The Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI) has launched a new website showcasing the history of community nursing since 1859, when the first District Nurse was employed in England.

The project was funded by a £5,000 National Lottery grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), awarded to the QNI in 2017.

The QNI’s vibrant archive of stories, photos, artefacts and films are now available to a much wider online audience. Some content dates back to Victorian times, whilst other pieces such as oral interviews with retired Queen’s Nurses use modern technology to capture the essence of working as a District Nurse during the early years of the NHS.

The start of the NHS 70 years ago also coincided with the ‘golden age’ of documentary making in Britain and the website includes photographic and film resources from that period, including the 1952 film ‘District Nurse’.

Commenting on the new website, QNI Chief Executive Dr Crystal Oldman CBE said:

‘We are delighted to have launched our new heritage website to round off our 130th Anniversary year.  Nursing in the community is as important to the health and wellbeing of our population as it was when the QNI was founded in 1887 by William Rathbone with help from his friend Florence Nightingale.

‘It is an honour to showcase the experiences of historic, retired and working Queen’s Nurses in this way and to share the development and achievements of the QNI over the generations. The QNI is extremely grateful to the National Lottery; the grant has enabled a virtual celebration of District Nursing and many other areas of community nursing in the UK.’

The Queen’s Nursing Institute hopes the archive will continue to grow as nurses and their patients share their own stories via the ‘Submit Your Story’ feature.

The interactive website is now live.

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