Fighting for Recognition: The History of a Health Profession

Exhibition Launch

17 Oct 2019 17:30 - 20:30

20 Cavendish Square, Marylebone, London, W1G ORN


Join us for the launch of our new exhibition celebrating 100 years of nursing registration.

Find out about the fiery characters who fought for nursing registration, view original nursing registers from the General Nursing Council (now Nursing and Midwifery Council) and trim your own hat to emulate a matron from 1919. Talks and displays will explore the very different histories of health and medical Royal Colleges, from midwifery to physiotherapy; anaesthesia to optometry.

Short talks from 6pm include:

A century of nurse registration in the UK

Dr Alison O'Donnell and Dr Moyra Journeaux. Alison trained as a registered general nurse. She has an honours degree in education, a Masters in Nursing and completed her PhD in 2010 at the University of Dundee. She is currently Chair of the RCN History of Nursing Forum.

Midwifery in twentieth century Britain: from regulation to reinvention?

Dr Tania McIntosh, Principal Lecturer in Midwifery at the University of Brighton. Tania is dual qualified as an historian and a midwife and has researched and written extensively on the history of midwifery and women’s health.

'Making Massage a Safe, Clean and Honourable Profession for British Women’: from Special Nursing to Physiotherapy in the early Twentieth Century.

Dr Kay Nias, Medicine Galleries Research Fellow, Science Museum, London. Kay is a historian whose previous research has looked extensively at the history and material culture of physiotherapy, massage and mechanotherapy.

Displays and Activities (all evening)

View original nursing registers with the Nursing and Midwifery Council
Trim your own hat with the Royal College of Nursing
Association of Anaesthetists
The College of Optometrists
Bethlem Museum of the Mind
Florence Nightingale Museum
Royal Pharmaceutical Society
Royal British Nursing Association collection from Kings College Archives



The venue is fully wheelchair accessible. There is a hearing loop in the lecture room and the event will have live subtitles. We can offer large print copies of presentations if requested at least a week before the event. Assistance dogs are welcome.

If you have any other needs, please email us at and we will assist you wherever possible.

View our Terms & Conditions for events here.

20 Cavendish Square

20 Cavendish Square is located behind John Lewis, Oxford Street.


The nearest stations are Oxford Circus and Bond Street.


There are many buses routes that stop nearby, including the 10, 25, 55, 73, 98 and 390.

Page last updated - 23/08/2019