Matron Cecilia Reed SRN

Patrick Stead Hospital: Matron Cecilia Reed SRN

The Museum is delighted to have recently been given some photos and memorabilia by the family of Matron Cecilia Reed SRN, who was matron at Patrick Stead Hospital from 1913, shortly before the outbreak of WW1, until 1936 when she retired.

In his book about the hospital, The Patrick Stead Hospital, J. W. Newby describes how, during WW1, the building was maintained as a hospital for British sick and wounded. He states that Matron Cecilia Reed was mentioned in dispatches for war service. Her staff included Sisters Ellis, Shingles and Mallet and nurses Maidwell, Orford, Lambert, Moore and Everett.

Newby describes that Mr I. A. Took, as a patient at the hospital, told that a patient from Stowmarket was interested in the invention of a crystal radio set with a cat’s whisker detection antennae on top. He got the equipment into the hospital and applied to matron to try it out. She eventually allowed it, so long as it did not blow up!

Amongst the memorabilia, is a silver medal presented to Nurse C Reed by the Committee of the Norwich & Norfolk Staff of Nurses for 10 years of faithful service from 1900-1910. And then, dated 22 September 1922, a certificate of registration from the General Nursing Council of England and Wales that was set up following the Nurses Registration Act 1919.

Finally, is her black leather-covered Book of Common Prayer, small and well-used, pasted inside the front is a small, faded cutting of a prayer:

O Lord, support us all the day long of this troubelous life, until the shades lengthen, and the evening comes, and the buisy world is hushed, the fever of life is over, and our work done. Then Lord, in thy mercy, grant us safe lodgeing, a holy rest, and peace at the last, through Jesus Christ our Lord.’ [sic]

Did she say the prayer for herself or to comfort injured soldiers or patients in their last hours?