Tuesday, February 09, 2021


"A History of the Progress of coloured US Graduate Nurses" (1929).

This book was previously written and owned by two Black nurses who helped desegregate the Red Cross

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Norfolk Mental Hospital - National Asylum Workers Union

National Asylum Workers Union established 1910
(Later COHSE now Unison)

Mr. G. E Hopton attended the first annual conference in Birmingham in July 1911 
G.A Yates (Norfolk Asylum) NAWU National Executive Committee member 1911

December 1911 the Norfolk Asylum branch of the NAWU had 28 members (20% of Asylum staff) - so branch probably dates from 1910

A meeting of the Norfolk Asylum NAWU branch was held at the Clubroom, Thorpe Gardens Norwich, 11th February 1913 present was George Gibson Vice President of the union (later General Secretary) Norwich Councillor H.E Witard and Dr Thompson and the Hospital Matron.
Rare for Mental hospitals of the time, the relationship between Asylum workers and management was said to be harmonious at Norfolk Asylum and according to the Union report of this meeting
"proof of cordial relates that existed between the workers and the Medical staff"
Mr Hopton stated the branch was "now in a flourishing condition"

However, by August of that year things had soured, the food for staff and patients served on the 7th August was condemned bu the union as "unfit for human consumption". The quality of food for Asylum staff and patients was a national scandal due to reluctance of Visiting Committees to pay as little as possible for the care of mental patients (and staff). It was Hopton who then approached the Visiting Committee Chairman to complain taking with him as evidence his portion of the Ham. On the 20th August he was called to the Medical superintendents office and summarily dismissed for the incident and despite support from Norwich Trades Council he was not reinstated and unfortunately joined the very long list of the unions victimised members. 

However despite this setback the NAWU continued its activities at Norfolk Asylum
1925 the NAWU nationally made a £25 political donation to George Edwards to aid him in the South Norfolk parliamentary by-election. The NAWU offering "wholehearted support". No doubt due to Edwards previous help in securing from the Visiting Committee an increased wages and War bonus for Asylum staff in 1919 as he was a member of the Committee.
July 1914 Norfolk Asylum NAWU delegate to national conference was Miss A.E. Samways (one of only two women delegates)

1920 Branch Secretaries
Norwich: Corporal G. A Yates RAMC - Norfolk War Hospital
Hellesden: E.A. Burden - 146 Marlboro Road Magdalene Rd
Great Yarmouth: A. Johnson - Attendant Royal Naval Hospital

G.E. Hopton - Norfolk Asylum 
National Asylum Workers Union

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Wednesday, December 30, 2020



Service Number 944 Australian Infantry A.I.F 13th Battalion 
Killed in Action
9 August 1915

 Age 24 years Son of John Adam & Frances Julia Markillie 110 Dalmeny Avenue, Norbury 

Buried 7th FIELD AMBULANCE CEMETERY Sp. Mem. A. 101 

Gallipoli WW1 

also citation on family grave at Camberwell Old Cemetery

Ernest Stuart Markillie - Pte 156 5th London KIA 18/1/15 Edgar's brother also killed

Father,  John Adam Markillie died in 1908 while serving as Mayor of of Camberwell - (a solider in the Afghan War)

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Ruth Elliott - COHSE Education

Women united to achieve
Ruth Elliott - COHSE Education

By Richard Ross
Wednesday 17 February 1999 
There are still too few women in senior positions within the trade union movement. That there are any owes a lot to Ruth Elliott, who has died aged 50. She spent most of her working life in trade union education, for 12 years with the TUC and then with Cohse (now part of Unison).
She was one of a group who saw trade-union education as the life blood of unions, and believed that it should be for all - members, shop stewards and officers. In particular, she set up courses to help tackle discrimination, and courses for women unionists taught by women tutors. Inside and outside the TUC, she had to battle to establish these courses in a male-dominated union world. Ruth was an inspiration to a whole generation who carried her ideas forward, so that many now seem mainstream.
Many people who come on union courses have few educational qualifications, and Ruth had a rare talent for devising innovative methods to awaken and stimulate their desire for learning. An excellent tutor herself, she also knew how to write materials that could be used by tutors throughout the country as part of the TUC's national programme of union education. Some of the TUC's first and most exciting educational publications sprang from her initiatives. Ruth lived most of her life in London, where she was active in union branches and trades councils, in community groups and in socialist feminist politics. She was part of a network of women trade unionists who offered each other support; there were, as one recalls, 'laughter and parties'. Ruth was born in Hull and educated at Newland High School, at King's College, London and at Chelsea College, where she met her future husband, David Elliott. (They eventually divorced amicably.) She worked at the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, where she was encouraged to undertake research and, as a result, completed a PhD at the London School of Economics. Ruth joined the TUC in 1975, leaving to join Cohse in 1986.
She started a Research Fellowship at Warwick University in 1989, but became too ill with ME to complete it. Accustomed to being in control of her life, she searched for an effective treatment for herself and others. Sustenance came from books and music - she was a good cellist and pianist. Used to supporting others, she valued the support she received from friends and family. Despite being unable to work, she remained politically aware and intellectually curious, and was a constant source of advice and inspiration.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020