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Eva Huggins - The Lady Behind Marjory Warren

The British Geriatrics Society wishes to encourage greater multi-disciplinary attendance and participation in its biannual conferences. We already receive several abstracts from nurses and therapists, either as independent authors or working in conjunction with their medical colleagues.

Nurses and therapists who have presented papers and displayed posters at our meetings have on a number of occasions, been selected to receive the various prizes for best paper or best poster. However, we also have the Eva Huggins prize, inaugurated in 2007, for best poster presented by a nurse at a BGS Spring or Autumn Meeting.

Who was Miss Eva Huggins?

Eva Huggins was a remarkable woman living at a remarkable time i.e. during the birth of geriatric medicine in the United Kingdom under the leadership of Marjory Warren (known as the mother of geriatrics). Miss Huggins served as matron of West Middlesex Hospital around 1922 - 1935. In recognition that excellent care for the older person is always a multiprofessional challenge, the former Consultant Nurse Special Interest Group undertook extensive research to identify the nurse leader who must have stood alongside Dr Marjory Warren (The Mother of Geriatrics) in 1935 as she took charge of the workhouse infirmary and began to re-organise the care of older people and formulate her early ideas on the special needs of this group in society.

The West Middlesex (County) Hospital was originally the New Brentford Workhouse, established in 1757. By 1902, a new infirmary block had been added and from 1920, became known as the West Middlesex. The site is current occupied by Hounslow and Spelthorne Community and Mental Health Services.

In the 1911 Census an Eva Huggins (aged 30) was an Infirmary Nurse in the county of Middlesex. It records her estimated year of birth as being 1881 and states she was born in Ramsbottom, Lancashire. Going back to the 1891 and 1901 census, Miss Huggins is recorded as being a 'Cotton Weaver’ in Lancashire. Clearly in her twenties she moved to London and she trained to become an nurse. She was also President of the Isleworth Nurses League, evidenced in the 30th September 1922 issue of The British Journal of Nursing where she gets a mention. This links her to being at the West Middlesex Hospital some twelve years before Dr Warren took on her new role. In the same Journal in July 1923, Matron (Miss Huggins) and her Isleworth Nurses’ League get mentioned again for their ‘admirable Journal just printed, on fine paper and excellently printed.’

To be eligible for the Eva Huggins' Prize, all you have to do is submit an abstract which is accepted for presentation at a BGS meeting in either Spring or Autumn. As a nurse or therapist, you will then automatically be considered for the prize, currently £200.

To see previous winners of the prize, click here. 



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