Crying in the Linen Cupboard

Crying in the Linen Cupboard


Crying in the Linen Cupboard... and Laughing in the Sluice: Trials and Triumphs of Trainee Nurses in the 1950s

1948, and in austerity Britain, food, clothing and fuel are still tightly rationed. The country is tired, shabby and bankrupt. 

Against this background comes Aneurin Bevan's new National Health Service. The service that, free of charge, is going to look after us all 'from cradle to grave' or, as one wit has put it 'from lying in to laying out'.

Eleven young women, from a variety of backgrounds, start on their chosen career paths to become State Registered Nurses in this newly conceived service.

The difficulties and challenges that they meet, each in their own way, and the limitations they experience living in a regimented and highly hierarchical society, are all faithfully recorded through the authentic experiences of the author herself as the character of Margery Harvey, along with the fun, the humour and the camaraderie of her colleagues.

At this provincial northern hospital change is taking place, both in the health service itself and society in general. Meals are provided free for the first time and bed curtains introduced to give patients some privacy; the first black doctor appears and the first male nurse, but the nurses would still lose their jobs if they married!

Here is a slice of life from the fledgling beginnings of the National Health Service, and a reminder just how far it has now improved and advanced for staff and patients alike.

ISBN: 9781852001735 

Size: 217x140mm 

Binding: hardback 

Length: 193pp

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About the Author:

Margaret Morris

On leaving Grammar School Margaret Morris trained in general nursing at Preston Royal Infirmary between the years 1948-51, and it is these years that she remembers within this book. She went on to qualify as a midwife, then became a health visitor. She had a career break whilst she raised three children and then returned to work health visiting in a multi-cultural and highly disadvantaged inner city practice where she was eventually promoted into management. 

During her working life Margaret started writing in connection with her profession and had a number of articles published in magazines such as Nursing Mirror and Nursing Times. Since retirement she has been involved in setting up and chairing a committee to found a hostel for young homeless adults which is still functioning. She was also invited onto the board of ‘Places for People’, becoming the chair of the North West Area Committee and later Vice Chairman of the parent board, only retiring due to their age rule. 

Finding she enjoyed the many public speaking engagements within her work, she took up after-dinner speaking using interesting and humorous anecdotes from her career. She has written Crying in the Linen Cupboard to show that ‘the oft divided, maligned, taken-for-granted NHS has come a long, long way in a short, short time. For which we should be truly grateful.