From bandaging dormice to starched collars and back to the 70s. My 48 years in the fab NHS

Awwww. This little lass grew up to be one of our longest serving nurses who's still with us now.

She answered the call when we asked for your memories as part of our NHS70 celebrations... and if they go back to black and white days all the better.

From the little girl in a toy nurse kit she went on to join the NHS as a 16-year-old cadet in 1972 and is back with us on nights on ward 19 at HRI after a career which has covered all eras.

Who is it then?

It's Linda Taylor.

Here's her account, which is a touching insight into nursing and how it used to be and is now. Happy 70th NHS, and big thanks to Linda. If you want to get in on the action then call Comms on HRI x5252, x5256 and x5253 - we'd love to hear from you


Wow, they called “me” a nurse

The NHS is 70 this year. When I started in 1972 as a 16-year-old I hadn’t realised what a young organisation it was. I thought it had always been there.

Nursing is what I wanted to do from being a little girl. I used to have injured dormice bandaged up in cots in my dolls’ house.

Cadet Nursing was studying at Huddersfield Technical College and one day a week at work. We covered all departments from plaster room to x-ray and we also worked in the laundry, kitchen and outpatients to name but a few, but it gave us a good all round view of what they did and where they were.

In 1973 she started at Ellerslie in Edgerton moving away from home and feeling very “grown up”. There were two housekeepers and they had to be in for 10 pm with lights out at 10.30 pm. Once a month they got a late pass to 11 pm.

Some girls escaped down drainpipes, but I was never brave enough.

When I first arrived I was greeted with the words: "Welcome Nurse Mosley” which gave me a lovely warm feeling inside. I couldn’t believe they called me a nurse!

Our uniforms were completely white. The starch on our collars chafed our necks.

If you broke a glass it came out of your wages

When I started there were no movable beds we used to lift the bed onto a bed raiser.

Urine bottles, thermometers and intravenous fluid bottles and blood bottles were made of glass and if you broke one it was taken off your wage at the end of the month.

For orthopaedic training we went to King Edward VII hospital in Sheffield and nursed children with long-term conditions. Many were on traction, whilst others had rods in their backs. Others had skull calipers.

We used to put their beds out in the sunshine so they had sun on their faces and the squirrels used to play nearby. See her photos.

We slept above the wards and if they were short-staffed they would come and get you out of bed.

I also remember shaving men with cut throat razors and lots of shaving foam… and a very, very red face!

I left because I was pregnant...even though I was married

Back at HRI,  I remember nursing patients with horrendous pressure ulcers but now these are largely relegated to history books through training and good practice.

I left prior to state registered training as I was pregnant even though I was married. They had only just started accepting married nurses. I lost the baby but jobs were scarce so I became a healthcare assistant at Thornhill Nursing Home. 48 hours a week with one day off and very long shifts.

I had to wash, iron, make meals and scrolls of butter, hang washing out  and fill up hot water bottles.

In 1977 I started enrolled nursing  to get back in.


Enema queen for the day

I was seconded to St Luke’s where I spent most of my career.

There was no attention to privacy and dignity. I remember a row of patients down each side of the dayroom in open-backed nightdresses on draw sheets. There were no pads in those days and the stench of urine and ammonia in the air burned your throat.

Patients had a daily bath and twice weekly enemas through a funnel. We used to take turns being enema queen for the day.

I qualified and worked on coronary care then left to have my son, who is now 36 and returned to nights.

I stayed there until 2005 when we transferred to ward 21 at HRI.  We transferred to Halifax to ward 10 but then came back to ward 4  - a complex care ward under Ward Manager Julie Hepworth. I really enjoyed my time there. Nurses tend not to like change but are generally adaptable – we have to be.


2011 to the present day

In 2011 I was ill and took early retirement and worked in care homses enhancing my skills especially looking after people with dementia.

After six years off the wards I came back  to my beloved HRI and onto ward 21 with Amanda Waring as manager. I have been back 15 months and feel as though I have never been away.

The ward transferred to CRH but, as I live in Holmfirth, I transferred to HRI and onto ward 19 to orthopaedics and back to my roots.


We hope you agree Linda's reminiscences about nursing are fab.

If you've some photos and stories from down the years then share them and makes us all happy. Call Comms on x5252/3/6 and we'll do the rest.


You can read our full edition of this week's CHFT Weekly here.