Florence Hunter Collection

  • Reference
      GB 133 FHC
  • Dates of Creation
      1878-1879, [1970s-1980s]
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      0.1 li.m. Hunter's journal shows some signs of wear and tear, but is generally in good condition.
  • Location
      Collection available at University Archive and Records Centre, main University Library.

Scope and Content

The diary of Florence Hunter describes a world tour which she undertook between August 1878 and March 1879, accompanied by her brother-in-law, the Rev. William Urwick. The trip was a "round-the-world" tour organised by Thomas Cook, which the company had been organising since 1873. The diary is accompanied by a copy of a typed transcript of the text, entitled "Big Auntie's Journal " prepared in 1979 by her great-niece, Mrs. Erica Tassell, with a view to possible publication. The transcript of the diary is prefaced by a biographical sketch of Florence Hunter written by Mrs Tassell in 1979, with a postscript added in 1987. There is also folder containing copies of all Mrs.Tassell's research notes and a large amount of correspondence with relatives (some of whom sent family reminiscences) and with libraries, archives and organisations. Relatives have supplied genealogical information relating to the Hunter, Urwick, and other related families. There is a photograph of Florence Hunter in 1896, and a modern copy of a much earlier one of her in her nurse's uniform.

Administrative / Biographical History

Florence Hunter was born on 16 May, 1846, in Moss Side, Manchester, the daughter of a wealthy merchant dry-salter, Thomas Hunter (c.1800-1872), and his wife Henrietta (1806-1874). Educated at a boarding school in Brighton, Florence nursed her parents and two sisters through terminal illnesses after which she trained as a nurse, enrolling at Florence Nightingale's Training School, at St. Thomas's Hospital, on 29th June 1876. She completed the course 'with distinction', and followed it with a year working in a London home for district nurses, founded by Florence Lees (1840-1922).

Inheritance from her parents and a sister left her independently wealthy, and she took the world trip partly to aid her recovery from a severe attack of typhoid fever she suffered in December 1877. This trip lasted from August 1878 until March 1879. She and her brother-in-law William Urwick (1826-1905) travelled through the United States and Canada, Japan, China, Malaya, India, Egypt and finally Europe. During their travels she visited many hospitals and clinics, as well as Christian missions, and she enjoyed discussing both medical and religious issues with those she met. At Suez she decided to return home, whilst Urwick continued the tour and spent a further six weeks visiting Egypt, the Holy Land and Greece. William Urwick was a Congregationalist minister, who had taught at New College, London, and was a well-known writer on religious topics. He was married to Florence's sister, Sophia (1832-1897).

When she returned home Hunter studied midwifery, and worked for a few months in a London hospital. She then moved to a large house in Whalley Range, where, in 1879, she established a district nursing organisation for the area. This was based on the system of Florence Lees, though with innovations of Hunter's own, such as attending patients in the evening. The death of a sister in 1886, leaving eight young children whose care she then undertook, meant she had to delegate most of the practical nursing, but she maintained numerous charitable and religious activities for the rest of her life. She never married, and died on 31 March 1920.

Access Information

The collection is open to any accredited reader.

The collection includes material which is subject to the Data Protection Act 1998. Under Section 33 of the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA), The University of Manchester Library (UML) holds the right to process personal data for research purposes. The Data Protection (Processing of Sensitive Personal Data) Order 2000 enables the UML to process sensitive personal data for research purposes. In accordance with the DPA, UML has made every attempt to ensure that all personal and sensitive personal data has been processed fairly, lawfully and accurately. Users of the archive are expected to comply with the Data Protection Act 1998, and will be required to sign a form acknowledging that they will abide by the requirements of the Act in any further processing of the material by themselves.

Open parts of this collection, and the catalogue descriptions, may contain personal data about living individuals. Some items in this collection may be closed to public inspection in line with the requirements of the DPA. Restrictions/closures of specific items will be indicated in the catalogue.

Acquisition Information

The diary, with accompanying material, was donated to the Library by Erica Tassell, Florence Hunter's great-niece, in 2001.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies and photographic copies of material in the archive can be supplied for private study purposes only, depending on the condition of the documents.

A number of items within the archive remain within copyright under the terms of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988; it is the responsibility of users to obtain the copyright holder's permission for reproduction of copyright material for purposes other than research or private study.

Prior written permission must be obtained from the Library for publication or reproduction of any material within the archive. Please contact the Head of Special Collections, John Rylands Library, 150 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 3EH.