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  • Costumes By Deborah

The Work House - National Trust

Historical nurses costumes were researched and constructed for two nurses from the WW2 era for an open educational re-enactment day at the Southwell Workhouse Museum in collaboration with the National Trust.

Matron Freeman

Matron Freeman worked at the Workhouse from 1934 - 153. Her husband was also the Master, and they lived at the Workhouse with their children Mart and Mary. In the early 1930s, a new children's home was commissioned. During planning for the new welfare state in 1948, most public assistance institutions in towns and cities were earmarked to become NHS hospitals, but Southwell did not become an NHS hospital and remained in the control of the local authority. After 1948 The Workhouse Southwell, now known as the Greet House, cared for the elderly and infirm in the Infirmary and Hospital under the 1948 National Assistance Act.

Barbara Loughton

Barbara work worked at the Workhouse from 1939 - 1957. Barbara signed up at the outbreak of World War Two as a nursing auxiliary. As part of the Civil Nursing Reserve in July 1940, she worked at the Workhouse South well, by that time renamed the Greet House. Barbara underwent training in first aids and home nursing with the Red Cross and is trained by the County Air Raid Precautions Scheme in Anti gas procedures. In 1946 she was awarded the Defence Medal and continued her career at Greet House, becoming the Assistant Matron in June 1950. Barbara resigned to get married in 1957.

Both costumes consisted of a veil with openwork, a historical hand-stitching technique. Matron Freeman was dressed in a two-piece black lined shirt and skirt with white removable, starched cuffs and collar. Barbara was dressed in a full National Red Cross uniform for WW2, a light blue nurses dress, apron, and nurses cape. The veil and apron incorporating the red cross.

Matron Freeman and Barbara were both presented in a pressed and pristine manner.

Both costumes were left on display for public viewing in the infirmary at the Workhouse through the summer weeks of 2019.


Katy Brownx

Deborah Wingfield


National Trust - The Workhouse


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