Ward, Ruby Archive

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

These records were accumulated by Miss Ruby Ward during her career as a fever nurse, midwife and health visitor in the West Yorkshire area and further afield.

The first series contains records relating to her training and qualification as a nurse in different specialities. The books in the fouth series also relate to this period. The second series contains records relating to a later reunion of students on her course, and an oral history interview where she recounts her life and work. The supplementary material in the fourth series may have been gathered in research for this interview, or collected by Miss Ward, the exact provenance is unknown. The third series contains photographs from the time of her training with her nursing colleague.

Administrative / Biographical History

Ruby Ward was born in 1912 in Streethouse near Wakefield. Her earliest memory is sitting on a wall by the station watching the women return from Barnbow in 1915. She lived with her mother (who died of stomach cancer aged 80), father, two sisters and one brother. Ruby was the oldest, and her next youngest sister Gladys, was very clever, won a scholarship at the grammar school and went on to study English at Leeds, and later ran the English department at Doncaster Grammar school. Ruby and her other sister worked in clothing factories and her brother worked on a farm. Her sister went into the army in WWII. Her father had chest problems and was in a hospital near Ilkley, he was an invalid and her mother nursed him till his death. She was able to train as a Nurse at 29, she'd wanted to be a nurse since her days in guiding. She trained in fever nursing at Dewsbury Isolation Hospital treating diptheria, polio, scarlet fever and dysentry. She studied for her state registered nursing at Sheffield General. She went to run a chest clinic in Barrow-in-Furness and worked with an excellent Spanish surgeon who had been on Franco's side in the Civil War and escaped to England but couldn't practice as a surgeon in this country without re-taking another degree. She then went to train as a midwife in Leeds and then Sheffield, and later trained as a Health Visitor. She worked in the community, went visiting, ran clinics, taught mothercraft classes and worked as a School Nurse. She was part of the Health Visitors Association and the Professional Women's Club. She worked in Cambridgeshire and Leeds and for the last few years of her career worked in new health centres, before retiring in 1972.

Conditions Governing Access

Original available for consultation by appointment

Subjects