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Notes From the Archives: International Nurses Day

It is International Nurses Day tomorrow, and we would like to thank all of our Nurses at The Mill Hill School Foundation for their hard work and care. 

We have collated images of Mill Hill School during the Second World War to commemorate this special day. After the School was evacuated to St Bees in Cumbria, the Emergency Medical Service for the Maudsley Hospital used many of our buildings. The following information has been gathered from Claire Hilton’s article ‘Mill Hill Emergency Hospital: 1939 – 1945’.   

New psychiatric treatment and research methods took place at the hospital, which helped many soldiers cope with the “emotional traumas of war” (Hilton, 2006, pp.106). Doctor Walter Maclay was the medical superintendent at the hospital. In 1943 he received an OBE and was a crucial figure in the development of the 1959 Mental Health Act. This legislation helped establish the legal groundwork for providing community care.   

Many early medical careers began at the hospital such as Annie Altschul’s, who had fled Austria due to the threat of Nazi persecution. She acquired her psychiatric nursing qualifications at Mill Hill and later became a Professor of Nursing Studies in Edinburgh. She wrote the following about her time at Mill Hill:   

“I found an excitement about the work that I had not encountered before. The staff. . . were very keen and every patient was regarded as interesting and someone from whom we could learn a lot. I worked with people I had only read about till then” (Cited in Hilton, 2006, pp. 106).  

If you would like to learn more about the history of Maudsley Hospital’s relocation to Mill Hill School, please click here