Remembering Brighton's black nurses

Black nurses have been a cornerstone of the NHS since the 1950s and now they will have a chance to tell their stories, thanks to a project, called Time and Place, given a £48,845 grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

Community group Brighton and Hove Black History will use the money for an oral history project that will look at the contribution Black nurses made to the NHS in the Fifties and Sixties. Volunteer interviewers will collect recordings of the former nurses’ reminiscences leading to the creation of a website and an exhibition that will be launched in Black History Month 2009. Following this official launch there will be a mobile exhibition that will call at different venues. A commemorative postcard will also be produced to advertise the project.

The research will highlight a significant point in history for both the local area and the UK in general, say the organisers, as post war staff shortages led the NHS to launch recruiting campaigns overseas which in turn encouraged immigration that was to change the demographic of Brighton and Hove.

Commenting for Brighton and Hove Black History Bert Williams said: “This hidden history of the NHS needs to be recorded and accessible to everyone. It is a positive part of Brighton and Hove’s history and should be remembered. This is everyone’s history.”

For the Heritage Lottery Fund, South East England Region Manager Sheena Vick said: “This unique project will not only preserve the memories of those who made such a significant contribution to the NHS, it will also explain their important role to a much wider audience.”

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