be the first celebrity to appear in the UK’s new series of Who Do You ...


Gloucester Cathedral bells to ring out US national anthem on 4 July

The bells of Gloucester Cathedral will peal the tune of the US national anthem 'star-spangled' banner on 4 ...


Other News

Over 140 Lincolnshire churches to open their doors for first ever Lincolnshire Wolds & Coast Churches Festival

The inaugural Lincolnshire Wolds & Coast Churches Festival on 31 August/1 September and 7/8 September 2019 ...


Genealogy day to help find Peterloo descendants

A free genealogy day is being held in July as part of the Peterloo Massacre bicentenary events in Manchester. ...


Blitzed: Liverpool Lives exhibition explores memories of those caught up in the World War II blitz

A free new exhibition is revealing the devastation the Blitz brought to the lives and city of Liverpool ...


Who Do You Think You Are? 2019 includes Titanic, Harry Potter & James Bond stars

The celebrities featuring in the 2019 UK season of Who Do You Think You Are? have been announced, with ...