Nurse, Chivalric Order Member
1866 – 1948
Who was Agnes Hunt?
She was born in London and brought up at Boreatton Park, Baschurch, a village in west Shropshire, England. She was disabled from osteomyelitis of the hip that she suffered from as a child following septicaemia. In 1887, she began training as a nurse at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Rhyl and opened a convalescent home for crippled children at Florence House in Baschurch in 1900 which espoused the theory of open-air treatment.
In 1901, she sought treatment for her own condition from a Liverpool surgeon, Robert Jones. She invited him to visit the convalescent home and he eventually began travelling there on a regular basis to provide treatment to the children. By 1907, they had built an operating theatre and they introduced the diagnostic use of X-rays in 1913. During World War I, Florence House was used to treat wounded soldiers.
In 1918, Hunt was awarded the insignia of the Royal Red Cross for her contribution during the war. In 1919, the British Red Cross Society and the Shropshire War Memorial Fund provided financing to move the facility, renamed the Shropshire Orthopaedic Hospital, to a former military hospital at Park Hall, near Gobowen, Oswestry. The hospital also provided training for nurses. Later, a school begun for the children developed into a training college for disabled adults, Derwen College. The hospital was used once again to treat wounded soldiers during World War II. Following an extensive fire in 1948, the hospital underwent a period of reconstruction and expansion, developing into what is now called The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital.
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