Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Nursing celebrated in Cheltenham as blue plaque is unveiled for nurse pioneer

  • Comment

A blue plaque was unveiled this week by the mayor of Cheltenham to celebrate the life and work of Dame Sidney Browne, the first president of the Royal College of Nursing.

The plaque unveiling ceremony took place at 11 Tivoli Road where Dame Sidney lived during her retirement until her death in 1941.

University of Gloucestershire

Blue plaque unveiled to honour pioneering nurse leader

Photo of Dame Sidney Browne

It was unveiled on 12 December in front of guests from the Cheltenham Civic Society, the Royal College of Nursing and nursing students and teaching staff from the University of Gloucestershire.

Dame Sidney was a nursing visionary and pioneer. She campaigned for a standardised nursing curriculum and a register of qualified nurses, at a time when the profession was not recognised and women did not have the right to vote.

She also helped to establish the RCN over 100 years ago, becoming the organisation’s first president in 1928 when it was purely a professional body and not a trade union.

University of Gloucestershire

Blue plaque unveiled to honour pioneering nurse leader

Blue plaque commemorates Dame Sidney Browne

In addition, she was the first appointed matron-in-chief of the newly formed Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service.

Born in Bexley in Kent during 1850, Dame Sidney grew up in a medical family, with a surgeon father and two brothers who were doctors.

She began her nursing training aged 28 at the Guest Hospital in Dudley. In 1883, she joined the army nursing service and was posted to the Royal Victoria Hospital, in Netley, as one of only 20 sisters.

She is credited with famously saying: “Put a high ideal before you, and do your future service in a greater strength than your own, and your life will be for the betterment of the world.”

Cheltenham has 60 blue plaques to people from a wide range of careers and backgrounds, ranging from the Rolling Stones’ Brian Jones to Gustav Holst, but only seven to date commemorate women.

University of Gloucestershire

Blue plaque unveiled to honour pioneering nurse leader

Current RCN president Cecilia Anim with University of Gloucestershire nursing students

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.