Islington Council backs plans to erect Windrush nurses monument

Islington Council fundraising to commemorate Windrush and Commonwealth NHS Nurses and Midwives

Islington Council fundraising to commemorate Windrush and Commonwealth NHS Nurses and Midwives - Credit: Islington Council

Islington Council is backing a campaign to install a seven foot high granite statue at Whittington Hospital in honour of Windrush and Commonwealth NHS nurses and midwives.   

The memorial would honour the 40,000 nurses and midwives from around the Commonwealth who came to the UK between 1948 and 1973 to help the fledging NHS, which was facing problems recruiting enough staff - without whose contribution, it is said the NHS might have collapsed.

In commemoration of their efforts, community activist group, Nubian Jak, is working with the council and the Archway hospital to commission the 7ft high by 7ft wide statue made of blue, brown, and white granite, representing a stylised nurse or midwife.

Artist's impression of Nubian Jak's Windrush and Commonwealth NHS Nurses and Midwives Statue

Artist's impression of Nubian Jak's Windrush and Commonwealth NHS Nurses and Midwives Statue - Credit: Nubian Jak

Nubian Jak has chosen Whittington Hospital because of its history employing African and Caribbean nursing staff since its inception in 1948, and because it is currently "the most diverse and inclusive employer in the NHS", the company said in a statement.  

The charity needs £134,000 to publish a book and to erect the nurses' monument, which will be unveiled on July 5 - some 53 years to the day since the NHS was founded.


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So far an online appeal has raised £72,000, and the council's local initiatives fund has committed a further £16,191.67.

The council's community chief, Cllr Una O’Halloran, said: “It is so important that we properly commemorate this generation of nurses and midwives who helped make this country and its healthcare system what it is today. 

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"We know that there are not enough monuments and history written about this generation, which is why I'm asking everyone to donate to this fundraiser if they can.”   

In addition to the statue, Nubian Jak founder of Jak Beula, has written a book called ‘Nursing a Nation’ which will be released on July 10, to tell the stories of this generation of nurses and midwives. A documentary called ‘From Severus to Windrush’ is also planned for release. 

Workshops to accompany the book and film, teaching resources, and storytelling sessions and events in libraries with writers and contributors to the anthology are all planned, and copies of the book will be provided to all libraries in Islington.

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