When the nurses were placed in the colonies they were not just going to work, they were also embarking on a journey to a new place. The nurses' letters often address their new environment in terms which expressed the values of imperialism as well as a sense of exoticism.
As J Howell et al. (2011) have observed, many of the letters available to us were written to the Colonial Nursing Association (CNA) secretary, a representative of the nurses' employer, and only a few of these letters were then chosen for publication in Nursing Notes. 'Therefore, it is perhaps not surprising when one comes across a letter espousing opinions exactly in line with both the CNA philosophy and the values of imperialism.' (Howell et al. (2011), p 1158)
Describing place was a crucial element of the letters the colonial nurses wrote to the CNA as these letters were one of the primary ways in which the Association could gather information about each location it sent nurses to.
As well as seeing nurses' letters from the early twentieth century, here we also see images included by one nurse in a scrapbook she made whilst working in Hong Kong during the early 1960s. Prominent in this scrapbook are tourist images of Hong Kong and postcards of the city, demonstrating that travel to an exotic location was as important a part of the experience of an overseas nurse as was the work she had been sent to do. The journey to Hong Kong clearly had a profound effect on this particular nurse, Ann Clyde nee Hoblin now Lady Clyde.
(All images are protected by copyright. Please do not use without permission.)
August 1910 Letter published by the Colonial Nursing Association in Nursing Notes
March 1907 From Hong Kong Scrapbook (1960s)
Tourism From Hong Kong Scrapbook (1960s)
Culture From Hong Kong Scrapbook (1960s)