Archive for March, 2011

Members of the Royal Infirmary Edinburgh Unsung Heroes Steering Group made a trip to eca, edinburgh college of art, to catch up with the research students working on the project.

We looked at their initial research. Below is a page of one of the sketch books. Jo has been  looking at the architecture of the old Royal Infirmary on Lauriston Place and the new hospital at Little France. She has also undertaken an interview with a member of staff from the Simpson’s Unit – the maternity unit at the RIE. Check the blog in a couple of weeks for extracts from the interview.


We then learnt how to make a very basic enamel badge. Enamel artist Elizabeth Turrell took us through the steps. My conclusions? Everyone can get a good result using the very basics. Beginners can’t go wrong really with a good teacher and the vibrant  colours of the powdered glass, pre-made metal badge forms and the dynamism of fire. Its an exciting and rewarding process and everyone was pleased with what they had made.

One of the badges going into the kiln.

Looking forward to posting some images of the finished badges.


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badge enquiry

There you go. Blogs do work. Out there in the ether  is a person with a mystery badge. Can anyone help identify this gorgeous badge on the right in the picture?


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Bring A Badge Day

Bring a Badge Day arrived. I had not idea who was going to turn up or even if anyone was going to make it. In a busy acute hospital when every spare part of a shift is pressured, it was a risk to know if nurses would have time to remember that there were lots of beautiful badges and displays of old photographs about the Royal Infirmary and nursing in the 20th c. in the Sanctuary. Two displays of historic nursing and hospital badges had been prepared by archivists from Lothian Health Services Archives and the Royal College of Nursing respectively.

No worries. All sorts of people popped in to have a look, bringing their own badges and all sorts of documents as well as sharing their memories of training and nursing. Sheila and Claire, two retired nurses made the journey to the Royal Infirmary to show us their badges and talk about training in the 1950s. Sheila also brought her beautiful Affleck Medal. One trainee nurse each year was awarded this prestigious prize. Must get a photograph of the medal.

Diane, called in with both her Scottish and her Australian nursing badges to show us. Just goes to show, nurses trained at the Royal Infirmary Edinburgh worked all over the world!

Ruth, wetted our appetites by telling us that she still had the timetables from when she was training as a nurse at the Royal Infirmary, her Pelican badge, which she showed us and her certificates.

I now have lots of contacts to follow up for interviews. Keep checking the blog for interview extracts, going back as far as the 1940s.

Thank you to the archivists from Lothian Health Services Archives and the Royal College of Nursing for bringing badges from their collections for display. Thank you to the Spiritual Care team for enabling us to use the beautiful sanctuary for the day.

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