This site is intended for healthcare professionals only

The battle for the Bill

Written by: | Published:

In December 1919, a woman sat in the public gallery of the House of Commons to watch MPs vote on a bill. She was a nurse, and she had been campaigning for this legislation for more than 30 years. Her name was Ethel Bedford Fenwick, and MPs were voting on the Nurses Registration Bill.

A good part of the delay had been generated by supporters of registration themselves. There had been division and discord, personalities and pique, and competing publications protesting alternative points of view. The constant throughout the story - as editor, campaigner, objector and faction leader - was Ethel Bedford Fenwick.

A nurse with a mission
Born in Elgin, Scotland, in 1857, Ethel Gordon Manson moved to Thoroton Hall in the Vale of Belvoir, near Nottingham, as a child.1 Manson's nursing career began in 1878, when she started her training at the Children's Hospital in Nottingham, before moving to the Royal Infirmary, Manchester, then to London, to become a ward sister at The London Hospital, Whitechapel. In 1881, Ethel Manson was appointed Matron of St Bartholomew's Hospital, London,2 at the age of 24.

Please login or register to read the rest of the article and to have access to downloads and comments.

What do you think? Leave a comment below or tweet your views to @IndyNurseMag

This material is protected by MA Healthcare Ltd copyright.
See Terms and Conditions.

Most read articles from Practice Nursing Journal

Practice Nursing Journal latest issue and most read articles.

Click here to read a selection of free to access articles from Practice Nursing Journal


Sign up to the newsletter


Independent Nurse is the professional resource for primary care and community nurses, providing clinical articles for practice nurses and prescribers.


Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up to date with the latest nursing news.

Stay Connected

Stay social with Independent Nurse by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook or connecting on LinkedIn.


Need access to some of our older articles? You can view our archive, or alternatively contact us.

Contact Us

MA Healthcare Ltd.
St Jude's Church, Dulwich Road
London, SE24 0PB

Tel: +44 (0)20 7738 5454
Registered in England and Wales No. 01878373

Meet the team


Find out how to contribute to Independent Nurse here.