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Breay, Margaret

Community of Saints:
'In all ages there have been saintly women, with divine vision and indestructible spirit, who have been canonised and adored. Of such a community would have been Margaret Breay in a less material age'

God's Chivalry:
......'Her ruling virtues stood her in good stead in the last testing months of her life. Those who ministered to her told how on the outbreak of war she refused a fire ; "it was taking it from the soldiers.........The basis of this shining character is to be traced to her profound, sincere religion, only her Lord knew with what weariness and painfulness she accomplished the reception of her Communion'


Registration number144
First name(s)Margaret

St. John's House, Albert Road, Battersea, S.W
431 Oxford St. W.1.

Date of registration7 March 1890

Certificate, St. Bartholomew's Hopital, 1885 - 88
Diploma, Obstetrical Society of London


Withdrawn Nov 1st 1898 M.B.
Re-elected April 1915

Personal details

Date of birth1862
Place of birthAston juxta Birmingham
Maiden nameBreay
Family details

Daughter of the Revd. Henry Thomas Breay, M.A. and his wife, Elizabeth Margaret, nee Stock

Date of death19 December 1939; Age 77
Place of deathBrighton; Cremated Garden of Peace, Brighton
Additional personal details

Educated at the Hansworth Ladies' College, Birmingham.Cert. (2nd Class Honours)
Senior Cambridge Local Examinations; Cert. 1st Class 1st Division, 5 distinctions, College of Preceptors Examination
Address at time of decease, 31 Sussex Square, Brighton
Prob: £2011.2s.3d

Professional details

Work experience

St. Bartholomew's Hosp (Pro and Staff Nurse), 1885- 88
Metropolitan Hospital Hackney (Sister), 1889 (then under direction of St. John's House)
St. John's House and Maternity Home (Pupil and Supt,)1889 - 91
Metropolitan Hospital (Acting Matron), 1891 - 93
Universities Mission to Central Africa, Matron of the Zanzibar Hospital, 1893 - 95
Within 18 months, ravaged with malaria, in an almost dying condition, she was ordered home, as nearly broken-hearted as a human being could be.

Professional activities

Sub-Editor Nursing Record and British Journal of Nursing 1896 on Memb and Hon. Sec. Matron's Council
Named in Incorporation Clause of Royal Charter Roy. Brit. Nurses' Assoc
Memb of the League of St. Bartholomew's Nurses and Memb and Vice President League of St. John's House Nurses
Hon. Sec, Professional and Finance Sub-Committees International Congress of Women, London,1899
Hon. Sec, Provisional Committee International Council of Nurses, 1899 - 1900
Hon Treasurer, International Council of Nurses, 1904 - 25 - attended and reported at its meetings in London, 1899, 1900, 1909; Berlin, 1904; Paris, 1907; Cologne,1912; Copenhagen, 1922; Helsingfors, 1925; Montreal, 1929; when she represented the Founder and delivered the Watchword, and lastly London,1937
Contributed to several Nursing Journals (See The Nursing Directory 1909)
Worshipful Company of Clothworkers' Prize, 1886
Fenwick Gold Medal of Merit, 1929

Additional professional details

Commenced training at St. Bartholomew's Hospital from May 1885 to May 1886 on Colsten, Coborn and Nathan Wards.
Ward Sisters' comments - punctuality good, very kind and attentive, very good tempered and patient, efficiency requires experience, anxious to improve, conduct very good.
Matron's remarks - conduct excellent, steady and willing, a sensible woman, not very conscientious.
Examinations, May 1886, Passed 1st, May 1888 Passed; May 1886 to May 1887, Henry Ward; Aug 1887 to Feb 1888, Faith Ward; Feb 1888 to May 1888, Martha Ward.
General conduct and efficiency as a Staff Nurse, Excellent
Resigned June 1888


 Nursing Directory for 1909 and Register of Nurses (RBNA 4/1) - Royal British Nurses' Association Records, King's College London Archives

St. Bartholomew's Hospital Archive

British Journal of Nursing

Free BMD

1881 Census

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